American Folk Art and Framing holds its 15th Annual Miniatures Show beginning Thursday, February 7, and running through Thursday, February 21. An opening reception will be held Friday, February 8, from 5–7 p.m. An online preview of the show will be available on the gallery’s website on Tuesday, February 5, at 11 a.m.
“Timed in the heart of winter, just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Miniatures Show has evolved over the years into a welcome tradition,” says gallery owner Betsey-Rose Weiss, “a celebration of love, a desire to gather together to appreciate the smallest and finest things in life.”
Twelve of the gallery’s artists are asked to create works of 7” x 9” or less. Working within parameters, artists often discover new, unconventional techniques. “This experimentation can lead to breakthroughs that contribute to the artist’s vocabulary going forward or it can lead to a one-of-a-kind example,” says Weiss. “These surprises make this show a particularly satisfying experience.”
Kent Ambler lives on Paris Mountain in Greenville (SC), where he primarily creates woodblock prints, but also paints and sculpts. “Much of my work focuses on nature—woodlands, birds, dogs—with many color layers,” he says. “For the show this year, I have new pieces that depict household scenes with pets that also happen to be in black and white.”
The process of creating large color woodblock prints is a labor-intensive one, Ambler says, so he welcomes the more focused work. “To make a miniature piece really speeds up the process and gives me a more immediate reveal of the image. It is also a challenge to keep my loose style on such a small scale.”
Shawn Ireland of Bakersville will be exhibiting small wood-fired pieces for this year’s event. “The Animalware pots I’m showing this year are smaller versions of what I typically exhibit at American Folk Art,” he says. “My bowls are usually serving size, but, made smaller, they work well as votive candle holders.” Working on a miniature scale is nothing new to him, he says, since the nature of loading a kiln requires him to make smaller pots as well as larger ones to help evenly distribute heat and flame throughout the wood fired kiln.
His figurative Animalware creations—candlesticks, vases and bowls— were inspired by trips to Italy, he says. “I work quickly and playfully with the clay, searching for a solidity of form both functional and sculptural.” The stoneware clay he uses is a blend of ingredients—thirty percent of which is local red clay— from North Carolina and Georgia and is mixed by hand. The nontoxic glazes he uses include local feldspar, silica, red clay, kaolin and ash from his woodstove.
Other artists exhibiting their miniature creations are Ellie Ali, Chris Bruno, Cornbread, Wayne Hewell, Lucy Hunnicutt, Ellen Langford, Karl Mullen, Buddy Snipe, Liz Sullivan and Trés Taylor.
American Folk Art and Framing is located at 64 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. For more information and for a preview of this show, visit AmeriFolk.com or call 828.281.2134.