Visual Arts

Folk Art Center Exhibit Celebrates Imperfection

Nancy Graham, artist

By Emma Castleberry

The Southern Highland Craft Guild will celebrate a traditional Japanese aesthetic with its show Wabi Sabi, Embracing the Art of Imperfection, on display at the Folk Art Center through September 30. The show will feature 60 objects by Guild members that honor the beauty of imperfection. Woodworker Ray Jones says the exhibition has provided an opportunity for him to use materials that wouldn’t normally pass his quality requirements. “I often use musical instrument quality wood that is unsuitable for instruments due to the ‘flaws,’ which I consider character enhancements, such as the dark streaks in the face of my Wabi Sabi piece,” he says. “Using a piece of burl with large voids in it allowed me to highlight some of the wonderful natural surfaces that Mother Nature provides.”

Quilter Sandra Rowland has a quote on her pencil cup that reads, “If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough.” She will be exhibiting a piece titled Nobody’s Perfect in the Wabi Sabi exhibition. “I’d like to join a group making intentionally bad art for the fun of it,” she says, “and for getting past self importance, and maybe for making a mess, balling it up and tossing it, and starting all over again.”

It’s a full summer for the Southern Highland Craft Guild, with several events in addition to the Wabi Sabi exhibition. The group will host its annual Wood Day at the Folk Art Center on Saturday, August 4. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with woodworkers as they build boxes, join furniture and turn bowls on a lathe. The same weekend, August 4–5, the Southern Highland Craft Guild gallery in Biltmore Village is hosting its 5-year anniversary party in tandem with the Village Craft Fair. There will be live entertainment and refreshments and visitors will have the opportunity to meet several Guild members.

SHCG is a nonprofit, educational organization established in 1930 to cultivate the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, just north of the Highway 70 entrance in east Asheville. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., April through December, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., January through March. Learn more at

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