NC Arboretum Hosts Cross Pollination

Dotted Horsemint. Photo by Terry Ashley

By Natasha Anderson

Four regional artists showcase the power of pollination and collaboration in a new exhibit titled Cross Pollination: Fiber, Clay and Photography on display Saturday, January 12, through April 14, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily at The North Carolina Arboretum. This mixed media exhibit features the work of Terry Ashley, Karen- Eve Bayne, Lucy Clark and Judy Smith and showcases 2- and 3-D artwork made from fabrics, photography and pottery. Each piece demonstrates how artists collaborate through the cross pollination of ideas and a passion for nature.

“We work hard to provide our guests with educational opportunities and experiences in both the living world and through art,” says NC Arboretum senior director for mission delivery Clara Curtis. “This exhibit is a great way to showcase the power of collaboration between humans and nature using different mediums.”

Many pieces are drawn from photos taken at the Arboretum and contain botanical themes that incorporate layered photographs on cloth and customized cellular fabrics. Ashley, who specializes in micro photography, leans exclusively on the plant kingdom to inspire work concentrated on elements that can’t be seen with the naked eye. “I love plant cells and their special beauty,” she says.

Fiber artist Bayne creates quilts and multimedia 3-D pieces that incorporate botanical and cellular photographs. Each piece has its own story, depth, color and embellishments. “Since I was a young girl I have been fascinated by how a seamstress can make three- dimensional items such as clothing from one-dimensional material,” says Bayne. “I have extended this fascination into my fabric and fiber work.”

Smith, who is also a fiber artist, incorporates a range of surface design techniques, hand-stitching and thread painting into her work. She currently uses an embellishing machine, machine stitching and hand- embroidery to create whole- cloth images from wool roving and other fibers. “The natural world leaves me awestruck on a daily basis, and finds its way into all of my work,” she says.

Clark is a ceramic artist who creates organic, coil-built vessels and wall sculptures influenced by the undulating movements of the natural world. For this exhibit, she sculpts and carves her work to incorporate visions inspired by her fellow artists. “I am thrilled to be a part of this show,” she says. “Having co-conspirators in this endeavor makes it even more exciting to create.” All pieces are available for purchase and a portion of the sales will be donated to The North Carolina Arboretum Society.

The North Carolina Arboretum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., November through March, and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., April through October. A standard $14 per vehicle parking fee is required for non-members. For more information, visit

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