This past Saturday, May 13th, the Southern Highland Craft Guild's second Focus Gallery exhibition of 2017, Navigating Our Humanity, was opened to the public. The rotating gallery on the Folk Art Center's second level continues to bring craft of different media that often are one-of-a-kind works. One of the benefits for Guild members is the opportunity to submit both ideas and pieces to the shows.
The theme derived from Guild member Erin Keane who was “grappling with age-old issues of humanity,” and decided to use her work with sculptural books for exploration. “The book sculptures are personified by their structures, through the interaction of covers and pages. My vision was to have the structural form of each piece metaphorically convey an aspect of my humanity.”
With each piece, there is often a story of its making, whether a dedication to human expression or successes the complexities of life brings us. “Creating art helps me overcome anxiety and questions about my human condition. I can lose myself in the creative process, bringing validation to my being on this earth, and I hope, adding beauty to the world,” states member Martine House.
Her focus has been with beads, and the technique of embroidery to construct elaborate adornments. Sometimes a single bead or just a color combination can initiate her creative expression. “My main goal for each necklace is that the woman who wears it will feel positive energy and empowerment,” says House.
Oftentimes makers conceive their bodies of work from the natural world that surrounds them. For Maggie and Freeman Jones, it is the earth's activities that are incorporated into their ceramics. “My greatest urge is to create from the very stuff of Earth. Crystals growing, lava flowing and plants blooming are meaningful forms of creation for me,” explains Maggie.
Navigating Our Humanity displays the following makers and their work: Martine House in jewelry, Maggie and Freeman Jones in clay, Deana Blanchard and Chuck Young in glass, Sue Grier in clay, Erin Keane in paper, Pei-Ling Becker in paper, as well as Laurie Young and Christian Arnold in glass.
Admission to the Folk Art Center is free. The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in east Asheville. Headquarters to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the Center also houses three galleries, a library, a craft shop and a Blue Ridge Parkway information desk and bookstore.