This Saturday, August 12th, the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s third Focus Gallery exhibition of 2017, Inspiring Earth’s Mysteries, will open 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.
As in most craft, each piece has a story, and with this exhibit in particular, the work represents how each maker’s interaction with the natural world influenced their life. Glassblower Ronnie Hughes transitioned from making Lord of the Rings inspired pieces to blooming wildflowers after a hike on the Blue Ridge Parkway in 1980. “I came upon a field of hundreds of breathtaking Pink Lady Slipper orchids, [which] inspired me to change my subject matter completely,”says Hughes. “I began creating native wildflowers exclusively.”
Fly-rod maker Sam Johnson of Dahlonega, Georgia showcases a rod dubbed “The Highland Hitter,” made from bamboo, damascus steel and a scrimshawed butt cap from a native deer antler. “I’ve spent a ridiculous amount of my adult life stalking trout,” says Johnson. “This rod is suited for stalking small, high elevation streams for the only cold water fish native to the region, the brook trout.” Johnson has been making and collecting rods for years. Some of his own work has been for L.L. Bean and Wright & McGill, along with many other avid fisherman.
For Carla and Greg Filipelli, their free form style of weaving, random weave, took shape in the 80s. “Our work is influenced by natural surroundings, and reflects our love of organic forms.” Their pieces range from small baskets to large wall hangings that incorporate hand dyed reeds, fibers and wild vines.
Inspiring Earth’s Mysteries displays the following makers and their work: Ronnie Hughes in glass, Carla and Greg Filipelli in basketry, Terry Gess in clay, Carmen Grier in fiber, Andrea Wilson in paper and Sam Johnson with fly rods.
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.