Japanese wabi sabi informs new Southern Highland Craft Guild exhibition

"Wooden Box" by Ray Jones
"Wooden Box" by Ray Jones. Photo courtesy of the Southern Highland Craft Guild

Press release from the Southern Highland Craft Guild:

The Southern Highland Craft Guild opens its third exhibition for the 2018 year with Wabi Sabi, Embracing the Art of Imperfection in the Folk Art Center’s main gallery upstairs. It features 60 objects from makers of the Guild that showcase this traditional Japanese aesthetic of honoring the beauty of flaws. Works focus on juxtapositions of symmetry through gnarled wooden sculptures, rough textures in wall hanging fabric, or a woven pattern’s simplicity. Visitors can view and shop the gallery now through September 30, 2018.

Curator Nikki Josheff received an overwhelming number of exhibition submissions for this topic. “It has been exciting to see the membership’s enthusiasm for Wabi Sabi,” she said. “With our history of cultivating fine craft for more than eight decades, there often is an expectation of perfection within our community. Our jury process is rigorous, and done through peer-evaluation to uphold a standard within a designated media.” Wabi Sabi encourages participants to let go of creative pressures, perhaps expectations of perfection, that may limit one’s imagination. Instead it challenges makers to work with flaws, or other brokenness within their process.

Member Sandra Rowland’s quilted piece Nobody’s Perfect delivers a message of acceptance with imperfection loud and clear with writing on her wall hanging ‘nobody’s perfect.’ Rowland says, “Rummaging around for something I’d misplaced, I turned up Mr. Potato Head. He fit the qualifications. Nothing’s ever perfect, nothing’s ever finished, nothing lasts forever!”

For woodworker Ray Jones, he often has to bypass areas of inconsistencies or irregularities in woods to create his clean and smooth boxes. “Instead of working around the void in this maple burl, I decided to highlight it in the design, and to celebrate the contrast between the natural, irregular surface of the burl,” says Jones. He does however find those inconsistencies to be equally enchanting and they often leave him curious about working with such deformations.

This exhibit is located on the second floor of the Folk Art Center in the main gallery through the end of September. All products are available for purchase. In addition they are viewable online at craftguild.org/shop/main-gallery.

Other events happening this month with the Southern Highland Craft Guild is their annual Wood Day at the Folk Art Center on August 4. Visitors get the opportunity to interact with woodworkers as they build boxes, join furniture and turn bowls on a lathe. Additionally the gallery in Biltmore Village is hosting their 5-year anniversary from August 3-5. Visit craftguild.org for more information about Guild happenings and events.

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