The beauty of nature in our world inspires and uplifts Susan. Sadly, what she loves may soon cease to exist as evidenced by recent natural disasters of fire, flood, draught, and storm. She feels compelled to express her perceptions and impressions of nature somewhat like a celebration, as we celebrate our nostalgic memories of our loved ones passed.
Susan’s art goes beyond simply recording visual experiences in a free flow of self-expression. Her work has an Asian influence using the lyrical abstract expressionist approach, which involves colorful brushwork with an absence of premeditated form and structure. It is lyrical because, like music, the colors sing.
Weather permitting, Susan paints “plein air” outdoor scenes and attends weekly painting sessions with other talented local artists to continually enhance her skills. The art equipment in her studio is intentionally minimal and, using an ever-present phone camera as a primary resource, she recreates her best photos taken while exploring vistas of the High Country. Embracing the stunning beauty of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Susan’s paintings deliver scenes in a manner that allows the observer to visually provide the constant flux of environmental color for a rewarding and very personal interpretation.
Ocean invertebrates such as coral, sea sponges, and clams are just a few of the sea creatures that inspire my ceramic art. While sculpting, I often think back to the first time I visited the beach where I felt the might and awe of God. That visit inspired me to create my sculptures and wall hangings that reflect on our natural world and on my Christian faith. I live and work in Surry County, far from the shore, so I pull from my imagination and computer images while creating my work.
I have been drawn to creativity in all forms throughout my life and I have taken the opportunity to explore many types of media. I’ve enjoyed painting, glass blowing, jewelry and clock making, computer graphics even a black smith! But in 2009 I took a beginner’s pottery class at the Wilkes Art Gallery and found a passion in me for clay. I love its versatility and hands on quality.
Jane produces a variety of decorative and functional wares from clay. Often the piece begins as a traditional, wheel turned pot that is then altered to suit her whimsy. Her training as a painter shows through in her sculpted faces and animals. She earned her MFA at UNC-G and has taught all levels, pre-school thru university.
I graduated from UNC CH with a BFA. After taking a production pottery course with Zedith Teague Garner, I worked in her shop (Teague's Pottery) for 2 years. My husband and I moved to Ashe county in 1976, the first activities being to build a clay workshop and a wood-fired groundhog kiln. Over the next 25 years, I never grew tired of the wood-fire process; We did change to a larger down-draft style, though. I used a mid range stoneware, wheel thrown, decorated with figures brushed or etched through the slip.
I was born and raised in Lincoln County, NC, not far from the potters of the Catawba Valley area. Unfortunately, my love of pottery did not begin at an early age; but once I recognized the importance and history of local pottery, I began acquiring and collecting pieces from as many area potters as possible, including B.B. Craig, his son Don Craig, and Charles Lisk. As I began purchasing pottery and visiting potters at work, I decided I wanted to try my hand at the art.
The art of batik has been with me for most of my life. My family lived in Sri Lanka when I was just a baby and upon returning to Richmond, VA, my mother hung batik wall hangings all over the tall walls of our old city home. Those images and the classic wax crackles of batik became a part of me that is difficult to describe in words.
When stepping into Cheryl Robert’s studio the combination of texture and colors are almost edible. Exceptional views from her studio windows provide the backdrop for her inspired and prolific creativity. Cheryl, a fiber artist, demonstrates through her work the depth of her knowledge and the many complex ways she uses fiber to create stunning works of art.
As a self-taught continual experimenter I am currently creating quilted wall hangings. My designs are twists on traditional patterns, original sketches and photos reflecting the colors, textures and forms inspired by my North Carolina home. My favorite work starts with purchased fabric I manipulate by hand painting, sewing and embellishments to create the color pallet and look I desire for my designs. Most of my wall hangings are completed with free motion sewing on my Brother home sewing machine.
My husband Mike and I, natives of Watauga County, are fortunate to live and work on the farm that has been in my family for over a century. We have two children, Cole and Ivy.
Being raised on this farm, which lies along the “Old Buffalo Trail”, I have seen many changes. I remember farming with horses and when family farms were plentiful. Today I am seeing families leave their farms and this has made me aware of how precious the “old ways” are and how fast they are being lost: not only the loss of farming but also the loss of handicrafts and traditional fiber arts.
Mary has been knitting for 50 years, weaving for 30 years and spinning some of her thread for 18 years. She primarily works with natural fibers, both dyed and undyed. She prefers to make everyday items that are meant to be used. She teaches both adults and children in her farmbased studio.
I began crafting my one-of-a-kind handbags in 2005, mostly because of a longtime interest in repurposing castoff and throwaway items. RagBags are created from a variety of materials, including decorator fabric samples, wool sweaters, carpet pieces, books, game boards, and many other objects – even VHS videotape! Broken jewelry, vintage buttons, and other items are used as embellishments. I am totally self-taught using no patterns and I do all my sewing on a 1958 Singer Featherweight machine.
GrandMotherMadeIt is as literal as it sounds.
As a Grandmother of two, Pat Miller quickly learned that the grand kiddos needed only so many dresses, pajama pants, placemats, and quilts. That led her to expand her artistry into more fiber venues with a current focus on quilting, thread painting, embroidery, patchwork, and mixed fibers. Her designs range from modern and contemporary to playful whimsical. Most of her work is free-form based on natural inspirations. Several of her works are privately commissioned or memory quilts.
Handwoven rag rugs adorned the floors of my childhood home and I was intrigued by the thought of taking discarded cloth and creating an article with renewed life. Years later when I inherited a 4-shaft floor loom from my mother, I had no weaving skills but a strong desire to learn. I found that education at Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem, NC, where I have taken several weaving classes over the past decade.
Mia Milani Design was born out of creativity and love of beanies. I design knit and crochet clothing, accessories and home decor. My inspiration comes from what I see and the materials that I use. I like to use wearable breathable materials that allow for easy care and wear. As a local artisan I strive to perfect my craft by learning new techniques and styles. This allows me to produce one of a kind items.
Born into an artistic and tinkering family with deep roots in Deep Gap and Boone, I have been around creative endeavors of music, sewing, painting, metal work, and gardening since childhood. After a lifetime of singing and a 25-year career in higher education and human services, I fell in love with modern quilting. Offering endless creative opportunity, free-form quilting gave me a place to combine color, pattern, and texture as I create fiber art, wall hangings, and greeting cards with new and recycled materials. Every choice of fabric and embellishment and every stitch gives me the opportunity to use my own visual instincts and respond to color, fabric, and possibility as I sew.
I specialize in small production and one-of-a-kind pieces of handmade jewelry that is best described as simple, elegant, wearable jewelry with an eye for organic movement and feel. Living in the mountains of North Carolina, my jewelry designs are influenced by the landscape and natural organic shapes and colors around me. Designs emerge that are unique and elegant blending with everyday casual; comfortable like your favorite pair of jeans.
Since early childhood, Melody has demonstrated a remarkable artistic ability. During her middle school years, Melody’s pen and pencil self-portraits and illustrations earned her several first and second place awards at the North Florida Fair in Tallahassee, Florida. While in high school, her creativity was further encouraged and nurtured during summer art camp at Le Moyne Center for the Visual Arts.
My forging experience began the summer of 2003 when a good friend of mine, woodworker and blacksmith, Jason A. Lonon, began sharing with me the pleasures of working hot metal. My efforts to learn were rooted in the self-reliance lifestyle I had taken on. My early projects included knives, hatchets as well as the obligatory wall-hooks and S-hooks. For a long time, I forged just for the experience, and took advantage of lessons, classes, and meetings in my area. I mainly forged products I could use in my daily life until I opened my own shop 2012 and started offering work to the public through festivals, craft shows and online sales. In 2016, I started developing several production items, and continued to forge custom commission works.
Lyle Wheeler is a chairmaker, blacksmith and all-around good ol' boy from Millers Creek, Wilkes County, NC. He has been creating utilitarian objects of art and desire since before he can remember. Working in the period of the late 1800s, his furniture is handcrafted, and bench made from native Appalachian hardwoods while his ironwork is forged from mild steel. Lyle is a professional whimmy-didler and communicates by postcard, one stamp at a time.
Best known for her colorful acrylic mixed media paintings Marion’s process involves creating layers, applied in non-traditional ways, using pouring, papers, monoprints and found collage elements. Her subjects range from vivid abstracts to semi-abstracts of landscapes, flowers and figures. Figurative works showing the face without features make Marion’s style uniquely her own. Her approach is to explore, take risks and be open to the unexpected.
I grew up in rural Union County, North Carolina in the small town of Weddington on a dairy farm, the oldest of six girls. I graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1974 with a degree in Intermediate Education. After two years I returned to graduate school at Appalachian State University to receive a master’s in counseling in 1977.
Pat began weaving in 1987. An award-winning and published artist, Pat has woven various styles of basketry and vessels - Nantucket, sculptural design, twills, coiling with pine needles and contemporary gourds. She has used reed, waxed linen, natural materials such as pine needles, barks and vines, gourds, antlers, foraged forest materials, cane as well as hand-painted paper, threads, wire, yarns, metals, alcohol inks and sometimes recycled materials such as stereo speaker wire, plastic tubing, or videotape.
“I have always been drawn to beauty, whether in the art of calligraphy, the human form, or the design elements in nature. I believe in the divinity of a creator who took into account every unique detail of each subject, and I strive to honor His creation. It is my hope that as you view my paintings you will experience a sense of serenity and joy that will remind you of the beauty all around us, if we will take the time and have eyes to see.” ~ Deb Sosebee
I derive my energy from nature and translate its power through painting. If I can capture that feeling of being overwhelmed, and overpowered, I have done what I set out to do. For me, the darkness in nature is as beautiful as the light. My art is an experiential trek derived from my hiking—thus my desire for large canvases. I want the viewer to step into the moment: feel the spray of a waterfall, hear the rush of a stream, or embrace the coolness of a shadowy path. I want them to investigate the light and the dark. Once captured the viewer can take part in the experience and escape into the landscape.
There’s nothing profound or mysterious to be found here- I paint because I love to paint. I enjoy finding a beautiful composition in the commonplace as well as the extraordinary landscapes that surround us in the Western North Carolina. It’s not always easy but when everything comes together the creation of a successful painting that will be appreciated for years to come is a very self-fulfilling endeavor. The challenge of learning how to create that success and the artist friends I’ve met who share the same passion has also been a great pleasure. I began my career as an artist late in life and soon understood the profound words of French Artist Edgar Degas that ‘Painting is easy when you don’t know how, difficult when you do’. The learning challenge is a lifelong pursuit, but one that provides great rewards.
Growing up in the Midwest my father recognized that I had the Call gift to draw. Eager to provide me with everything I needed to learn to cultivate my talent, he would constantly give me little projects to draw or paint; various items around the house, the family dog or members of our family.
Growing up in the countryside of Wilkes County, I spent many of my early years surrounded by native plants, flowers, and wildlife. My parents were avid gardeners and nature watchers, especially of our wild feathered friends. My father, whose career was horticulture and plant science, immersed and educated me in the fine and fascinating details of growing fruiting and flowering plants and trees. My love of nature was planted early and has influenced my art throughout my life.
My Dad introduced me to photography when I was in grade school and I was hooked. Surrounded by family members with artistic skills, I found the camera to be the instrument that let me do “my thing,” as I envisioned my subjects through the lens the way they would look as a painting. You would say I am a self-taught photographer, and I’m also an “online learning” fan as a school to learn digital image editing. Now that technology has opened newer doors for me, I can spend hours tinkering in the world of digital image editing.
Photographing nature and traveling to unspoiled natural places... those are two of the things I enjoy most. I spent countless hours in my youth wandering the mountains and streams of northwest North Carolina, and it was there that my love of the natural world was born and nurtured. Later in life, nature photography grew from those early experiences. I completed course work with the New York Institute of Photography and my cameras and lenses became the focus of my time outdoors. My work is concentrated on the southern Appalachians in general and the Blue Ridge in particular, but also includes many images from places farther afield. My images are sold in limited editions and are individually signed and numbered with certificates of authenticity. I hope my photographs inspire others to a greater appreciation of wild or preserved natural places.
From the time that I was large enough to carry and use a hammer and hand saw, I have been fascinated with wood and building. Wood scraps obtained from hounding carpenters, were assembled in various fashions by this pre-teen using only hand tools and nails. The teenage years with odd jobs allowed me to purchase hand power tools and improve the quality of projects. College at NCSU, and slightly more funds, allowed me to frequent the Craftsman tool department of Sears in Raleigh. This was my first attempt at joining wood with clamps, glue, and other materials. Entering the career working world allowed me to obtain bench power tools and expand my projects and work quality.
While working at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture I became interested in wood working. In 1994 I received a table saw from my co-workers as a retirement gift. The next week while traveling I purchased a small wood turned bowl in an artisan shop in Georgia. During that trip I also visited a store building that was a grocery store in a previous life and where I had conducted many inspections during my career at NCDOA. that grocery store now housed wood turned items for sale. After seeing wooden bowls and vases I was inspired to venture into the world of woodturning.
John produces both guitars and lap dulcimers form native hardwoods, as well as open-backed banjos with a unique bell-brass pot. His dulcimers are in the traditional North Carolina, teardrop shape. All his instruments are one-of-a-kind and built to the playing preferences of their owner. The “off-cuts” from his instruments are made into a variety of woodenwares.
I was born and raised in Iredell County, North Carolina, the son of hardworking farmers. My grandparents owned the local general store selling reliable and useful products. My rural upbringing gave me an appreciation for an honest day’s work, traditional craftsmanship, and well-made everyday items. As a young boy, I felt the need to create something with my hands. Drawing and painting didn’t seem right – didn’t seem useful enough. I wanted to make something lasting … something both practical and beautiful. When I came across an article in the local newspaper about an old-time master chair maker, I knew I’d found my calling. I searched him out and talked him into teaching me the craft. After learning the basics I took that knowledge and began to create my own designs.
Back in 2005 I purchased my first wood lathe and fell in love with the entire “turning process.” It starts with selecting the timber to be used, either salvaged wood that is destined for the landfill or responsibly harvested timber from other areas of the world. From beginning to end, the process involves working with the idiosyncrasies in the wood that are uncovered during the turning process.