In conjunction with the national American Craft Week, Jackson County craftsmen are hosting and opening for the exhibition “Hand + Craft: A Jackson County Celebration” from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, at Gallery One as part of Sylva After Dark.
The exhibit, in honor American Craft Week, will remain open until Oct. 24 at Gallery One in Sylva.
Sponsored by the Jackson County Arts Council, The American Craft Week is a national event that celebrates the best of today’s hand crafted artwork. More than a dozen Jackson County craft artists will show a variety of work including metal, wood, clay, fiber, and mixed media. The goal of Craft Week is to promote awareness of American-made craft work through marketing, networking, education, and communications programs.
Tim Lewis, Photographer and Gallery One manager, has created a new line of photo-printed textiles made into scarves. He shows these along with several other textiles on view and for sale.
Cullowhee textile artist, Neal Howard holds a degree from the Haywood Community College Professional Crafts program; Her website “Neal the weaver” explains her homegrown process. “Outside - quite literally in my front yard,” she writes, “I set up my table, drying rack and steaming area. Then I fill buckets with warm water to soak the yarn.” She works up this yarn into hand dyed, hand-woven, silk scarves and wraps.
Sandy Creek Weavers of Whittier is a mother-daughter including Emily Hyatt and Victoria Hyatt Sowers. The team creates a variety of rugs and tapestries on historic 200 year old “barn looms.”
Dillsboro weaver, Kathie Roig recalled her introduction to craft work. “I started weaving in 1980 after my husband gave me a small table loom as a wedding present. Nearly 30 years later I’m still weaving.” For many years Roig operated KMR Handwoven at the Riverwood Shops in Dillsboro.
Dillsboro’s Susan Morgan Leveille, proprietor of the Oaks Gallery, long a retail mecca for visitors. Leveille runs the shop while maintaining her own career as a weaver.
Metalsmith William Rogers also worked in Dillsboro as the original designer of the Green Energy Park’s blacksmith studios. Today he teaches hammered copper workshops in Cherokee, Asheville, and Andrews. He is best known for commission work that combines steel and copper.
Treehouse Pottery in Dillsboro is owned by Travis Berning and Joe Frank McKee. Each makes distinctive functional pottery with a strong sense of style.
Berning and McKee are also well known for their efforts at organizing the annual Western North Carolina Pottery Festival, an event that draws appreciative crowds to the region.
Potters, Joan Byrd and George Rector represent Western Carolina University’s School of Art and Design showing their own distinctive designs.
Exhibitor Bill Hyatt left a career in criminal justice to pursue his “obsession” with woodturning. Today he lives in Whittier where he specializes in forms made from spalted maple.
David Nestler is another graduate of the Haywood Community College Professional Crafts program. A native of Sylva, Nestler took his years of hobby woodworking and turned them into a professional career as craftsman/owner of Tree of Life Woodworks, where he produces custom furniture.
Wood craftsmen, Chris Behre is the resident master woodworker at the Biltmore Estate. At his home studio in Tuckasegee, he makes bentwood Shaker boxes and children’s toys.
Frank Brannon, owner of SpeakEasy Press in Whittier, combines letterpress printing, hand papermaking, and bookbinding to produce hand-bound books made from a variety of natural materials.
Exhibition organizer, Anna Fariello is also showing mixed media work that combines photo imagery with other materials. Long an artist herself, Fariello directs the Craft Revival project at Western Carolina University’s Hunter Library and serves on the board of the World Craft Council. She was asked to organize a local event as part of the national American Craft Week effort.