Wesley Angel is a native of the Asheville area. His family has lived in the mountains of western North Carolina for seven generations. He is a member of the American Welding Society, where he is a CWI.
He is listed with HandMade in America. He has work in and is a member of The Museum of North Carolina Handicrafts in Waynesville, NC. He has work in two local galleries, Mountain Made in the Grove Arcade and The New Morning Gallery in Biltmore Village. He also has work in All Things Celtic in Louisville, KY. He currently lives in Leicester, NC with his wife, Gwenda.
Born and raised in Asheville, artist Valerie Berlage still calls the mountains of Western North Carolina home. As a child she helped her grandfather in his woodworking shop, and she painted and learned traditional Southern handcrafts from her grandmothers. It was Valerie’s close ties to her family and a love of the mountains that kept her in WNC after earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville. Working for a local crafter for several years reawakened her love of woodworking, and she enrolled in the Professional Crafts-Wood Program at Haywood Community College in Clyde, North Carolina. Her art has gone through several transitions over the years, but it has always remained rooted in her relationship with her loved ones. Finally finding a comfortable balance between her backgrounds in mixed media printmaking, woodworking, and handcrafts, Valerie has created a perspective and aesthetic that is colorful, whimsical, and functional.
Studio open on Saturday only
Laurie was born and raised in Pennsylvania, but now splits her time between Florida and North Carolina. She has been quilting off and on for 40 years while raising two children who are now married and with children of their own. After operating a Museum Store at the Brevard Art Museum in Melbourne, FL and organizing their international travel program for 25 years, she is retired and enjoying the freedom of quilting as much as she wants. She has so many ideas and so little time, but loves the NC mountains. There are many fellow quilters with whom she can learn from and share patterns
Born in England, Rachel Clearfield was a self-taught child prodigy. As a young girl, she composed poetry and illustrated her poems with beautiful paintings. After completing high school she decided on a career in art and was educated at the Newcastle College of Art and the Manchester College of Art.
Upon graduation in the late 1960s, Ms. Clearfield moved to Amsterdam and rural Holland where she was inspired by the beauty of her surroundings. During this time she painted brilliantly colored symbolic animals amidst exquisite natural settings. She was awarded a prestigious grant from the "Contra Prestatsie" and her paintings were purchased by the Dutch government as well as by collectors in London and Paris.
In 1976, Rachel relocated to the United States and lived in Hawaii, California and Florida. While living in Miami from 1980-1990, her work was shown at Gallery Lanvin, Gallery 1029, Gallery Lorraine and Gallery Marguerite Gil. She made numerous television appearances and articles about her work and life appeared frequently in the Miami Herald.
Rachel settled in Asheville with her husband and three children in 1990. While living in Asheville, her work has been shown and sold through the Discovery Gallery in Washington DC, the Broadhurst Galley in Pinehurst NC and the Minerva Gallery in Asheville. She has been featured as an artist in Carolina Architecture and Design, Asheville Citizen Times, Laurel of Asheville, Smoky Mountain Living, WNC Woman and Rapid River. Recently, the Fayetteville Museum of art exhibited Rachel’s “The Circle of Life” which was selected as the premiere painting in their show “Object of One’s Collection.”
Rachel is an avid flower gardener and paints directly from the beauty which surrounds her home in the mountains of Sandy Mush. The artist calls her present mode of painting classical visionary. Although the roots of her technique reflect the classics her messages are contemporary. Her artwork is immersed in a vision of planetary healing for all elements of nature and life. Rachel has sponsored benefits and used her artwork to promote events to raise money and awareness for a variety of animal rights, environmental and humanitarian organizations including Greenpeace, The Nature Conservancy, The Rainforest Alliance and also Food For People, which is an international relief foundation based in California. Rachel has hosted an annual benefit for this organization for the past eight years and has raised over $50,000 to help feed severely undernourished children and the aged in India, Nepal and Africa.
Art critic Sylvia Penn wrote of Rachel’s work, "With Rachel, we undertake an unforgettable journey to magical vistas of unspoiled beauty and dream-like quality. Here is the promise of paradise, where wide-open spaces unfold in a spectacular panorama of tranquil beauty. The diversity of details, the patterns, the intricate rhythms, presented in a visionary style, adds up to still-life and haunting landscapes of inner experiences, not soon forgotten."
Olga Doreko was born in Uzbekistan. In 1998, Olga arrived in North Carolina. Olga fulfilled her dream and became a proud American citizen in 2008. In 2006, she opened her own gallery, the Olga Dorenko Fine Art Gallery, and has become a successful and respected artist in the greater Asheville area. Olga Dorenko Fine Art Studio opened in Autumn 2009 in Leicester, several miles outside of Asheville, where she interprets the surrounding mountains and valleys into highly detailed paintings and vivid watercolors. Olga’s paintings have been described as powerful, evocative, vibrant, and inspiring, and are often charged with a depth of feeling, thus allowing the viewer access to her inner joy – truly compelling for those who appreciate fine art. Olga has clients in twenty states as well as in Germany, England, and Canada, many of whom have followed her successes, becoming avid collectors of her work. Her art is found in many private collections, as well as in Hilton Hotels, among other notable locations throughout the country.
Olga’s work is a unique fusion of traditional subject matter and a contemporary color scheme and painting techniques. Her landscapes are embedded with emotion and movement. As a young artist, she was greatly influenced by the great Russian landscapist, Ivan Shishkin, and the modern painter Eyvind Earle. She also greatly admires Japanese ink paintings. These influences are evident in Olga’s prolific body of work, and shared on her website at olgadorenko.com Written by Anne Connolly
We are the second generation in our family to explore brooms as an art form. Brooms as art were stifled in their infancy by the invention of the broom machine in the 1850s. At that point, the plain wire wrapped, dowel handled broom became the standard. Until recently, there have been no professional broommakers, only machine operators.
Using natural wood handles and broomcorn, we make each broom by hand with techniques that date to the 1790s
Diana prepares the handles by shaping, carving and sanding each one by hand. Marlow then ties the heads on the handles in an intricate hand-woven Shaker design. We both share in the design, sewing and finishing of each broom.
Freed from the constraints of the machine, we are investigating shape, size, color, texture and the other fundamentals basic to any art form. We continue to draw inspiration from the teachings of my father, mentor, and master broommaker, Ralph Gates.
Ralph truly was a master craftsman and considered by many to have pioneered Brooms as art.
Each broom is a unique, functional piece of sculpture, incorporating traditional Appalachian strength and longevity.
Frank was born in NYC and has been drawing and painting all his life. Professionally, Frank was a Design Engineer specializing in industrial, graphic and electro mechanical. He managed design departments for small and major companies throughout his 40 year career in different parts of the country. Now retired, time allows him to devote more time to painting. Painting mediums include acrylic paints, oil pastels and pen and ink.
Upcycled, vintage silverplate flatware, antiques, old salvage metals and found objects from the earth and sea can all be found in "Never Too Old" jewelry. Trish believes age enhances character, beauty and value. Her wish in creating something new from old is to evoke a feeling of agelessness and ultimately renew a connection to the cycle of life as we are all "Never Too Old"!
I am always mindful that purity and simplicity is essential. I use only natural ingredients, pure essential oils, renewable soy wax, beeswax and organic herbs to create products that offer a sense of calm, peace and balance to your life. I love the subtleness of aromatherapy that has the quiet power to unlock a memory or a feeling.
Candles represent more to me than wax and a wick. I believe the flame of a candle has captured the memory that fire can keep us warm, cook our food, give us permission to take a deep breath and relax, become part of ceremonies, add warmth and renew energy in our homes reminding us to move in our lives like a flame that dances so freely with such clarity and brightness!
My wish is that you become aware of the energy that surrounds the lighting of a candle and that it awakens the memory of your own bright light.
Karen A. Hawkins is a mixed media figurative artist. Karen lives just outside of Asheville, NC. Many of her childhood memories are of making dolls out of scraps of fabric and pieces of clay. Karen is a member of The Southern Highland Crafts Guild, the second oldest craft guild in the United States. She is also a member of the Professional Doll Makers Guild. Karen holds a BA Degree in Fine Arts from University of North Carolina-Asheville and a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Appalachian State University.
Creating for me is a passion, a puzzle and a dilemma to be worked through and loved at the same time. Creating is a blessing and a joy, a gift from God.
I believe art dolls have a very unique way of capturing and engaging individuals in a deep and personal way. They evoke memories and feelings, perhaps once forgotten. I strive to reflect in my characters the joy of life and the blessings that come from laughter.
These one-of-a-kind figures feature special techniques and skills used by the artist: modeling,sculpting, papier mache', needle felting, hand beading, silk painting, weaving, basketry, garment sewing and fabric design.
Karen creates figures that are both free standing and pose-able, while she also creates figures that are posed and mounted onbases.
Karen designs custom fit patterns to help in the characterization for each figure. All accessories, props, clothing, speciality fabrics and bases are hand-made by the artist.
I am a mixed-media figurative artist with a life-long love of textiles. As a child I could often be found sewing on my grandmother’s treadle sewing machine. She would hover nearby, just sure I was going to sew through my finger. (I’m happy to report that, so far, I haven’t!) I loved making dolls and doll clothes, and even made some of my own clothes in elementary school. I was never that A+ Home Ec student who impressed the teachers with her perfectly straight seams, but the girl who never followed the pattern and made old pants into bell bottoms by cutting slits in the legs and sewing in fabric triangles.
My creative pursuits have included drawing, painting, sculpting, knitting, quilting, weaving, dyeing, and spinning. Well into adulthood, and after my children were too old to care, I began making dolls. Initially I was drawn to doll-making because it allowed me to use all the skills I had developed over the years. As I made more dolls, I grew less interested in embellishment and costuming, and more interested in creating expressive faces, hands, and feet. I am increasingly told that my work is better described as figurative art, although I sometimes still refer to them as “dolls.”
The smaller pieces I make are made from polymer clay and a wire armature. The larger works are mostly cloth with some air-dry clay to refine the features. I often use mohair curls from my goats, and even feathers from my chickens to complete a piece. Most days I am sitting with a lap full of raw materials, trying to coax out the little spirit who lives in them. On a really good day, it happens.
My pots are the culmination of 30 plus years of study and hard work. The designs are cutting edge with craftsmanship that focuses on function. Art that you can touch and use on a daily basis; this is the goal that I strive to achieve. The forms are very strong and color is added to enhance the details present in each of the pieces that I create.
I believe that functional pottery is a form of art; it deserves as much notice and esteem as fine art. What other art can the owner interact with on a daily basis? I would describe my work as a high definition with tremendous attention to detail, complicated yet user friendly, down to earth and strikingly beautiful. It allows you to get involved and you will want to look at the details. These are sculpted vessels with functional pizzazz.
The Jones Pottery is owned and operated by Matt and Christine Jones in the beautiful Big Sandy Mush valley of Leicester, North Carolina (just west of Asheville in Buncombe county).
Our objective is to make a full range of pots for the garden and home, and offer them for sale at twice yearly 'Kiln Openings' and regional pottery shows. Our home gallery is also open to the general public throughout the year by appointment.
The apprentices help Matt with all aspects of making and firing the work. We throw and decorate every piece of pottery by hand and fire them in a large wood-burning kiln.
Christine keeps up with the books, tends beautiful flower beds, and conducts the Kiln Sales. Without her help, The Jones Pottery never would have made it this far.
Matt enjoys making pots, and he take the task seriously, but he tries to not take himself too seriously.
My grandfather introduced me to weaving when I was 9 years old. Although I did not receive formal training for weaving until after he passed, I still feel a deep connection to him when I am at my loom. The connection to my grandfather makes me feel like I am a part of the rich history of textiles. It is an ancient craft built on necessity and infused with the artistry of everyday people.
My collections begin with drawings and ideas about colors and textures and shapes. From there they gradually take form as I calculate the yardage and yarn that I will need. Yarn is measured out thread by thread and then wound onto one of my looms.
Once the yarn is on the loom, each thread is pulled through it's own heddle and then through the reed. The sequence in the threading determines the variety of structures that will be available while weaving.
I grew up in Chicago, Illinois and received my B.S. Ed. and M.S. Ed. degrees from Southern Illinois University in 1969 and 1970. With stars in my eyes and a willingness to try to "save" humanity, as we were focused on in the 70”s, I then began teaching, traveling from inner city to inner city around the country and Virgin Islands for a number of years. It was a wonderful experience but I was disillusioned after 6 years.
In 1976 I changed my occupation and began traveling around the United States as a craftsperson attending craft shows, selling my hand made work. I began with Sculptural Macrame and after a year began Whimsical sculptures out of Sculpey. I never had a passion for clay until in 1986 I awoke from a dream centering a pot on a potters wheel. That began my passion for clay and I threw pots for 12 years. Pottery can be very hard on the body and I could no longer throw pots or work in clay so it was time to change my creative expression. That is my passion in my life. To create.
Since I live on a farm with Llamas, Alpacas, Angora goats, I delved deeply into fiber arts; spinning, felting, knitting, etc. I then tried silk painting, papermaking, and various other things. I just wanted to try everything since I was no longer consumed with clay. And then I held a gemstone. It was every bit as divine as holding a clay pot. Really in the same family.
Gemstones have healing properties and I immediately needed to learn how to create beautiful pieces of jewelry so those gemstones can be worn close to the body. Working in Sterling Silver only, I have had classes from William Holland School of Lapidary, Haywood Community College Metals Program, Online classes from Lexi Erickson, and self taught. It’s very exciting to see the results of something so beautiful created out of nothing, as in any creative endeavor.
My fiber studio and my clay studio are still next to my jewelry studio. I love working in all three mediums, but making fine jewelry with gemstones is my passion now.
I am attracted to clay and all that it can do. It is the bowl we eat from, the cup we drink from, the plate we serve with. It is a personal object that is used day to day. Clay is displayed on the wall like a painting or as a freestanding sculpture. The world of tiles and architectural ceramics enhance our environment through its beauty and durability. The surfaces offer infinite possibilities. I love creating work with wonderful texture and color whether it has a designated function or whose function is purely aesthetic. I am at heart, a hand builder. I do sculptural work which is sometimes figurative, abstract, or a combination of both. I prefer natural looking surfaces which are layered and multifired. The use of a hand crafted item is a different experience than the use of a manufactured item.
There is a personal connection between the user and the maker.
I was born and raised in northern California, into a family who valued the pleasures and restorative aspects of nature. My husband and I are working toward retirement and currently reside in Charlotte, NC during the week and call Leicester, NC home most weekends. It has been a long-time dream to live in the mountains!
I grew up in a crafty family who were always busy creating – practicing the art of DIY before it was a “thing”. I have enjoyed creating gadgets and things for and around the house my entire life, from hand-made Christmas ornaments to building projects. I often see or think of a project and think, “I can do that!” Sometimes it works, and other times, not-so-much. Regardless, I love the idea of creating and working with my hands and mind!
My “Happy Art” has evolved from a small little hobby to more of a therapeutic adventure! I made my first piece several years ago after caring for my terminally ill sister, Jennifer. Her sixteen year old daughter, who is extremely artistic, made a wood-burned and painted piece for her mom for Christmas… and so it began. “I can do that!”
Growing up, I learned the value and importance of taking care of the earth and like to consider how things might be used and re-used. As my passion to create “Happy Art” grows, it is becoming more and more clear that re-creating and making things new again is the directions to which I am heading. I hope you will enjoy this fun, one-of-a-kind, usable art. New and found wooden items are transformed by wood burning and paint. The vibrant colors and nature-inspired designs say "HAPPY!"
We are all creating and re-creating ourselves in one way or another. So, if we must, we may as well BE HAPPY ON OUR JOURNEY!!
Combining the most ancient of clay techniques—pinching—with the refinement and elegance of porcelain, I create clay vessels that hold an energy of aliveness, compassion and possibility.
For years I worked with fiber—spinning, dyeing with plants, knitting. I showed my work at ACC shows in Reinbeck and Baltimore as well as shops on Newberry Street in Boston. I also have a lot of experience as a landscape gardener as well as working with color in various ways. When, after a move to Florida, I was ready for a change of medium, I combined my various passions into a new art form that also involved working pliable natural materials directly with my hands, connection with plants and working with color.
Each of the porcelain pinch pots I create is an individual.
I carefully choose leaves that will be preserved by being fired onto the pots. I press the leaf in a thin layer of clay I've rolled out with a rolling pin, cut it out and appliqué it onto the pot, sometimes adding clay stems or vines. The leaf burns off in the first firing leaving its intimate details captured in the clay. I often enhance the pot with semi-precious gems or pearls.
The process brings me great joy, a sense of who I am and a feeling of participating with the beauty of nature. I do hope these pots speak to both the senses and the soul.
Over the past 30 years, my love of color, texture and beauty has been expressed through various textile mediums: sewing, weaving, knitting, felting, quilting and fabric collage. The women of my family were all masters of fiber and design. However, it has only been in the last five years since I have retired from the teaching profession and embraced the world of fine arts and crafts that the love of all things fiber has been fully expressed through painting on silk. It is wonderful at retirement age to have discovered that through silk painting, this love of color, design and line can be most effectively nurtured and expressed. I have found my passion!