I am the mother of two young children and the bearer of endless cups of lukewarm coffee. I am a sucker for rescue animals. I own more books than I could ever read. My home is always chaos, bright and loud.
Oil painting is my first and greatest love. We met when I was very young and needed a friend. Until recently our relationship has been rather casual. My formal education is in English and History. I graduated from The University of Central Florida in 2005 and worked various desk and retail jobs before moving to Asheville in 2008. In 2014 I left my job to stay at home with my first child and it was then that I began to paint seriously, perhaps obsessively. One day, someone wanted to buy one of my paintings. I thought, “well, why not?” And that was how I started down the road to becoming a professional artist.
I am always experimenting and refining my style through playful explorations of texture, light, color, and movement. My subjects are sometimes cutesy, sometimes whimsical, sometimes surreal, and quite often furry. I like telling stories. I try to paint dreams. I hope my paintings warm you down to your very cockles, or at least make you smile, as the word cockles makes me smile--because it is very silly.
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.
Frank lived most of his life and raised his family in Dutchess County, NY which is part of the historic Hudson Valley. He has been married to Jean for 29 years and they have one son.
Frank’s interest in rustic design started after spending many vacations at Jean’s family cabin in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate NY. With a background in construction and his love of the uniqueness of rustic design, they purchased a small 1930’s mountain cabin to renovate. The end result earned him a feature article in ‘Cabin Life’ magazine and was a successful year-round vacation rental.
He started selling his rustic furniture and accessories on a part time basis to shops in small towns around the Adirondack park. When Frank retired in 2015, they decided to relocate to the Asheville area due to their love of the mountains, the huge local artisan scene and their desire for a warmer climate. They were fortune enough to find a home and settled into the beautiful and friendly community of Sandy Mush.
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
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.
Pat is one half of Creative Accessories and her mom Betty is the other half. Pat creates accessories using polymer clay as well as recycled materials of eggshells, paper and fabric. Betty creates items from fabric and yarn. Together they offer jewelry, scarf enhancements, knit scarves, fabric purses, microwave cozies and many other items to accessorize yourself and home. Their collection can be seen at Eco-Depot in the Asheville River Arts District.
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"!
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.
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.
Dort's quilts are original designs based on her drawings, photographs, and imagination. She does landscapes, people, and animals... all in the tactile medium of fabric.
Sandra LoCastro is a North Carolina native, growing up in Eastern North Carolina until 1981 when she and her husband fell in love with the mountains and moved to Western North Carolina.
Taking after her grandmother, she was a crafty person from a young child. If she could be creative and use her hands she was in heaven. Her first camera was a Pentax 110 film camera at age 11. Even at that young age, Sandra felt an instinctive need to capture the beauty she saw everywhere, to savor later on.
As the years progressed, she attended college and earned a degree in Commercial Art and Graphic Design. Since 1980 Sandra has continuously honed her skills through photography workshops and online training, shooting film and now digital. The natural progression of combining photography and art, two things she loves, with her mantra to ‘learn something new every day’, led her to photo art.
Sandra likes for her work to set itself apart in a classic style. Beauty is all around and she feels it is her gift to capture it, and share it. Sandra does photography, photo art and classic portraiture.
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 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!