Feature Articles

August Issue 2002

Wickwire Gallery in Hendersonville, NC, Hosts Third Annual Furniture Show

Wickwire fine art/folk art Gallery in Hendersonville, NC, will host the Third Annual Handcrafted Furniture Shows from Aug. 23 through Sept. 27, 2002. The show introduces the outstanding craftsmanship and individually unique art furniture of seven local and regional artists. The artists include, Tom McCartney, Anne Tansey, Cliff Slater, Arthur Willey, Phil and Stephanie Brittain, Bev Neely Bruce and Gabrielle Starr.

The artists have a wonderful desire to please the viewer of their furniture thus their pieces are utilitarian as well as artistically inspired. On exhibit and available for purchase will be a variety of furniture pieces that coordinate with home, office decor, or vacation cabin. Original, handcrafted nature papers by Gabrielle Starr create an appealing, organic complement to the show. Her art expresses in texture and color her love of the woodlands. Garnering attention will be the marvelous displays of natural wood and handcrafted paper art combinations.

The process of creating a piece of furniture requires astute abilities in design as well as execution. Most furniture today has not been devotedly designed and definitely is not handcrafted. Shirley Palmer-Hill, owner of the gallery explains, "Wickwire Gallery offers the opportunity to experience 'the environment of inspired creativity' priced affordably so that no one ever needs to settle for the manufactured piece of furniture."

Tom McCartney has great admiration for old carpentry work. By special choice and on occasion the wood he may use is reclaimed from demolition contractors. By using salvaged wood from old buildings to create his furniture, he feels he is offering a reflection of an old structure's style and grace. That is," says McCartney, "a reflection of an older, slower time when style and patterns were abundant in our work and in our lives."

Anne Tansey's childhood interest in the Western North Carolina woods of mountain laurel and locust led her to a career as a botanist for the US Forest Service, where her appreciation for the qualities of different woods was formed. Her work has a rustic yet finished look. She artfully brings that beautiful and peaceful grace from the woods into our homes, patios, and gardens with tables and a variety of other furniture.

Cliff Slater designs and creates furniture in a range of woods - ash to walnut. His passion for quality craftsmanship has earned him numerous commissions. He and his wife Jeanette Sister, stained glass artist, have collaborated on several pieces of furniture. Slater's workmanship is exacting and he possesses the ability to take an original idea or concept for a furniture design and skillfully finish it with expert results. His traditional furniture style can be used in both residential and commercial environments.

Arthur Willey until a few years ago made furniture as a hobby. He began his studies in woodworking in 1982 when he studied under master builder Don Lippincott in Rockford, IL. His goal as a builder of fine furniture is to master the skills used by furniture makers from early eras and to develop a sensibility and awareness of scale that speaks to a person viewing his work. Willey, a Furniture Society member explains, "The grain, figure and variation in a piece of beautiful hardwood must speak in a clear and elegant voice."

Phil and Stephanie Brittain collaborate crafting their furniture encompassing the arts and crafts influence, bordering on a certain whimsy style of their own. They appreciate the qualities in wood and recognize its various "moods" so that "when it yawns or stretches," their pieces are prepared to weather the settling-in process. Phil has been making furniture since 1979 having learned from folk art instructors, and Stephanie has studied at Arrowmont.

Bev Neely Bruce sees in wood the different tree forms that work well together, blending their differences no matter their tree of origin. Bruce uses good design that celebrates nature. She harvests and recycles only previously cut trees in North Carolina. In Dec. 2000 the Mecklenburg County (Charlotte) Commissioners gave her an award for "Most Creative Recycling" for turning cut limbs and trees into furniture works. Her rustic furniture works are poetry of material and form. Bruce has a BS in Art Education with a studio major in Wood Design. Although she paints architectural watercolors, her true passion is working with wood.

Gabrielle Starr is a naturalist at heart - always longing for the simplicity and beauty of nature to be expressed in her many forms of art. Her latest studies in nature come in the form of handcrafted paper and pastel collages, boxes and lampshades expressing her love for the woodlands. Starr also shares her love for art and nature as creator of Wickwire Gallery's welcoming environment.

For more information check our NC Commercial Gallery listings, call the gallery at 828/692-6222 or email to (wickwire@bellsouth.net).

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