December Issue 1999
Asheville Calligrapher And Glass Artist Show In Focus Gallery at Folk Art Center in Asheville
Represented in the Folk Art Center's Focus Gallery in Asheville, NC, through Jan. 15, 2000 will be two Asheville craftsmen whose works not only convey beauty, but also carry symbols for our cognitive sensibilities to study. Michael Hughey, presenting new calligraphy work and Rick Melby, showing fine glass art are both members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
Hughey is a rarity in today's art world; he is a craftsman of letter forms, bringing ancient, hand-wrought calligraphic styles to words of contemporary meaning and use. Our alphabet and the mysteries of its origin have always held fascination for Hughey, and since 1973 he has been a full-time calligrapher.
As one of not more than one hundred professional calligraphers in the country, Hughey has carved an extraordinary career niche. Even earning his Master's degree in letter forms did not result through the usual channels; he sought out experts on both coasts and as far away as London for apprenticeships in this rapidly disappearing art form. One key mentor was Donald Jackson, the official scribe of the Queen of England, whose role as a professional calligrapher was to pen all official documents for Her Majesty the Queen. For Hughey, earning a living as a calligrapher has often meant doing graphic design work, and applying letter art to wood, stone and glass by carving and etching. His popular printed quotations carry dramatic curves and flourishes which elevate an inspiring sentiment to a work of art.
Hughey believes that, despite advancements in the mass-produced printed word, and rampant neglect of our personal penmanship, communication through handwriting continues to fill a need in society. In his workshops in schools, universities and communities, Hughey has helped stir a revival of this art form. He has seen how it can provide a good foundation for all visual arts, and utilize both sides of the brain. In 1974, he co-founded the Society for Calligraphy in Los Angeles and in 1979 he founded the Carolina Lettering Arts Society. In this exhibition, 10 of the 12 pieces will be shown publicly for the first time.
Rick Melby is the kind of artist who can create art out of just about anything. After earning an art degree at the University of South Florida in 1977, he took a job in a stained-glass studio in Tampa. By 1980, having gained experience at other artists' studios, Melby moved to the historic district of Ybor City to establish his own studio and broaden his scope in glass. During 15 years of living and working in this artists' community, Melby owned and operated a storefront gallery, and collaborated with others on many artistic projects. Surrounded by the inspiration of other artists, and sharing techniques that helped further his own work, Melby felt he "came of age" creatively in Ybor City. Many public and private commissions were made in sandblasting, kiln work, glass blowing, and cold glass work. As part of Ybor City's growth as an art district, Melby helped organize local art events, mentored young artists, taught and lectured in the greater Tampa community.
In 1996, Melby moved to downtown Asheville, NC, and in 1998 became a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Melby sees current culture as becoming image-driven and lacking in the left-brain symbology of the written word. In this show, Melby's work juxtaposes familiar pop art images on glass, invoking our "visual vocabulary," which stimulates right as well as left-brain activity. The imagery is rendered either by painting directly with glass paint, or by etching the image and then applying pigment with Prismacolor pencils, paint or metallic leaf. Some pieces use techniques found in stained glass, others use photo transparencies and decals.
Holidays at the Folk Art Center Include Festive Entertainment And Activities
During the Christmas season, the Southern Highland Craft Guild provides music and entertainment for shoppers at the Folk Art Center. Each Sunday through Dec. 19 the Guild hosts afternoons of live music, and on Dec. 12, children's activities will take place in the Folk Art Center's Auditorium.
Inside the Folk Art Center, the Allanstand Craft Shop offers an extensive variety of unique gifts, hand made by Guild members from throughout Southern Appalachia.
For those who appreciate fine woodwork, exquisite hand-blown glass, sumptuous hand woven wearables, unique dinnerware, or limited edition prints, the Folk Art Center is an ideal place for finding the rare gem sure to delight the senses. One doesn't need an art collector on his list to shop with the Guild, however. Small gift items such as ornaments, kitchen utensils, casual jewelry, ceramic mugs, tiles and candle lanterns are inexpensive ways to share some art from the region.
Shoppers can plan on the following entertainment schedule:
Sun., Dec. 5, 2-4pm - Morningstar
King Goslin performs on guitar and Joane Logan Cooper on bass in this acoustic duo with a decidedly Scottish flavor. From Little Switzerland, NC, these talented women have entertained descendants of Scottish clansmen at Grandfather Mountain's Highland Games. It was at this festival that they were honored as the first musicians to perform the newly proposed National Anthem of Scotland on this side of the 'big pond'. At the Folk Art Center, they will entertain us with joyful Scottish folk music appropriate for the holidays.
Sun., Dec. 12, 1-4pm - Children's Handmade Christmas
This year, vivacious art and craft educator Nora Mosrie will join Guild member Sandra Rowland in providing children with exciting craft projects for the holidays. From 1-4pm, kids can leave their parents to shop while they enjoy holiday craftmaking and are entertained by puppeteer Ms. Jan and her puppet friends.
Sun., Dec. 19, 2-4pm - The Dowden Sisters
These three young women are bursting with homegrown talent, singing, playing and engaging the audience with their old-time American music. Laura, Hannah and Emily Dowden sing three-part harmony while playing fiddle, banjo and guitar. Their well-tempered, energetic performance has won awards in their native Ozark mountain area, and since their move to Asheville, has become a favorite at Guild events.
For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings or call the Guild at 828/298-7928.
Mailing Address: Carolina Arts, P.O. Drawer
427, Bonneau, SC 29431
Telephone, Answering Machine and FAX: 843/825-3408
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