August Issue 1999
Folk Art Center Offers an Exhibit as a Tribute in Craft to the Final Days of the Millennium
In the months approaching the year 2000, questions are raised about what will be left behind at the conclusion of the twentieth century, as well as what lies ahead at the dawning of a new millennium. In the Annual Members' Exhibition entitled Closures, craftspeople of the Southern Highland Craft Guild express a range of eleventh-hour feelings and attitudes as time marches us over the threshold into the unknown. Displayed at the Folk Art Center's Main Gallery, located on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, NC, now through Aug. 29, Closures is a tribute in craft to the final days of this decade, century and millennium, with work by over 60 Guild members representing all craft media.
The idea of Closures ranges in interpretation from literal expressions such as a hand-made clasp on a jewelry piece to the broader meaning of the word, summing up life in this century. Asheville artist Cori Saraceni has a vision of society whirling into the twenty-first century on the speed of our technology. In her wall piece Riding a Hard Drive into the New Millennium I, Saraceni uses computer parts which she has woven into a bicycle wheel. Coiled wires and other industrial-age miscellany fly decoratively from its spokes by an imaginary centrifugal force, hinting, perhaps, at the chaos and uncertainties of Y2K. Weaverville, NC, ceramicist Steven Forbes de-Soule has one word, or rather a symbol, for the century soon behind us. His shimmering gold sphere, raku-fired, and globe-like in appearance is entitled simply $$$.
Simple closures on baskets, pottery, and woven pieces can take on larger significance when used to declare an artist's mindfulness of a life's chapter closed. Ceramicist Nancy Humeniuk (Monterey, TN) submits a lidded jar with one of her famous clay lizards crawling to the top, entitled, The Tail End. Waynesville fiber artist Liz Spear closes one of her finely woven jackets with a very impressive button, making a statement large enough to be worn at a New Year's Eve engagement. Another lidded jar, by Burnsville, NC, potter, Becky Gray, speaks of transformation in meeting the new age before us. Entitled Chrysalis Jar, the closed clay vessel appears wrapped in leaves, sheltering a developing being. The parted leaves at the top of the jar reveal a small face peering from the cocoon, seeing a new world for the first time.
Judi Gaston (Knoxville, TN) and Susan Allen (Murfreesboro, TN) collaborated on a very private declaration about closure. In the small, hand-woven bag with a fastened flap, entitled The Purse: The Openings and Closings of Our Personal Life, we see the purse as more than just a repository for valuables. Its closure is the gateway between our public and private life. Glass artist Jak Brewer, of Zionville, NC, poses a question to all who must pass through this next milestone in history. His cast, indigo-colored glass sculpture is etched with an image of a doorway with the door ajar, entitled, Is the Door to the Future Opening or Closing? East Tennessee fiber artist Betsey Worden may not wish us to struggle with the future's uncertainties when viewing her hand-woven tapestry created with the colors of an Appalachian sunset. The setting sun, woven in golds and oranges, is just beginning to nestle itself in the cool blue mountains, waiting peacefully below, in a quieting piece entitled Sunset of the Millennium. Whether the work is designed to stir our souls or still them before the real or imagined changes ahead, Closures presents some of the highest quality work of Guild artists in some of their most personal, unique, and time-consuming expressions.
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