Art Center Opens Quilt, Pottery Gallery Show

From Ashe Mountain Times By Joel Frady

Three-dimensional works of art will fill the space typically reserved for flatter works of art such as paintings or pictures this week as the Ashe Arts Center opens their new gallery exhibit, From Traditional to Contemporary. For the exhibit, local artists who specialize in quilting and sculpting will be given the chance to show off their work.

"It's a showing of fiber arts, quilting and pottery," said Jane Lonon executive director of the Ashe County Arts Council. "We wanted to be able to showcase the three-dimensional artistic talent in the county.

"We wanted a show that would have lots of texture and be different, a very cutting-edge kind of show," she continued. "So with the quilted work, when we think of quilts we generally think of traditional quilt patterns, but a lot of the work that will be coming out of this show will be new designs - what we call 'art quilts.'"

Members of the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild have created the quilts for the show. Guild president Sandy Leafe said that she got into quilting after seeing the guild's show at Jefferson Station two years ago and "decided I needed to learn how to do that.

"You can do a lot of things," she said. "There are so many different techniques, types of articles and things that you can make." The exhibit will feature more than 20 quilts, though most are made to hang on a wall and are not full-sized.

Leafe said she is looking forward to introducing the public to the art of quilting through the exhibit.

"People throughout the world and history have been making quilts, but in the past they've always made them for utilitarian purposes: to keep warm," said Leafe. "Nowadays, It has expanded into an art form."

Lonon said that each quilter was given similar material and challenged to create a new art work, "in either a traditional pattern or in a different way.

"What you'll see throughout this exhibit is a thread going through it of some similar colors and material, but they'll all be very, very different," said Lonon.

The exhibit will also focus on pottery and sculpture, though the works will be larger and less functional than others.

"We wanted to challenge the potters to create larger works and more sculptural works," said Lonon. She added, "the sculptural nature of what has been created here, the embellishments that are being added on to traditional pieces - that's what we wanted to challenge the artists to create."

Mary-Ann Prack, a sculptor based out of Jefferson, will have three pieces in the exhibit and looks forward to showing her work locally.

"I'm represented in other cities, but not locally, and it's just nice to exhibit here once in a while to let people know I'm here," she said.

The opening reception for From Traditional to Contemporary will be held during the West Jefferson Gallery Crawl on Friday, July 10, from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Ashe Arts Center.

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