If you are interested in exhibiting your work in one of our upcoming holiday shows, please fill out the following form.
We are excited to present multiple COVID-safe options for artists to exhibit and sell their work during the remaining months of 2020. Our new Downtown Satellite Gallery is open at 585 West King St above Doe Ridge Pottery and we are looking for local artists who would like to exhibit/sell their work in a Holiday Market! The gallery is large and open for effective social distancing and masks will be required for all customers. The Downtown Holiday Market will run from the beginning of November through December and will be open every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday!
We are also partnered with Cheap Joes for their annual Employee Show and Holiday Gift Sale, which runs from November 13 - December 18. While this event is normally reserved for employees only, this year local artists are invited to submit their work for the Holiday Gift Sale! The deadline to submit work for Cheap Joes is November 2nd, so don't wait to apply!
The holiday season is swiftly approaching so don't miss out on these exciting opportunities! While this season may look different from those in the past, we look forward to bringing some much needed holiday cheer to our community and hope you will join us!
History of the Fiber Arts Guild
A unique guild of fiber artists exhibited their work in downtown Boone each weekend this past October. Visitors may have stopped by their exhibit on West King Street and seen the fiber artists demonstrate their craft on the looms. Aprons, bookmarks, masks, scarves, sweaters and lap looms for beginners were all on display and available for shoppers to purchase.
Fiber arts is the long-standing crafts in the High Country. Passed down generationally, the artists said that they learn new skills of the hand and loom from each other.
“She (Susan Sharp, co-founder of the guild) gave me a drop spindle and a bag of wool. It actually changed my life forever.” said Eleanor Hjemmets, one of the first weavers and co-founders of the guild.
The guild members believe that the number of people practicing fiber art has decreased in the past 20 years.
“Most weaving has been moved to large machining centers, so many groups like us are disappearing. The machines take the place of our tedious labor, so these goods can be priced much cheaper,” Hjemmets said. “I continued to weave because I enjoyed the tediousness of it.
The artists of the guild describe the craft as a series of nuanced skills that require a sharp eye, relaxed agility and a creative mind. With only a few weaving communities left, the women of the Blue Ridge Fiber Guild cherish the practicality of fiber.
“For all of us, it’s a continuing education and a hobby,” said Sharp, co-founder of the Blue Ridge Fiber Arts Guild. “I had an interest in traditional weaving and tapestry before we started the guild.”
The Blue Ridge Fiber Guild of the High Country was established in the 1970s by Sharp, Hjemmets, Sandie Adair and Jane Campbel, who began crafting different types of fiber, wool, cotton and yarn, supporting their essential desire to learn.
The mission of the guild is to teach the skills to the next generation of children and adults and provide practical goods to the community surrounding themselves.
Their exhibit was hosted by the Watauga Arts Collective in downtown Boone, at street level above Doe Ridge Pottery celebrating American Craft Week.
Hjemmets, who provided weaving demonstrations on weekends this October, began her artistic education as a painter in the late 1970s. Hjemmets transitioned to weaving when she met Sharp.
Sharp is well known for her giant story quilts. Her first quilt she constructed, “Family Photo Album,” was recently purchased by the International Quilting Museum in Nebraska. The Turchin Center and the Blowing Rock Art and History Museum have also exhibited her work.
Amber Bateman, executive director of the Watauga Arts Council, said all of the guild members were thrilled to show in such a prime location as downtown Boone, where they had an opportunity to capture the attention of visitors who may have never seen the breadth of work that fiber arts include.
“There were always women wanting to spin. The revival of the guild connected us weavers together in the community,” Hjemmets said.
Jean Marie Martinac, a new member of the Blue Ridge Fiber Arts Guild, said she learned the craft from her grandmothers on both sides of her family.
“This art is essential. To learn, all one has to do is decode the process and follow the instructions,” Martinac said.
Martinac has created a variety of woven sweaters, patterned scarves and fabric landscape scenes.
“Yarn and fabric make me happy, and it’s productive. Weaving and quilting, like all things, requires counting and thinking. Plus, it keeps my hands busy,” Martinac said. “When we get together, we disconnect from our phones and connect to crafting.”
Sharp spent five years in Watauga County teaching fiber styles and has been sourcing the Guild’s collective work for galleries across North Carolina. She currently has 15 students and seven looms that they use.
“Find a group or class. Support each other. I always research new things because of this craft, as I love to learn as much as I teach,” Sharp said.
We are so excited to announce that the Watauga Arts Council has begun to operate our COVID safe classroom space since this past Wednesday! The Council interns and director spent the day getting the space ready for our students and workshop teacher, John Bond. This October, we've started hosting John Bond's Adult Art Classes in our Blue Ridge Art Space. John offers a one-on-one teaching experience with the students. He used to own the Art Mart Academy, so he is experienced in teaching unique styles with different tool techniques. He recently had his first set of classes, and they were a great success. We have more classes offered week by week featuring John Bond. Students chose their mediums (Drawing, painting, penciling, charcoal, pastels) and gathered the applicable supplies located in our workshop space.
We are excited to announce that our new downtown satellite gallery is now open! The Blue Ridge Fiber Arts Guild is the first group to exhibit in this space and we are so happy to have them!
This gallery will by open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday each week.
We need one volunteer per day to act as support for the Fiber Guild during the month of October. Volunteers will welcome patrons, ensure everyone keeps their masks on and maintains safe distancing, and help ring up sales as needed. Training is quick and easy and you may bring your own craft/artwork to do between customers.
Please consider volunteering below!
We are still solidifying plans for the months of November and December, but we are sure to need volunteers during the holiday shopping season! More information to come soon!
King Street Satellite Gallery
585 West King Street, Boone NC (above Doe Ridge Pottery)
Friday: 10:45am - 5:00pm
Saturday: 10:45am - 5:00pm
Sunday: 11:45am - 5:00pm
Applications are due by Wednesday, October 14, 2020!
The goal of this grant is to support local artists in the advancement of their careers and may be used for a variety of purposes, including the cost of presenting work for exhibits and/or auditions, training or tuition, travel, promotional materials, work facilities, equipment or the production of new work. Applications are reviewed by judges and a selection review panel from the four participating counties.
Grants typically range from $200-$1000.
The application deadline is approaching fast so apply today!
The Watauga Arts Council in partnership with
Cheap Joe's Art Stuff would like to invite you to the Watauga Arts Council Collection Show, hosted at Cheap Joe’s Gallery (next to the store). In an effort to raise money for the Watauga County Arts Council, visitors and residents of the High Country are encouraged to visit Cheap Joe’s to view and purchase items from our collection. Come see georgeous works of art and pick your favorite pieces to bring home!
We have selected our favorite pieces of art have collected at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace over the years from the gallery, the gift shop, and Board Members. The collection includes paintings, photography, pottery, greetings cards, and more.
Some of the art in the show was donated to Watauga County Arts Council, while others have been with us for a long time but are still owned by the artists. Artists will recieve their portion of sales. The Watauga Arts Council will give a portion of its proceeds to Cheap Joe’s Brushes for Vincent Program which provides art supplies to schools, hospitals, and other worthy organizations.
A Chance to Bid: All the work is priced and can be purchased. Some pieces will have the option to place a bid. If the artwork does not sell for full price by October 30th, The highest reasonable bid will win the artwork at the end of the show on October 30th.
The show runs from October 2-30th. The Showroom is open during Cheap Joe’s business hours, M-S from, 10 am-6 pm.
A special Second Saturday outdoor meet-and-greet is in the works. Details coming soon!
For more information call the Watauga Arts Council at 828-264-1789 or Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff at 828-262-5459.
Gift Shop Closure
The difficult decision has been made to temporarily close the gift shop at the Blue Ridge ArtSpace.
While we LOVE showcasing the amazing work of local artists, we found that the shop had become too cumbersome to manage. Finding volunteers to staff the shop had become difficult and the system for managing inventory and sales needed an overhaul. The amount of money we made in sales each year just did not justify the amount of work it was taking to keep it open. The gift shop was taking the largest room in our building.
The board has decided to use the former Gift Shop room to provide a space that is more condusive to art classes. The larger room will allow us to adjust to COVID guidelines for Physical distancing while still supporting arts education for our community.
All is not lost! We may reopen the gift shop after the dust settles from starting classes again or we may offer a hybrid solution by merging the gift shop with gallery space. We just needed to clear the space and start with a clean slate and approach that project with fresh eyes. Please let us know if you have ideas or thoughts about this. We want to hear from you.
Some gift shop items have been donated for our yard sale on September 19, 2020. Please come by and purchase the beauitful work to support the Watauga County Arts Council.
New Beginnings Yard and Art Sale
The building has been closed since March so we decided to take advantage of the time and clean out all the clutter that has been accumulating throughout the years.
We are hard at work preparing for a Yard and ArtSale next Saturday, September 19, 2020. This sale will help us raise money while also helping us start fresh.
Inside, you can expect to find paintings, photography and the like on sale, along with donate gift shop items. Some artists may be on hand to clearance their own work. Outside, you can expect to find art supplies, picture frames and framing materials, office organizers, furniture, tools, housewares, craft books, CDs, and more!
We encourage you to support the arts and donate items from your home that need a new beginning. You can drop items off all week. No clothes please.
If you are an artists who would like to clearance your work, please contact us for a booth space inside. You would be in charge of your own sales and we just ask that you give a donation of 10% or more back to the Arts Council at the end of the day.
A Warm Welcome
Watauga County Arts Council is undergoing some changes. As many of you already know, Cherry Johnson, our director of 28 years retired on August 1, 2020. We are grateful to Cherry for her years of service.
We are excited to introduce our new Executive Director, Amber Bateman. Amber is a Boone native, born in raised in the High Country. She moved back to the area with her husband and three kids in 2010 and quickly got involved in service to the community. She founded two nonprofits, Quiet Givers and Back 2 School Festival, which continue to serve our community to this day. Most recently, she volunteered and helped direct High Country Beer Fest, a fundraising event for Fermentation Sciences at ASU.
An artist herself, Amber is eager to marry her passion for the arts with her love for High Country. She is excited to bring some new ideas and fresh perspective to help enhance the art scene in Watauga County and beyond. She has a desire to make the arts a destination of the High Country by showcasing the talented artists that reside here. She wants to help the Watauga County Arts Council be the go-to location for how to get involved with the arts in this area.
Amber is excited to meet the Watauga Arts Council members and patrons of the Blue Ridge ArtSpace. She welcomes all to drop by the office and say hello. She is open to new ideas and wants to you to get involved.
The Blue Ridge ArtSpace has been closed since March so Amber is very busy working toward reopening the building so classes, workships, and community groups can resume. If you have interest in volunteering to help get these efforts underway, please fill out a volunteer registration form or contact us, 828-264-1789.
Please join us in welcoming Amber to our Watauga Arts Council / Blue Ridge ArtSpace family!