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!