Gallery to present fiber art show & workshop; reception Feb. 1

Sunset River Marketplace is set to showcase Elemental Visions: Fiber Art by Adair, Sharpe and Vasanto from Feb. 1 through March 9. The opening reception will be Feb. 1 from 5 to 7 p.m. The exhibition features abstracts, wearable art, macramé, tapestries and more created by Sandy Adair, Susan Sharpe and Vasanto. The Blue Ridge Mountains with their ever-changing moods provide inspiration for these three western North Carolina artists. Color, texture and textile artifacts are combined expertly by the hands and hearts of these women.

Adair says, “Like many families searching for a simpler, closer to the earth life, our family of four with two kids, an aquarium full of fish and five cats arrived in Boone , NC in 1974 in an old VW van. That was the beginning of a wondrous adventure.”

She started creating macramé plant items and abstract landscape wall hangings. Soon, after a tapestry course with Susan Sharpe, she was creating abstract tapestry landscapes. After receiving scholarships to Penland Craft School, she was juried into Southern Highlands Craft Guild in 1986.

She has received numerous awards including Featured Tapestry Artist of the Year for the Year of the Tapestry and the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Her piece titled “Appalachian Sunset” was featured in the movie 28 Hours. Her work has also been included in several books and publications, including Fiber Arts Design Book V, Better Homes and Gardens, Making Amazing Art, 1000 Artisan Images, The Romance of Country Inns, Southern Aviator magazine and Wilma magazine. Today, Adair is still inspired by her love of the earth and nature.

Vasanto (her public art name) learned to knit as a child, and then began spinning, dyeing, crocheting, weaving and felting with wool fiber. She says, “Soft, rich and extremely versatile, wool is a natural fiber that yields beautiful dyed colors and sculptural forms.”

Her wearable art includes felted wool hats in a variety of shapes and forms that convey unique personalities and vibrant energies. She creates nuno felted scarves in silk and wool by layering color and texture. Nuno felting is a fabric felting technique developed by Australian Polly Stirling in the 90s, The name is derived from the Japanese word “nuno” meaning cloth. The technique bonds loose fiber into a gauzy lightweight fabric.

Vasanto explains, I often start with a single color or combination that I want to play with. Colors inspire me and stimulate ideas and imagery both from my past and the present. Lately I have been making felt fabric collages, some abstract, others more pictorial or landscapes.

Vasanto studied with a number of respected fiber artists, including Beth Beede, Inge Evers, Chad Hagen, Jean Hicks and Polly Stirling. She went on to teach her own workshops at SAFF (Southeast Animal Fiber Fair), Tryon arts and Craft center, Northwood Farms, and the John C. Campbell Folk school. She is also a member of Local Cloth, a nonprofit organization in Asheville that brings awareness to the world of plant and animal fiber.

According to Susan Sharpe , she chooses to work with fiber and fabric media because it forms the common thread in diverse human cultures across time and around the world. She says, “Using traditional hand-forming processes such as paper-making, spinning, dyeing, weaving, and sewing, I imbue my visual images with the spirit of nature. Adding found objects and textile artifacts into my work engages me in the narrative process, and a story forms slowly. I want the viewer to find their own story within my work, and perhaps to find many stories there.”

To that end, Sharpe dyes and creates her own fabrics. With wool, alpaca mohair and silk fiber, she creates non-woven tapestries with wet felting processes. She uses natural indigo to dye fleece and yarn for woven tapestries. She also creates her own papers using milkweed, hops, yucca and iris fiber that she harvests from her garden. For Sharpe fiber art is her own creative journey. Her work ranges from realistic to abstract and includes weaving handmade paper, quilting and surface design.

Sharpe has lived in western North Carolina since 1970. With graduate degrees from Appalachian State University and East Tennessee State University as well as study at Penland School, the artist has exhibited in regional and national competitions, earning numerous awards. Workshops in drawing, design, paper making, dyeing and screen printing are available at her Redwing Studio.

On March 10, Sharpe and Vasanto will conduct a Nuno Felt Scarf workshop at Sunset River Marketplace. The cost is $95 per person and includes materials. Space is limited, so anyone interested should contact the gallery as soon as possible. More information can be found on the website. Link to workshop info

Sunset River Marketplace showcases work by approximately 150 North and South Carolina artists, and houses some 10,000 square feet of oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, mixed media, art glass, fabric art, pottery, sculpture, turned and carved wood and artisan-created jewelry.
There are two onsite kilns and four wheels used by students in the ongoing pottery classes offered by the gallery. There are realistic and abstract art classes as well as workshops by nationally and regionally known artists. During select months, the gallery hosts Coffee With the Authors, a series of presentations by local and regional authors. The gallery address is: 10283 Beach Drive SW, Calabash, NC 28467. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 910.575.5999 or visit the website at Daily updates are available on the gallery’s Facebook page.