Main Gallery Exhibition
It is not often to find artists crammed together in a studio, piecing together ideas of varied elements to form a masterpiece. The notion that creatives generally lead isolated lives, perhaps even deemed ‘lone wolves’, is evident in celebrity of craft media, established through collector bases and patronage. However, at the root of artistic expression, makers often tap into their human need for connection.
In the upcoming exhibit “Fellowship,” over fifty members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild showcase works of collaboration – dispelling the individual ego and finding value in community. The upstairs main gallery will feature over thirty pieces, crafted and fused through multiple hands. The exhibit opens on Saturday, August 13 and is free to the public through Sunday, November 6.
The Guild, founded in 1930, formed on the idea that economic success was greater through a community rather than on the individual. Presbyterian missionary Frances Goodrich worked in building relationships among mountain communities, in particular female weavers, to start cottage industries. The legacy of small creative businesses continues today through the human artistic network that the Southern Highland Craft Guild offers members.
Diane Getty and Tommye Scanlin have been friends since meeting in graduate school at East Tennessee State University. For a craftsperson, one’s hands are essential and both Diane and Tommye have had challenging hand injuries and surgeries that have affected their ability to make artwork. “Fellowship” became an opportunity to express their appreciation for regaining dexterity. Their piece, “Healing Threads,” is a mix-media assemblage of handwoven tapestry and collographic prints. The prints were designed from x-rays of Diane’s hands, taken prior to surgery, and applied over a tapestry woven by Tommye, the first one she was able to do, several months after a severe accident to her hand.
“We are both very grateful that our hands have recovered enough from the surgeries and the injury so that we are able to work in the stitching and weaving that we love. We’ve found the process of making artwork one of the paths toward emotional healing from physical trauma.”
Other members have also joined up in teams for varied collaborations in eleven different media. Batik and fiber artist Robin Ford partnered with jeweler Amolia Willowsong in an embroidered tapestry titled “Water Music.” Building from one of Willowsong’s beaded bracelets, the two created free form shapes that are intimately layered with color and wax.
The main gallery is upstairs in the Folk Art Center and is open year-round with free admittance.