Isn't it incredible how a chance encounter can influence life's direction?
Several years ago while visiting the Folk Art Center and considering a move to western North Carolina, Joan Berner met Liz Spear. Liz Spear was weaving in the Folk Art Center lobby. Through their conversation Liz shared with Joan what a wonderful professional crafts program Haywood Community College in Waynesville has. Fast forward a few years and you will find Joan Berner, a recent graduate of Haywood, demonstrating felting in the Folk Art Center lobby as a new member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
After retiring from work as an environmental engineer in Rochester, NY, Joan Berner moved to Hendersonville, NC. All her life Joan has enjoyed textile arts. After moving to the area she enrolled at Haywood and graduated from their Professional Crafts Department. She credits her education there with taking her love and skills as a dyer, weaver, and felter from personal interest to vocation. She praises the fiber department as well as the business department in preparing her for making it as an artist. She juried into the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 2012 and looks forward to participating in the July and October Craft Fairs of the Southern Highlands this year. She also sells her work at Desert Moon Studios in the River Arts District of Asheville and enjoys teaching on occasion.
While demonstrating wet felting at the Folk Art Center recently, Joan shared with visitors the various processes of the craft including: lay out (forming the three layer material of wool batt, hand laid wool, and silk), wet out, roll, throw and full. The process known as nuno felting was fascinating to watch as each element was "laminated" to form a new vibrant material. Joan uses the material in her fiber wearables, combining it with her own woven, hand-dyed cloth.