Focus Gallery ExhibitionInspiring MotivesMay 26-August 21

Through August 21, the Southern Highland Craft Guild presents Inspiring Motives in the Folk Art Center’s Focus Gallery. This exhibition features the work of five Guild members: Mike Lalone, Asia Mathis, Cheryl Mackey Smith in clay, Joanna White in fiber, and Richard Flottemesch in wood. The Folk Art Center is open daily from 10am-5pm located at milepost 382 Blue Ridge Parkway. Admission is free. 

Cheryl Mackey Smith

Clay, member since 2022

Her current body of hand-formed ceramics speaks directly to her love of the natural world. Each and every small piece of clay is handcrafted carefully to depict aspects of nature, whether real or abstracted. As she applies the fired ceramics to the archival backings, her knowledge of composition and feel for the random occurrences in nature develop into the finished framed fine art ceramic wall pieces.

Mike Lalone

Clay, member since 2009

Michael Lalone has been working in clay for over 20 years. He started by taking a teacher recertification class and hasn’t stopped yet! His strength is in the love of teaching and sharing what others have so freely given to him. Clay folks are among the most giving, genuine people he has met and for this reason he was immediately drawn to that type of personality. Being a teacher at the Boys & Girls Clubs at the age of fourteen, teaching at the public-school level for 31 years has allowed Mike to fulfill his dream of being a person who gives back to others.

Joanna White

Fiber, member since 2017

The practice of meditation is crucial to my artistic process because in the stillness and silence, I receive impressions of color and nature themes. Meditation directed me to explore many mediums: weaving, spinning, stained glass, beading/jewelry, watercolors, finally settling on fiber art. Fiber ran in my genes….my Dutch grandmother had her own millinery shop in Amsterdam and when she came to this country, she made her living sewing. Fiber led me to painting on silk. The spontaneity and easy manipulation of the dyes on silk was captivating and inspiring. The magic had begun!

Asia Mathis

Clay, member since 2021

The middle part of humans (the abdominal area) is our most vulnerable because there are no bones protecting it, yet it is incredibly important, housing our digestive and reproductive systems, as well as major muscle groups holding our bodies up. With this work, I am investigating this part of human fragility both physically and metaphorically. Our “middle” self; our core honest selves, both as individuals and as a culture, is also that which is most vulnerable, yet essential, allowing for truth-telling and deep connection.

Richard Flottemesch

Natural Materials, Wood, member since 2020

It is not a choice; he selects the wood or stone to carve by its feel, touch, and color. He then starts carving with no preconception about what the piece will be. He finds this approach allows tremendous freedom to create unique forms. Other times he will create a form to make a statement about what has happened or is happening in the world with the hope that it will move people to explore their own thoughts and feelings. His art is about the wonder and beauty of our humanity.