By Colby Dunn • Correspondent
This time of year, there’s a Santa around every corner. There’s the jolly Santa flying around in Coke commercials, the harassed-looking Santa on his mall throne, the grandfatherly, rosy-cheeked Santa in “Miracle on 34th Street,” but in Alane Bartnik’s workshop, the Santas of the past come to life.
Bartnik, the owner and artist behind Nonna’s Santas, handcrafts each of her Santas after a different era, complete with painstaking research into the clothes, style and most importantly, toys from that era. It’s not just their outfits and accessories that she makes by hand, but each Santa’s face is hand molded, each with his own personal expression.
Bouncing around her gallery like a rubber ball, the energy of Teri Siewert is contagious.
“The ambiance here is something you can’t buy or make. It’s either there or it’s not, and it’s definitely here,” she said.
Standing in his basement workshop, furniture maker Roy DuVerger looks around the cluttered, dusty space. It may look like chaos to some, but to him, it’s the sign of a busy man doing what he loves.
General Grant knew from a young age he was an artist.
“I was gifted, it was a gift from The Creator,” he said. “He gave me multiple talents and I was not afraid to experiment with them. Through my experimentation, I’ve become very good at this and have able to make a living doing it.”
It was a summer job that literally molded itself into a future.
Amy Ammons Garza has always looked out for her little sister, Doreyl Ammons Cain.
“Make sure you mention when the mural will be unveiled,” Garza said. “She’s always forgetting things.”
“I am not,” Cain countered with a laugh. “Ever since we were kids, she’s made sure everything I needed is taken care of.”
For Norma Hendrix, it’s all about connecting the dots.
“I love working in a community of artists,” she said. “I really like pulling all of those dots together, where you create a sense of community with the energy of people working side-by-side.”
If the litmus test of a community’s health is how strong its art scene is, then, by the looks of it, Waynesville is in tip-top shape.
Hundreds will take to the streets of downtown this Friday evening for the first Art After Dark of the year. For some serious art purveyors, it’s a time to study and muse over the latest works to emerge on gallery walls. For artists, its time to compare notes about the creative process.
Downtown Franklin is all sunshine, but it’s the calm before the storm.
Drifting through an array of stores and restaurants lining Main Street, the scene is quiet, but soon, with Thanksgiving falling into the rearview mirror, shoppers determined and curious will overtake the small town, in search of handmade items from regional artists. Strolling the sidewalk, one soon comes upon North Carolina Mountain Made.
What sounded like a jet engine echoed out of the building tucked away on the hill.
Peering into the large bay doors of the metal studio at the Jackson County Green Energy Park in Dillsboro, the booming noise is coming from a foundry in the corner that was used to turn metals into molten liquid for casting.