A brush with fate

travel bucknerJust mere feet from a bustling South Main Street in Waynesville resides a cocoon of creativity. With a steady stream of vehicles rushing by, one enters Jenny Bucker’s studio as if to step into a portal of a calmer ambiance. Vibrant, intricate paintings hang from any available wall space, while the sounds of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” echo throughout the cozy abode.

Crafting the future — Dillsboro

travel dillsboroartsAmid the numerous businesses in Dillsboro, its cultural and economic heart lies in the plentiful art galleries and studios. From decades old locations to brand new operations, the town is an ever-evolving community, one with the drive and commitment to bring a beloved art haven into the 21st century.

Over the hills and far away: Folk School bridges the essence of humanity

art frTaking a left off U.S. 64 onto Settawig Road in rural Clay County, the busy commercial thoroughfare transforms into lush farmland. The mountain air gets sweeter, soothing late spring sunshine spilling into the open windows of your vehicle. 

A few miles down the winding road, you enter the tiny community of Brasstown, with its one gas station and handful of buildings. You take another left and cross a bridge into Cherokee County. And though that bridge may just seemingly provide transport over the waters of Brasstown Creek, one will soon understand that the threshold is more than meets the eye.

Crafting the future — Dillsboro at 125

art frJoe Frank McKee knows what Dillsboro is capable of. “It’s a fighting town,” he said. “There are more craftsmen involved here these days, which means if you’re making your product and selling your product, you have more of a reason to fight.”

Co-owner of Tree House Pottery on Front Street in downtown Dillsboro, McKee and his business partner, Travis Berning, have spent the last 11 years setting down roots and investing in what has become a premier pottery establishment in Southern Appalachia. And as the town itself celebrates its 125th birthday on Sept. 6, many businesses within the community are reflecting on a storied past, an uncertain present, and a hopeful future.

WNC artists find new home at Mahogany House

tg mahoganyBouncing 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. 

Dancing with one’s dream

art frStaring into a 2,250-degree furnace, Tadashi Torii sees his passion come to life.

“I’m really calm,” he said. “I try not to be bothered by anything else. I try to create my inner-peace area and then go from there and concentrate.”

Sewing traditions together: Weaver attracted by all facets of ancient art

art frSitting at her loom, weaver Amy Tromiczak feels right at home.

“It’s an amazing thing. You’re making cloth, and I love it,” the 25-year-old said. “It’s all about the whole process of choosing your fibers, deciding what kind of cloth to make, seeing it laid out on the loom.”

From the studio to the classroom

art frThe loud pounding echoed from the end of the empty corridor.

Crossing the threshold of the last classroom on the left at Smokey Mountain Elementary School in Whittier, one could see — and hear — that the source of the sound came from the feverish hands of students during their afternoon art class. Like an army of woodpeckers, the pupils each hammered away at copper sheet metal in an effort to make their designs a physical reality.

Arts council opens arms to the creative and curious

art frThere’s a buzz going on at the Mahogany House in Waynesville.

Normally, one could attribute that to a woodturning tool, handheld blowtorch or whatever else an artist might need to turn one’s vision into a physical reality. But today, that buzz is hearty conversation about the upcoming exhibit at the Haywood County Arts Council up the road on Main Street.

A Santa for all occasions

art frBy 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. 

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