Fiber Art Exhibit Coming in February
Sandy Adair met Susan Sharpe shortly after moving to North Carolina. Adair enrolled in a weaving class Sharpe was teaching at Appalachian State University and the two quickly became friends. Adair’s home was often Sharpe’s stopping point before going home in the afternoon after teaching or studying.
Soon, Adair met Vasanto (her public artist name) at a Blowing Rock exhibition and sale. Adair introduced Vasanto to Sharpe and the three became good friends. What brought them together? A bond over their shared love of fiber art, an old form that has often taken back seat to fine art and even pottery.
Coming soon, Brunswick County residents will have a rare opportunity to take in the trio’s stunning art. The show will be held at Sunset River Marketplace in February of next year. The show begins with an artist reception 5 to 7 pm on February 1, and concludes on March 9. A nuno felting workshop may be held at the end of the show; stay tuned for details on the gallery’s website.
Work to be included in the exhibit will include weaving, handmade paper, felted landscapes, silk scarves, felted wool hats and macramé (the 1970s-era smash hit that is making a comeback).
Sharpe firmly believes that fiber art is making giant strides. “Move over pottery; fiber art is here,” she quipped during an interview while she vacationed at Sunset Beach. She noted that fiber art is also to be the focus of an exhibition at Blowing Rock Art Museum in 2019.
A retired elementary art teacher, Sharpe earned an MA in art education from Appalachian State University and an MFA in fiber arts from East Tennessee State University. She intended to teach at ASU where she was a graduate assistant and part-time instructor but wound up in the Caldwell County public schools, which she says she loved. She retired in 2015 and has since been intensely working in the various art forms she loves.
Her handmade paper art has been displayed in Art in Bloom in Wilmington, and her hand loomed rugs are available at Eclipse Gallery inside Blue Moon on Racine Drive.
Among the pieces she plans to exhibit at Sunset River are hand silk-screened scarfs and felted abstract landscapes. She will also showcase quilts from an original series featuring vintage items and entitled “Adventures of the Leopard Sisters,” a bit of a play on words based on her memories of her six sisters lining up on the front porch to sing such as the Lennon Sisters, of television fame, often did. Sharpe’s work features dyes made from plants she grows near her studio.
Vasanto was very young when she learned to knit, and soon after expanded her repertoire to include spinning, dyeing, crocheting, weaving and felting with wool. Her current efforts center on felted wool hats in a multitude of shapes and forms. She describes wool as being “soft, rich and extremely versatile.” It allows her to design hats that “convey unique personalities and vibrant energies. Besides being practical, hats make great costumes! Who hasn’t played dress up at least once in their life!” In addition to selling her wares at shows and online, she offers workshops to teach others to make their own unique designs.
Her Nuno felted scarves in silk and wool are made by layering color and texture. She and Sharpe will offer a workshop on Nuno felting on March 2 at the conclusion of the Sunset River show.
Adair’s award-winning weavings are in private and corporate collections throughout the United States and abroad. Recently she was at a show held through the Southern Highland Craft Guild at the manor house of Moses Cone National Park. On display was a work of love she produced for her son, a beautiful large weaving of Grandfather Mountain.
She was also creating a large-scale macramé piece, demonstrating the various knotting techniques that go into this art form.
Adair’s work ranges from notecards based on her original work to very large scale triptychs of the North Carolina mountains, the coast and elsewhere. She created a series based upon a year living in Hawaii and another based upon living a year near Fort Fisher. Private commissions include the client’s backyard and vacation spots such as the British Virgin Islands; she often works from photographs supplied by the client.
She describes weaving as a “slow process of laying in one needle of yarn at a time until an image is formed.” Once completed, the weaving is stretched across a frame, secured and backed with muslin.
The exhibition at Sunset River Marketplace promises to be varied and deeply personal, colorful and educational. Mark your calendar!
Sunset River Marketplace is located at 10283 Beach Dr. SW, Calabash.