Made in WNC examines the designer-maker movement through a regionally specific lens, considering how particular histories, geography, economics, technology, and education inform an international movement on a local level. Understanding the context for production, such as western North Carolina’s legacy of the Craft Revival, the industrialization of the New South, and skill shortages caused by deindustrialization, begins to explain how this movement takes on specific, local distinctions.
The twenty-four textile, ceramic, and furniture studios and four artists included in this show are establishing hybrid forms of creative practice by redefining how craft, design, and production relate. Like most designer-makers, these studios produce on a small-batch or limited-run scale of production and combine craft-based practice with new technology. Their products are advertised to a design-focused consumer and are sold through a range of marketplaces, from niche, direct-to-customer sales to wholesale orders for large, international brands.
In addition to displaying work created by local designer-makers, this exhibition showcases a series of rotating installations commissioned from the North Carolina–based artists Libby O’Bryan, Daniel Johnston, Nava Lubelski, and Tom Shields. Like the studios, each artist has a unique and intimate connection to local industry. These installations provide critical context for understanding the themes of the exhibition and the connection between craft and industry more broadly. Taken together, this exhibition asks the viewer to reevaluate the relationship between the history of craft and industry in this region and reimagine what it could look like in the future.
Appalatch (Weaverville, NC), Blue Ridge Chair Works (Asheville, NC), Bow + Arrow (Asheville, NC), Cause and Effect (Asheville, NC), The Circle A Brand Mfg. Co. (Asheville, NC), Claire Minihan Woodworks (Asheville, NC), East Fork Pottery (Marshall, NC), Element Clay Studio (Asheville, NC), FEHLŌ (Asheville, NC), Hudson’s Hill (Greensboro, NC), Iron & Ash (Asheville, NC), Lightheart Gear (Arden, NC), A Little Weather (Leicester, NC), Melissa Weiss Pottery (Asheville, NC), Mudtools (Bat Cave, NC), New Colony Furniture (Bakersville, NC), Nick Moen (Asheville, NC), The Old Wood Co. (Asheville, NC), OUTRA (Asheville, NC), Overlap Sewing Studio (Asheville, NC), Raleigh Denim Workshop (Raleigh, NC), Shelter Collective (Asheville, NC), Sketchbook Crafts (Marshall, NC), TSUGA (Boone, NC).
Libby O’Bryan (Asheville, NC), What is it Worth?, September 4-26, 2015
Daniel Johnston (Seagrove, NC), 783-804, October 1 – 29, 2015
Nava Lubelski (Asheville, NC), Emblematic, November 5 – 28, 2015
Tom Shields (Penland, NC), Parts and Pieces, December 4, 2015 – January 9, 2016
Organized and curated by The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design’s Assistant Director, Marilyn Zapf, the exhibition will be accompanied by a publication that includes a foreword by Executive Director Stephanie Moore, and essays by Bruce E. Johnson, Jeffrey A. Keith and Jeremy Press Taylor, Nathan Poole, and Marilyn Zapf.
This project was supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
In-kind sponsorship provided by Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC), Smoke Signals Bakery (Marshall, NC), Hickory Nut Gap Farm (Fairview, NC), Roots (Asheville, NC), French Broad Chocolates (Asheville, NC), Biltmore Wines (Asheville, NC) and Greenlife Grocery (Asheville, NC).
Opening reception performance by Make Noise (Asheville, NC).
The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design (CCCD), established in 1996, is a national nonprofit organization that advances the understanding of craft through research, critical dialogue, and professional development in the United States. CCCD is located in downtown Asheville, NC in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina.