Where art and history meet: BRAHM’s diverse offering appeases all ages

Watauga Democrat

By Thomas Sherrill

Summer Exhibition Celebrations  May 31

Join BRAHM on Friday, May 31, from 4:30-7 p.m. for the opening of our latest exhibitions. A seasonal event, the exhibition celebrations are some of BRAHM’s biggest gatherings of the year to celebrate the changing and unveiling of exhibits. Hors-d’oeuvres, drinks and music are offered throughout the evening. You’ll have the chance to meet museum staff, exhibiting artists, featured historians and fellow cultural enthusiasts from across our High Country community. Every reception is free and family-friendly. This event is free and open to the public.

Southern Strands: North Carolina Fiber Art  May 25 to Oct. 27

Textiles and fibers have a strong place within craft heritage and history in North Carolina. The 19th century saw the industrial revolution bring textile mills to the heart of the state, which challenged handcrafted techniques. The layers of this story are deepened by an exploration of women’s history, which is strongly rooted in fiber and textile practices. Addressing these themes, Southern Strands: North Carolina Fiber Art presents artwork by contemporary fiber and textile artists creating across the state of North Carolina, alongside historic discussions that highlight and encourage appreciation for the cultural history and heritage of these crafts.

Exhibiting artists include Edwina Bringle, Catharine Ellis, Jeana Klein, Carmen Grier, Leslie Pearson, Evee Erb, Erin Miller, Sydney Sogol, Joyce Watkins King, Marguerite Jay Gignoux, Mary Tuma, Jan-Ru Wan, Susan Brandeis, Billie Ruth Sudduth, Vicki Essig, Bryant Holsenbeck, Susan Sharpe, September Krueger, Bethanne Knudson, Precious Lovell and Andrea Vail. These artists hail from all over the state of North Carolina, from the east coast to the mountainous west and the Piedmont in between.

Southern Strands presents works created using a wide variety of techniques, many of which seek to incorporate natural methods of textile production through natural dyes, as well as the reuse of locally gathered fiber materials. Techniques explored by exhibiting artists include quilting, basketry, weaving, felting, embroidery, crochet, paper making, book binding, screen printing, pattern making and dyeing. Additionally, contemporary techniques explore fibers and textiles through sculpture, installation and mixed media.

This presentation of diverse mediums is coupled with discussions of the functional and the visual. Historically, textiles have served a functional means, from clothing to storage vessels. As time has passed, there has been a bridging of the worlds of function, craft and visual art. Southern Strands offers opportunities to expand on these discussions of form versus function, as well as commonalities and differences found within fiber and textile practices employed in art studios across the state today.

This project is made possible by a grant from the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area Partnership.