The Southern Highland Craft Guild has opened its final Focus Gallery exhibition of the 2018 year.

Located on the second level of the the Folk Art Center, The Golden Fleece features more than 20 ensembles in women's fashion. Showcasing work by Liz Spear, Karen Donde, Cara May, Joan Berner and Paula Bowers, the exhibition showcases a broad spectrum of tastes and trends. From the hipster millennial to the refined conservative female, each of these pieces is handmade and unique to the style and aesthetic of its designer. 

The catalyst for this show came from weaver Paula Bowers, known for elegant designs and exquisite textures.

"I work with natural fibers and unusually fine threads for a weaver," she states. "This creates well defined graphic patterns in my weave structures, and allows for fluid movement of the cloth. Because Paula's distinctive handwoven fabrics are intended for functional items, she works to masterfully balance her fabrics soft and sturdy characteristics. The resulting luxurious feel of Paula's handwoven fabric is enhanced by the artistic styling of her designs."

In contrast, Cara May's philosophy of modest and imperfect textures shine through in her small batch artisanal productions.

"My vision is founded in the Japanese wabi-sabi aesthetic," she shares. "They are understated, natural fiber creations. Every garment is handcrafted from start to finish - starting with selecting yarns and designing, then moving on to knitting, sewing seams, felting, blocking finished pieces, (or not blocking, just leaving deliciously crumpled & deconstructed)." 

"These five makers showcase very different uses of fiber," explains Curator Nikki Josheff. "Each may use similar methods of hand-dyeing, weaving, knitting, felting, crochet, but they have really honed in on a distinct element that has grown into a beautiful design of their own."

Josheff also is excited as the garments are timely and purposeful with the Fall and Winter seasons as folks get to start holiday shopping. 

The Golden Fleece is open from Nov. 10 through Feb. 5, 2019. Admission to the Folk Art Center is free. The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in east Asheville. Headquarters to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the Center also houses three galleries, a library, a craft shop and a Blue Ridge Parkway information desk and bookstore.

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