The first snow of the year couldn’t stop art lovers from reaching the Foothills Arts Council Friday night for the opening of the ArtReach North show.
The galleries at the arts council welcomed more patrons than expected on such a wintry evening to view the work of artists from nearby Carroll, Floyd, Grayson and Patrick counties in Virginia. An eclectic range of paintings, pottery, wood and glass, one of the favorite pieces of the show was a quilt from textile artist Linda Fiedler.
“It’s beautiful,” asserted Linda Erlandson. “It certainly brings a lot of life to a room.” Although not a quilter herself, Erlandson has interest in the art. “It’s a lot of work and patience,” described Erlandson. “The precision of what they do; it’s really amazing.”
A master quilter from Meadows of Dan, Fiedler started with traditional quilting in 1972 and evolved to her current more modern art from relying heavily on colors inspired by the natural world. As an award winning quilter of clothes as well as bed and hanging quilts, Fieldler said, “Fabric is my medium. A sewing machine, scissors, and thread are my tools.”
“I’m proud to be exhibiting at ArtReach North, and to be considered part of the local art community,” ceramics artist Holly Hood from Independence disclosed. “The arts community here in southwest Virginia and northwest North Carolina really is regional in its scope. We share a lot of cultural tradition and history.”
Corinne Graefe stated she and her husband Bill, “were very touched that we were invited to participate, and that Mr. Butner came to pick up our work himself.” Their woodwork stood out among the pottery and paintings, drawing the attention of patrons and adding warmth to the cold evening.
“What makes our work different is the quality, especially with finishing and design, and the gorgeous grain and figure in the lumber we use,” explained Graefe. “We use local lumber we cut and dry ourselves, and local labor. In our own small way, we’re bringing furniture making back to the mountains, one job at a time.”
This art series promises to bring more people to Elkin. “I’m very excited about it,” said local artist Tory Casey. “I think it’s a great idea to bring artist together. It’s very inspiring.”
“We’ve been to Elkin many times and love your little town,” enthused participating artist Donna Ellis. “Seems Elkin is putting a lot of energy and effort into the arts and that makes it even more desirable as a potential place to move in the future.”
Hood agreed, “I’ve visited Elkin a few times and my initial impression was that it is finding new life and economic growth by fostering art and artists.”
To see more of ArtReach North, which also includes work by Virginia artists Greg Arens, Andrea Denniston, Seth Guzovsky, and Todd Price, visit the Foothills Arts Council at 129 Church St. from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday, Friday or Saturday until Feb. 25 when a closing reception will take place with an artist meet and greet from 4 to 6 p.m. when this exhibit will close in order to prepare for the Youth Art Expo which will open March 10.
For more information about the Foothills Arts Council and future exhibits, go to www.facebook.com/Foothillsartscouncil or www.foothillsartscouncil.org or call 336-838-2025.
Beanie Taylor can be reached at 336-258-4058 or on Twitter @TBeanieTaylor.