Peter Werner-brooms-1

The Southern Highland Craft Guild opens Art of Detailing in the Focus Gallery of the Folk Art Center

Location: Folk Art Center | Milepost 382 Blue Ridge Parkway, East Asheville, NC

Hours: Open Daily 10am-5pm

Admission: Free

Focus Gallery Exhibit: Art of Detailing

Dates: February 23-May 20, 2024

Contact: 828-298-7928 (Folk Art Center)

[email protected] (Folk Art Center)

Asheville, NC- The Southern Highland Craft Guild opens its first focus gallery exhibition of 2024 with Art of Detailing, featuring both traditional and contemporary craft by five members of the Guild. The wool and silk apparel on display is by Judy Ott, the pottery by Michael and Ruth Rutkowsky, sculptural brooms by Peter Werner, colorful glass-blown vessels by Kathryn Adams, and silkscreened designed and hand-painted 22k gold vessels by Kelsey Schissel.

Originally from New York, Judy Ott is a fairly new member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild (2021) and creates artful apparel in her Asheville, NC studio using techniques such as mixing yarns with varying shrinkage to create three-dimensional cloth, adding magic and surprise to both her felting and weaving work. “Almost all of my work features wool and silk. I love the way the wool shrinks and the silk does not. It allows for texture and nuance of the piece,” states Ott, "Both of the felted pieces in the exhibit have a silk base and use merino wool. The woven piece is cotton, silk and merino wool where again the wool shrinks and the cotton and silk do not. That is the reason the piece looks so textural.”

Husband and wife, Michael and Ruth Rutkowsky are potters with over 65 years of combined studio experience, each creating their own line of work. Their studio is in the foothills of the Black Mountains, in Burnsville, North Carolina. “Mine is a less self-conscious approach to art. Using simple tools and materials spontaneously allowing the ongoing process to suggest its own variations encouraging a more intuitive approach to creativity. My materials are mixed from borrowed formulas that I have adjusted over the years to suit my purpose,” says Michael, member since 1989. Joining the Guild 30 years later in 2019, Ruth Rutkowsky’s work is deeply inspired by water and sky, featuring accents of blue in almost every piece. “Using the sgraffito (etching) technique in parts of my process, I have developed a line of work that is purposefully spiritual in nature yet is versatile to include pieces with social commentary or a commemorative message. I invite custom orders for my etched ware,” states Ruth.

The sculptural and functional brooms on display are by former University of South Carolina professor, avid demonstrator, and student of master craftsmen Ralph Gates and Carlson Tuttle, Peter Werner. Hand-crafted brooms have traditionally been made in the Southeast by both African-American and Appalachian peoples. Using traditional techniques, Werner crafts two different types of brooms – ones with wooden handles and smaller ones without handles, serving both decorative and functional purposes.

Art of Detailing will be on view in the focus gallery upstairs at the Folk Art Center February 23-May 20, 2024. The Folk Art Center is located in east Asheville. Visit the center daily from 10am-5pm. Admission is free.


The Southern Highland Craft Guild is a non-profit, educational organization established in 1930 to cultivate the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. The Southern Highland Craft Guild is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, just north of the Highway 70 entrance in east Asheville, NC.

Items will be available for purchase online soon. Until then, you can purchase these items through the Folk Art Center by contacting us: [email protected] or 828-298-7928 starting February 23, 2024.

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