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Open Studio Day gives art lovers a special treat

Barbara Hootman
barbara@blackmountainnews.com

Four artists whose studios are along Padgettown Road will hold an open studio day Nov. 21 to showcase their work in iron, pottery, fiber and fused glass.

Hosting the event from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. are two of the studios involved, Black Mountain Iron Works and Shepardson Studios, makers of fused glass dishware and lighting. Additionally, local potter Terri Godfrey and fiber artist Meredith Greene will display their work. All will be selling that day.

Featured in The Black Mountain News on Oct. 1, Black Mountain Iron Works is husband-and-wife team Dan and Tekla Howachyn, who design, create and install hand-forged metal items for the home and garden. They create a wide variety of custom items including chandeliers and lighting fixtures, handrails and banisters, driveway gates and doors, fire screens and fire tools, pot and wine racks and garden and wall sculpture.

For Open Studio Day, Black Mountain Iron Works (blackmountainiron.com) will be forging iron in live demonstrations. The business at 203 Padgettown Road will also display a selection of Godfrey’s pottery. Godfrey, who runs Baked Earth Pottery, continues her exploration of 3-D media and making objects from clay.

Influencing her work, she said, are the many ceramic artists over the years with whom she has studied. After graduating from Warren Wilson College, Godfrey enrolled in art classes at UNC Asheville and began studies in ceramics. She earned a MFA in visual arts with a concentration in 3-D at Vermont College of Fine Arts. In 1999, she began learning the art of blacksmithing from Dan and Tekla Howachyn at Black Mountain Iron Works.

She enjoys making “affordable, user-friendly, functional pottery for preparing and consuming food,” Godfrey said. “What is the point in making something so expensive that no one can afford to buy, much less break and replace? At the show I’ll have salt-glazed mugs, cruets for oil or vinegar, salt-fired butter dishes and much more. Each piece is unique and handmade.”

Marianne Shepardson at Shepardson Studios (shepardsonstudios.com, 208 Padgettown Road) creates fused glass products for the home including bowls, plates, wine coasters, coaster sets and serving trays. Some of her small bowls have bird, dragonfly and lady bug designs. Nightlights take on a new glow when they come out of Shepardson’s kiln.

“For as far back as I can remember I have been a hands-on kind of person, enjoying almost any kind of activity that included making something,” she said.

Kiln-fired glass is an ancient glass-forming technique that is enjoying a resurgence in the fine arts and crafts movement today, Shepardson said. All items produced at her studios are created by hand-cutting and piecing together various colors of sheet glasses, then assembling and fusing them in the kilns. Many pieces, such as plate and bowls, require a second firing to create three-dimensional forms.

Shepardson was been working with glass for 20 years. She has also been a woodworker, professional cook, and interior and architectural designer. She likes glass the best so far.

“I make pieces that are meant to be used and enjoyed,” she said. She has shown in several juried shows, including some this year in Florida, Colorado, Missouri and Texas.

Greene, the fiber artist, will display her work at Shepardson Studios, during Open Studio Day. Greene learned her art form from Leslie Owens, who used to have a store on Cherry Street. Greene considers her to be a phenomenal felter whose teaching helped Greene develop her small business of making felt scarves (you can buy them also at Krista Anne’s Boutique in Black Mountain).

“Looking at them, you might think I just bought some felt and cut out pieces,” she said, “but there is a whole process to it. I create the felt from wool, an intricate process. It starts out light and fluffy and ends up solid fabric. During the process, you are creating a fabric that you can work with. My choice of products was the scarf. I like creating, wearing and selling them.”