Brad Earnhardt, Classical Guitar

Performance & Instruction – Room 16

About:

Brad began his studies at the North Carolina School of the Arts for high school and college in Winston-Salem. There, he studied under Larry Almeida and Aaron Shearer. He continued on with graduate school at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music studying under David Tanenbaum and the University of Arizona under Thomas Patterson. While in music school he had master classes and private lessons with some of the world’s most renowned artists including:  Manuel Barrueco, Pepe Romero, David Russell, Bruce Holzman, Oscar Gighlia, David Leisner, Dusan Bogdonavic, Scott Tennant and Ricardo Cobo. Brad has performed in solo and ensemble concerts for guitar societies and other organizations across the country as well as performed on PBS with tenor Cornelius Young. Brad moved to Asheville, NC, in 1995 where he performs around the western North Carolina region and at the Biltmore House regularly.  He is currently the president of the Asheville Classical Guitar Society.

Brad’s teaching is largely based on Aaron Shearer’s methodology (having had five years of pedagogy with him at NCSA) which consists of solid technique, reading music, music theory with the ultimate goal being performance.

Jenny Fares, Sound Mind Creative

Graphic Design – Room 5

About:

A creative force to be reckoned with, Jenny Fares has been an active player in Asheville’s artistic community for nearly thirteen years. Jenny is a mover, shaker, and all around crowd rouser. Her collaborations are a walloping cacophony of sound and fury, art and fun. She thrives in creative, energetic circles – and it shows.

Jenny started her career working for some of Atlanta’s top ad agencies, designing for Coca-Cola, M&M, Mars and UPS. She left the big city for the relaxed pace of Asheville in 2002, and worked at the Brite Agency for two years before opening Sound Mind Creative in 2004. While building a national client base, Jenny collaborated with a handful of Asheville’s rising agencies. In 2010, Jenny moved to her current studio in the River Arts District. She was honored to be named Best of Graphic Design in WNC by Mountain Xpress readers in 2012 and 2013.

Micah Mackenzie

Photography – Room 13

About:

Micah Mackenzie is a professional photographer from Sumter, SC, although his heart is firmly based in Asheville, NC where he has lived for most of the past 25 years.

As a child, Micah was intrigued and inspired by his mother’s photography of the natural environment. Later as a self-taught artist, Micah explored composition, color, layering and textures through drawing, painting and wood burning. With photography, he continues to creatively manipulate his chosen medium using a rich, multi-layered approach with a focus on portraiture and people. He is equally comfortable taking photos in the studio or out in the real world. He loves the ability to manipulate and fine-tune a studio environment, at the same time relishing the spontaneity and freshness of an impromptu street or on-location shoot.

Micah has always felt a strong, intuitive affinity with the visual world and his drive as an artist comes from a desire to explore and communicate with others creatively, sharing with them the unique lights inside his head. He looks beyond the surface of his subjects, seeing inside to what is intrinsically beautiful and empowering – this is what shines out in his photos.

Pat McDonnell

Filmmaker – Room 3

About:

Adventure sport and documentary style photographer/ filmmaker Pat McDonnell has logged more than 16 years shooting in the outdoors. In 2001, he created Medicinebleu Films, which specializes in documenting the humble ambition of ordinary people around the world who work to make a difference in their communities. Styled as a lo-fi grassroots collective, Medicinebleu Films has taken McDonnell to Nepal, Patagonia, Belize and Ecuador to shoot both stills and live action. Whether he’s capturing adventure sports in picture-perfect locations or documenting the enduring human spirit in far-flung regions of the world, McDonnell’s DIY mentality helps him thrive in the most impossible landscapes. His resilience and experience are critical in another of his many roles, managing the logistics for medical relief projects with aid groups Medic Force and Clinic Nepal. He is a graduate of the school of Television, Film, and Recording Arts at Florida State University.

Samantha Sabine

Fiber Arts – Rooms 24 & 25

About:

Samantha Sabine got into the fiber arts 5 years ago after a difficult move away from family and friends, teaching herself to crochet after a long hunt for the perfect pair of…(drum roll please!)… slippers. It was a rough road to start, having dabbled in brief amounts of knitting at the ripe age of 6, and not picking it back up for the next 20 years, it had to be similar, right? Nope. Nada. Not EVEN close. She started with a simple basic shape… a rectangle. Well, it ended up with a weird warp and kind of curved to the right, and happened to be made from green yarn. These days, this testament to a rough starts hangs on her Christmas tree as “The Christmas Pickle” and the term “Practice makes pickles” can be heard each time a learning experience error happens. Fast forward 5 years, her crochet is much better (thanks youtube!), she has taught herself to knit (again, but better), dabbled in weaving, whirled a drop spindle, spun on a wheel, and found out her true love in fiber.. is to dye it.

Almost 3 years ago, after yet another move, and a desire to expand her creative skills into new fiber areas, she looked into dyeing yarn and other materials for her projects as a way to learn a process from start to finish. At the same time, her favorite yarn retailer was also uprooting and looking for a new place from which to grow their business, settled in Charlotte, and put out the call for local dyers. It was a match! Fast forward to now, Samantha is a full time dye artist for Expression Fiber Arts, still expanding her skill set, always thinking of new colors, combinations, applications, and enjoying every minute of it.

Spies Design

Jewelry – Room 10

About:

Klaus found his love for jewelry in his early teens and was fascinated by all the possibilities to create beautiful things. Growing up in Europe, he was touched by the masterworks of the goldsmithing tradition almost as old as mankind. After traveling extensively, and pursuing his craft in Berlin, Germany, he moved to Chicago, IL in 1999 and started Spies Design. In 2008 he moved to Asheville where he now has a studio and showroom in the city’s lively downtown. During the last 20 years, he has experimented with all kinds of techniques, but the learning process in the art of goldsmithing never ends. Aside from creating new collections, he is always experimenting with new materials and methods.

Creating jewelry as a way to express himself, Klaus gets his ideas by observing his surroundings wherever he is: in nature by looking at the patterns of plants or animals, in the cities by watching the people, in dreams by listening to his inner voice. He uses a wide variety of goldsmithing techniques like chasing, fabricating, wax carving, casting etc. Over the years he has developed my own style, aiming for perfection in craftsmanship while still breaking the rules of joyless, classical, industrialized jewelry.

Erica Stankwytch Bailey

Jewelry – Room 9

About:

Erica’s work is both organic and architectural, and is created from the visual fragments of a life of collecting images. She inspects the world in great detail and has always collected shells, seedpods, stones and interesting organic elements. Her studio often resembles a laboratory with trays of specimens lined in rows. The walls and pages of her sketchbook are covered with myriad images of her world from nano-photography of plant life to the expansiveness of the Grand Canyon. In designing, making and living she sees a strong relevance for the smallest things within the larger context; the seed that becomes a plant, the jewelry on the wearer, our planet within the universe. She uses a variety of techniques in an effort to create pieces that are tactile and invoke in the wearer a sense of personal attachment.

Valeria Watson

Mixed Media – Room 4

About:

Valeria lives in Asheville, North Carolina, city of hopes, dreams and delusions. Awakening from delusions that harm self and others is the central core, motive, power, blessing and message of her work. She creates healing environments. Matrices of higher dimensions intersecting with our own flat land experience. She is a Priestess of Osun and a minister, and uses her art and performance to infuse love and healing energy into the very fiber of the process and objects.

The indigenous Adire Indigo of the Yoruba and Kenyan and Moroccan textiles ripple through my work. She traveled to the University of Nigeria in Nsukka, to visit the renowned El Anatsui after first seeing the beauty of his work in Berlin in 2010 in the citywide installation ‘Who Knows Tomorrow.’ His monumental works were draped on a major museum in the city. She shall ever be convinced of the fact that size does matter. Seeing his monumental works changed her forever.

His studio had the distinct air of a zen monastery. She got to see how he worked with locals who would come to work for the day and be paid for the work done, free agents. When she asked how she could do monumental work, he said, “join your smaller works together.” And thus she now joins her work as a costumer, painter, performer in one interior space, seeking to be the “El Anatsui of interior space.”

WAXON Studio

Batik & Dye – Room 17

About:

Waxon batik and dye studio is a longtime dream finally finding its way to fruition in Western North Carolina. We are proud to be open for business in The Refinery Creator Space at 207 Coxe Avenue located in Asheville’s South Slope. My vision is to provide the materials and experience needed to create one of a kind, professional batik and tie-dyed garments that customers can make themselves. Customers can walk in or schedule with me ahead of time (by calling, emailing, by booking a time slot on my website, or signing up for a class). We want to work with you to fit your schedule! Once here, folks choose which garment(s) they want to dye, which colors they want to use, and what patterns or designs they want to try. They are given just enough assistance to create an amazing work of art! I then process the garments and get them washed, dried, and ready for years of wear. Local customers can come pick up their finished items and we can ship to tourists visiting the area. With a retail area at the front of the Refinery featuring batiks and hand dyed garments and housewares designed and created by me, it’s easy to find the perfect unique gift.

Laura Wood

Jewelry – Room 2

About:

Laura Wood is a full time jewelry artist living in Asheville, North Carolina. Her newly relocated studio is in the Refinery Creator Space in the downtown South Slope District. Her work has been selected for many exhibitions throughout the United States, including The Contemporary Jewelry Show at the Penland Gallery (NC), Shift: Makers that Define, Expand, and Contradict the Field of Art Jewelry at the Grunwald Gallery (IN), and the Lydon Emerging Artist Exhibition (LEAP) at the Society for Contemporary Craft (PA) and most recently as a 2015 SNAG Emerging Jewelry Artist at the annual Sculpture, Objects, Functional Art and Design Expo (SOFA) in Chicago, Illinois. Her work can be found in select galleries in the United States and in the permanent collections of the Gregg Museum of Art at North Carolina State University and The Racine Art Museum in Racine, Wisconsin. Publications include, 500 Paper Objects (Lark Crafts, 2013), Behind the Brooch (Shiffer Publishing, 2014), American Craft (2012), and Metalsmith (2014).