With more than 130 industrious artists, crafters and instrument makers now creating on the Right Bank of the French Broad River, there are more studios than ever. I visited six of the eleven buildings in one day. It appeared to be a record turnout of potential art patrons, their children (including some really young children) and more dogs that I recall seeing at previous strolls. These take place twice a year, on the second weekends in June and November. My goal at this year’s November Stroll was to meet some recent arrivals and to revel in the company of people who prize creativity.
Alwin Wagener creates decorative and functional hand-forged iron works in his Wagener Forge studio in the Wedge. A member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, he has taught at Warren Wilson College and the John C. Campbell Folk School.
A winner of many competitions during the years he taught art in California, Bernie Segal retired to Fairview. He now has a sculpture studio in the Riverview Station.
Una Barrett is a talented young jewelry maker who graduated from the highly regarded craft program at Haywood County Community College. Barrett was in Riverview Station when I last saw her work, but has now relocated her Relics of a New Age workplace to the Phil Mechanic Studio.
Sally Sweetland is a painter and art teacher who has settled here, with studio space in the Riverview Station and a teaching affiliation with Fleta Monaghan in that building.
“Strings Attached” is the title given by Madison J. Cripps to his marionette business, which has been in the River Arts District less than three months. Cripps sells handcrafted puppets and provides puppet performances.
David Kabler and Mitch Rumbelt operate Eyesore Video in the Wedge. This guerilla filmmaker specializes in underground music cinema, and films almost exclusively in Asheville.
Acme Industrial Thinking was formerly in the Wilkie Arcade, but has gratefully moved into the Wedge. They revel in creative projects, and proudly displayed the props that they created for films by Eyesore.
I watched two of Robin Rector Krupp’s hourly demonstrations in her studio in the Warehouse Studio Building. Krupp formerly illustrated (and wrote) children’s books but now concentrates on painting full sheet watercolors of “Wild! Animals.” A natural teacher, she adjusted each demonstration to be appropriate to the audience. An adult audience heard about how to paint the wild animals. who seldom hold a pose. Krupp works from thousands of photographs that she takes in the wild and at zoological parks. She will be a visiting artist during summer 2010 at the Western North Carolina Nature Center. A later audience had several young children, so the artist concentrated on describing how a children's picture book evolves from original watercolor illustrations through a long process of creation and editing.
Mary Charles Griffin, Barbara Fisher and Laurie McCarriar got a quick wave of my hand at the Warehouse. Each of these artists deserve full coverage, as do Constance Williams, Barbara C.L. Perez and so many other talented River District Artists that I dropped in on but have not yet written about. I will never run out of interesting artists and crafters so long as I hang out in the River Arts District. The next stroll will be June 12-13, but many artists accept visitors on Fridays, Saturdays or by appointment.