“Every Simple Thing”: Revisiting Craft through the Lens of William A. Barnhill
In January 2016, the Liston B. Ramsey Center for Regional Studies at Mars Hill University presented Appalachia a Century Ago, an exhibition exploring early 20th century craftspeople in Western North Carolina through the photography of William A. Barnhill. From 1914 through 1917, Barnhill explored rural communities around Asheville, collecting images of people spinning, weaving, whittling, and making “every simple thing” for everyday use.
To this day, artists in this region continue to make many of the same functional wares that Barnhill observed in his photography. However, just as the way of life in this region has changed greatly over the past century, so too have crafts and crafting. Now, we will once again revisit Barnhill’s collection, but this time with an eye towards “the rugged individuality of the craftsman.” In this second showing of Appalachia a Century Ago, photographs from the William A. Barnhill Collection will stand alongside a selection of modern art and crafts, highlighting the play between simple functionality and decorative art that stands at the heart of Appalachian handicrafts.
This exhibition will open to the public with a drop-in reception on January 26th, from 5-7 PM
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