Buncombe County native Valerie Berlage comes from a family of makers. “My grandfather has always worked with wood, my two grandmothers taught me about color and traditional Southern handicrafts, and my mom is a sewist,” she tells Asheville Made. And so, it was no surprise when Berlage enrolled in the Professional Crafts Program at Haywood Community College and dove headfirst into the world of wood. Today, she creates intricately carved wall sculptures that showcase the texture of oak, pine, maple, and any other species she finds in her scrap bucket. “One of the things I love about wood is that it’s really tactile, and it lends itself to being easily manipulated,” she says. “Whether it’s leaving bandsaw marks, dimpling the surface with a ball peen hammer, gouging it out on the spindle sander to create ridges, brushing the grain with a wire brush, or sanding it smooth, texture is a main element of my design.” You can see Berlage’s work in the Focus Gallery at the Folk Art Center as part of Creating Textures. Open until Monday, Feb. 19, the group exhibition “highlight[s] the variety of surfaces” found in the art world, says curator Nikki Josheff. Other represented mediums include metal, clay, leather, and fiber.
Creating Textures: Open through Monday, Feb. 19
Folk Art Center / Milepost 382, Blue Ridge Parkway