Fresher temperatures feel like fresh opportunity, right? Many of this month’s significant annual arts events have been cancelled or moved online. Silver lining: There’s no time like now to snuggle up to a new creative endeavor.
It’s going to be a long winter. By the time January drops, you might want to be ready to cut hide for clothing, chop root vegetables for sustenance, take up whittling, or at least have a righteous piece of handcraft to hang on your wall, one that proudly announces: I forged this myself. “Basic Knifemaking with Billy Salyers” happens at Tryon Arts & Crafts School on Oct. 3 & 4 and again on Nov. 7 & 8, tryonartsandcrafts.org.
Or do like Nat Dickinson, an accomplished landscape painter who turned away from familiar horizons to begin making oversized papier-mâché sculpture with a palpable (and in some cases almost edible) sense of whimsy.
“I was struggling with my enthusiasm for painting landscapes since before the winter,” Dickinson revealed in an e-mail to Asheville Made. “When the stay-at-home order came, we shut down Riverside Studios, [and] that triggered a change of routine. Looking around the house, I was faced with the same problem shared by many of us — a basement full of cardboard boxes from online shopping, old newspapers, and part gallons of wall paint. I started cutting the cardboard up into shapes, cooking up some wheat paste, and using newspapers for papier-mâché to build them out.”
At first, Dickinson made barnyard animals, with the idea of loaning them to friends who were launching a cidery. As spring turned into summer, his repertoire grew. “The materials are mostly free,” he points out, “and I can always cut up and rework almost any part.”
The pictured hot dog, which is nearly three feet long, was an homage to summer whose appeal will likely last post-season. “I liked the absurdity of making it huge,” says Dickinson. “I wanted to do something fun.”
Follow the progression of Nat Dickinson’s papier-mâché works on the artist’s Instagram account: @nat.dickinson.art