SPRUCE PINE — Toe River Arts hosts an annual Blacksmith Exhibition in conjunction with the annual Fire on the Mountain Festival which takes place in April. Due to the pandemic the 2020 festival was canceled. Because of the cancellation Toe River Arts recognized the need to adapt and hosted a virtual exhibition of blacksmith work.
Elizabeth Brim was featured as the master blacksmith in both 2020 and 2021. Regrettably, the live festival event was canceled again this year, so Toe River Arts made the decision to try something new. This year, the Exhibition will be curated by Elizabeth Brim and take place Sept. 25 to Oct. 30. This is an exciting departure from Toe River Arts’ usual Blacksmith Exhibit, which is normally open to all blacksmiths. Toe River Arts will return to the original format in 2022.
The exhibition is titled “Here and There, Contemporary Sculptural Ironwork.” Invited artists include Warren Holzman of Philadelphia, Pa., Bill Price of Memphis, Tenn., Hoss Haley of Spruce Pine, Zack Noble of Asheville, Andrew Meers of Bakersville, Peter Braspenninx of Casnovia, Mich., John Winer of Mountain City, Tenn., Bill Brown of Linville Falls, Rachel David of Waynesville, Maegan Crowley of Dolores, Colo., Jim Cooper of Bakersville, Maria Cristalli of Cle Elum, Wash., Meghan Martin of Bakersville and Andrew Dohner of Bakersville.
The sculptors represented in this exhibition are some of those currently pushing the art and craft of fine ironwork to the next level of excellence. Elizabeth included local artists to bring attention to how many exceptional ironworkers there are forging sculpture in this region. She also invited artists from around the country who are producing remarkable work using the ancient techniques of forging. Toe River Arts is honored to host this diverse selection of talented artists that Elizabeth has brought together.
Elizabeth is an accomplished blacksmith and teacher who lives in western North Carolina. She is best known for feminine imagery in her ironwork. A native of Columbus, Ga., she graduated with an MFA in printmaking before studying and working with a variety of materials at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina. Quite unexpectedly, she fell in love with iron. With a unique juxtaposition of the feminine and the ferrous, Brim transforms the frilly dresses, fairy tales and gender expectations of her childhood into remarkable works of social commentary.
Spruce Pine Toe River Arts gallery hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday. For more information about Toe River Arts, click to toeriverarts.org or call (828) 765-0520.