Editor’s Note: This article incorporates news and photos from previous issues of the Ashe Post and Times (formerly the Ashe Mountain Times).
July 26, 2012
The current exhibition at the Ashe Arts Center gallery features a solo show by local contemporary folk artist Cher Shaffer.
Shaffer is a contemporary folk artist with subjects ranging from childhood images of rural life on the farm to imaginative settings filled with bright colors.
“We are delighted to have Cher’s artwork in the gallery,” said Jane Lonon, executive director of Ashe County Arts Council. “Your use of colour, form and imagery creates a warm, cheerful eclectic exhibition.”
Self-taught artist Cher Shaffer draws inspiration for her work from her life experiences and rich heritage. Born in Georgia in 1947 to an American mother and German father, she appreciated the outdoors as a child and remembers her youth with warmth and affection. She started painting 30 years ago, her creativity was sparked by the death of her mother. However, her artistic expression soon transcended paint and brush to encompass a variety of mediums; including stone sculptures, wood carvings and found object assemblages. Her creations are intensely personal, alternately reflecting both her joy in life and her fascination with and fear of death, darkness, and other horrors.
“Art expresses the true inner nature of humanity in all its endless diversity,” Shaffer said. “It reflects and chronicles the beliefs, fears, joys, customs and heritage of the individual, community and world. Shapes, lines and colors express what words cannot.”
“I’ve been an artist all my life. I was born in Georgia and raised on a farm,” Shaffer continued. “My people were people of the earth. My mother was Cherokee and Melungeon. My father was German and Cherokee. Their families were very different, but both had agricultural roots. I grew up loving all things natural. I was an observer and a collector of images and stories. All of this became part of my visual library.”
Shaffer’s work has been shown nationally and internationally and is in over 15 different museums and public collections. Her work is in the collections of celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Whoopie Goldberg, Rob Reiner, Henry Winkler, Jane Fonda and others. Shaffer has been featured in many publications, books and a documentary that was broadcast on the BBC.
In 1989, her work was featured in a book, O’Appalachia, written by Ramona and Millard Lampell. She has had three retrospective exhibitions and has been represented in numerous group exhibitions.
“My life and work have become one now,” Shaffer said. “With each painting or sculpture, I travel back and forth between memory and the present. The mountains and valleys of Ashe County have awakened primal chords in my soul, and I create from a place that nourishes my memories and my soul. Both whimsical and dark, I express my innermost feelings. I feel like I’ve come home to paradise, my paradise. My life has been a journey through and back to my paradise.”
July 24, 2014
When the Model T Ford Club International visited West Jefferson on July 14, it brought more than just beautiful Model Ts to Main Street, it also brought money and appetites.
“We really appreciate the hospitality we’ve been shown by everyone from the High Country,” said Steve Bumgarner, executive director of the Model T Club.
Bumgarner, this year’s tour host, said 247 Model Ts visited West Jefferson on Monday, July 14. Many of the tour members visited businesses in town and members also met for lunch in Shatley Springs.
Tour members were buzzing in and out of the restaurant from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to Shatley Springs office manager Tamee Terry. Terry said hundreds of Model Ts and others visited Shatley Springs.
“It was amazing; people would stop just to see their cars up close,” said Terry.
Averaging two people per car, Shatley Springs was catering to about 700 people on Monday. The club paid with a group payment.
Several West Jefferson business owners and employees also noted a modest business boom Monday.
Boddy Scarlett, owner of Scarlett Creek in West Jefferson, said a larger than average crowd visited his store on Monday. He reported a modest increase in sales during the tour.
“I think (events) like this bring in people who wouldn’t normally come to town,” Scarlett said. “The more events we have, the more publicity the city gets.”
Janet Day, co-owner of Good Ole Days and Candy Shack, also reported above-average sales during the Model T tour.
However, more traffic does not always mean higher sales. Carol Ruff, of local retailer Mo’s Boots, said the store saw many more visitors, but very few visitors actually made a purchase.
According to Bumgarner, the Model T Ford Club chooses a different tour destination each year. The High Country was the location for his 58th annual tour.
According to Bumgarner, next year’s tour will be held in Branson, Mo.
West Jefferson was just one of several stops on the High Country Tour, which began Sunday July 13th. The tour also visited Boone on July 13, Grandfather Mountain on July 15, Wilkes County on July 16, Linville on July 17, and Mystery Hill and Blowing Rock on July 18.
According to Bumgarner, the Model T Ford Club International has about 4,000 members worldwide.
During Monday’s stop in West Jefferson, the club’s first vice president, Ross Lilleker, took part in a brief interview with Skyline TV.
During the interview, Lilleker pointed out that the group’s membership is very diverse, with members from around the world taking part in the High Country Tour.
Lilleker said several visitors had traveled all the way from England and one tour member was from Holland.
July 28, 2016
The Forest Ridge Assisted Living team of employees and residents recently came together to show support for local law enforcement in Ashe County.
Residents and employees presented a variety of goodies to the West Jefferson Police Department, the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office and the Jefferson Police Department.
Included in the baskets were thank you cards created and signed by FRAL residents, hand sanitizer, beef jerky, chewing gum and more. The group attempted to select items for officers to use while on patrol.
“With all the madness and sadness in the world right now, our Forest Ridge family felt the need to do something to support our local police force,” said FRAL Administrator Cameron Keziah. “Our residents are still an active part of the Ashe County community and enjoy these service projects where they give gifts of appreciation.”
During the presentations, residents and staff were treated to a tour of the Ashe County Jail.
Without pausing, the FRAL team is now collecting school supplies to donate to the Yadkin Bank-sponsored Stuff the Bus school supplies campaign.
“Each year we try to collect school supplies for children in the area,” said Heather Samudio, director of community relations at FRAL. “Our staff and residents alike are having a blast shopping for supplies and delivering to Yadkin Bank. Throughout the year, students from area schools and churches make great efforts to visit Forest Ridge to perform and spend time with our residents. By doing our part in the school supplies drive, we have the opportunity to help those who made our day.”
Individuals wishing to donate to the supply drive may drop off items at Forest Ridge any weekday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. or at Yadkin Bank Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Donations will be accepted until Monday, August 15th.
The FRAL team will remain busy even after the completion of the school supplies campaign as they continue preparations for their annual Fall Festival.
This year’s festival will be held on Saturday, September 17 from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 151 Village Park Drive on Oakwood Road in West Jefferson. The festival features entertainment, a free barbecue lunch with all the trimmings, games, a bouncy castle, face painting and more.