Local art, furniture at Art Trek Tryon

Published 3:04 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2010

What do area residents Derek Hennigar, Andy Costine, Brian Fireman, Joe Cooper and Bill Crowell all have in common?&bsp; They are artists who create what Cooper calls, functional art,&bsp; practical art you can use: furniture, tables, chairs, clocks, bed boards, rockers and more. They are all participating in this years Art Trek Tryon, presented by the Upstairs Artspace. Their studios will open to Trekkers free of charge on Saturday, July 24 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, July 25 from 12 to 5 p.m. Each of these artists creates unique work of heirloom quality.

Andy Costine creates wood art that is practical. Costine blends different varieties of woods and ideas so that the result is a juxtaposition of both the rugged wood in its natural state, and precisely cut pieces, inset or inlaid into that ruggedness. (Al Gore commissioned and has three Costine tables.)

Bill Crowell, famously of Saluda Forge, creates metal work:&bsp; tables, chairs, fireplace screens, headboards for beds, stair railings, trellises, and, if you drive around the area and happen upon a crafted gate, it is likely Bill Crowells craftsmanship. (Personal favorite: gate with heron — Pacolet Valley.)

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Brian Fireman is a furniture designer specializing in handcrafted contemporary furniture. Fireman uses the woods individual qualities color, texture, grain direction to influence the final form of his pieces. His work may be furniture, but it is also stand-alone art. Sculpture you can use. Firemans work is a confluence of contemporary art and structural design.

Joe Cooper works chiefly in bronze and copper. He calls his creations functional art and designs and produces lighting, lanterns, sconces, cupolas, door panels, but primarily custom lighting. Interior designers, decorators and architects especially appreciate Coopers work

Derek Hennigars line of furniture is called Ordinary Furniture. Hennigar designs an entire series of chairs and rockers, and also what he calls kybos, wood boxes twistedly stacked on top of one another which appear to defy gravity.

An exhibit of work by participating artists opens with a preview party at the Upstairs Artspace in Tryon on Friday, July 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will continue through August 21.

A brochure with a map and driving directions is available from sponsoring area businesses, the Upstairs website, upstairsartspace.org or by calling the Upstairs at 828-859-2828.