Collection: Sharron B. Parker

When I was growing up in Florida, I loved coming to the North Carolina mountains for a week or two of summer camp; it was cooler, had rugged but lovely scenery, and some great old stone buildings. So I chose to come to NC for college, where I studied art, education, and interior design. After college, I took regular jobs — teaching, working in a shop — just doing art in my spare time. But a weekend in the mountains took me to Penland School of Crafts, where there was one space left in a two-month-long weaving class. It seemed like fate, since I was between jobs, having just moved to Raleigh.
Spending that time with the artists/craftsmen at Penland made us want to be a fiber artist full time. But I knew the reality was that I could not expect fiber art to offer much in the way of income; my husband and I would have to live a simple lifestyle, and I would need to work hard just to pay the expenses of a studio. So began my career as an artist.
I knew I wanted to work with textiles, and at first, I wove pillows, scarves, etc. which I knew I could sell in galleries and craft fairs. But I also took part-time jobs, for added income. Then in 1980, I saw handmade felt — the oldest textile technique, dating to the Stone Age — for the first time. Almost nobody was working in that medium, but I decided it was what I wanted to do. And it is what I have done now, for more than 40 years.
Now that I am much older, I can tell you that following my heart, in doing something a little weird and crazy, has a happy ending. In a couple of months, I will have a show of my handmade felt wall pieces and teach a workshop, in an old textile mill in a medieval village in France.
I will get to see lots more old stone buildings, cave paintings (which go with my Neolithic textile technique), and travel through areas as beautiful as the NC mountains.
Member Since 1983
Durham, NC