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Funky bugs, butterflies and birdhouses at Cheese House

Article Published: Jun. 10, 2010 | Modified: Sep. 7, 2011
Funky bugs, butterflies and birdhouses at Cheese House

At the intersection of Stamey Branch Road and U.S. 221 at the southern end of Avery County, you will find two striking quilt squares on two vintage barns in a meadow. One is a traditional pattern and the other an original design. Their vivid colors in unusual combinations cause many to stop and take photos of them.

Their creator is Heidi Fisher, a transplanted Floridian who has called Avery home for a decade. Fisher has spent a life in art, but her earlier career in Florida was as a theater teacher at the Ringling School of Art and Design. Fisher is well known throughout the county for her quilt square designs.

"I appreciate the traditional patterns, but it is fun to do your own," Fisher said. "I couldn't do algebra, but I loved geometry."

Not all of Fisher's work is hanging on the side of a barn. Along with many commissioned works, she has pieces featured at Spear's BBQ and Grill in Linville Falls. Her repertoire includes painted furniture and other items.

Fanciful birdhouses set the whimsical tone of this show. The birdhouses are handmade by a 91-year-old craftsman from Tallahassee, Fla., and Fisher adds color and design in abundance. All of the pieces are weather resistant and use outdoor paint coated in polyurethane so that they can be used outdoors or in as desired.

"Funky Bugs, Butterflies and Birdhouses: Art for the Outside" is on display June 7-30 at the Cheese House Gallery.

A project of the Avery County Arts Council, the Cheese House Gallery is located at 630 Shawneehaw Ave. (N.C. 184) in Banner Elk. Gallery Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays by appointment. The gallery will be open on Saturday, June 26, as part of the Avery Tour de Art open house.

The Avery County Arts Council is a non-profit organization working to enrich the people of Avery County through meaningful arts and cultural experiences. For more than 30 years, the council has helped to support school arts programs and served as a resource for artists and the community. For more information, contact the Avery County Arts Council at (828) 898-4292 or (

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