NORMAN ABERLE received a BFA from Pratt Institute in painting and printmaking and has applied that training in many ways. Graphic design and illustration, book design, exhibiting, and working in galleries eventually lead to a position as curator of a group of museums in Key West, Florida. Creating murals, exhibit design and installation focused on the interpretation of local art and history became a passion for Norman. Relatively new to the Alleghany Highlands, he is intrigued by the regional identity and individual aspirations of its people. “The arts are among the ways we share our sense of what is important to us. Regional traditions give a sense of place and the arts provide a set of skills to share our experiences.”CHUCK ALMAREZ
Chuck is a graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA and has worked in commercial and industrial photography, product marketing, and advertising since 1980.
For 15 years he has specialized in event photography in southwest Virginia through his company Kid Pix Photography. Since 2003 he has taught digital imaging at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge and also conducts seminars and one-on-one training in photography and PhotoShop techniques.
Chuck is a member of Virginia Professional Photographers Association (VPPA), the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP), and the Rockbridge Camera Club, and is an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) in Photoshop.
GEORGE AYARS began working in stained glass in 1974 and has been teaching it for over 30 years. He teaches many forms of glass art including traditional foil and lead came construction, fusing, lampshades, beadwork and glass mosaics. He teaches many practical applications of glass work, including design, marketing, repair and installation. As a guest instructor he has travelled across the US, and written for various glass art publications. He enjoyed his own full-time studio in Burlington, North Carolina, for six years before returning to Michigan to manage a major art glass supplier and oversee its educational programs. He now lives in Covington, Virginia, with his wife Robin, where they grow sustainable produce and raise alpacas.
JULIE M. BENNETT, a new resident of Clifton Forge, arrived in the United States 12 years ago as a professional translator of languages in New York City, with an avocation in the art of knitting. Born and raised in Soviet-era Russia, Julie began knitting at the age of 11 out of necessity due to shortages in the Soviet Union to provide clothing for her and her family in the industrial city of Chelyabinsk, near Siberia. She oftentimes performs the rare art of recycling yarns from clothing in order to have quality fibers for her projects. She has a clientele throughout the eastern United States making clothing on a custom- order basis. “I’m trying to take the stress out of the knitting process by not relying on reading patterns, ” Bennett says, and adds, “various techniques will be offered to achieve this.”