A Chicago graphic designer reinvents herself as a fiber artist.
by Ursula Gullow
In the world of textiles, there are those who produce the cloth—weavers—and those who ornament it—the surface designers. Barbara Zaretsky, 54, belongs squarely to the latter group, combining her affinity for simple geometrics with an old-school Japanese dying technique known as shibori. “How I get from a white piece of fabric to a dress by applying color, pattern, sewing and embellishment is what’s most important to me,” Zaretsky says.
Twelve years ago, Zaretsky decided to take a leap. She had been working as a graphic designer in Chicago, and, like many creative types, the hills of Western North Carolina beckoned her. She packed up her things, hopped into her Honda Civic, waved goodbye to her parents and drove to Asheville. “I decided, it’s now or never,” Zaretsky recalls. “I just needed to change energy and take myself to a new dream.”
The rise, fall and transformation of Biltmore Industries has involved some of Asheville’s most prominent families—and fascinating personalities.
by Jess McCuan • portraits by Matt Rose
The New York Times didn’t quite get it right.
In a story from 1958 with this terrific headline, “Giant Oak Loom in Store Spins a Fashionable Yarn,” the paper did get many details right. Harry Blomberg, a famous Ashevillean who owned Western North Carolina’s first Cadillac dealership and was then owner of Biltmore Industries, had in fact sent a giant loom up to New York City.
It sat in the Saks Fifth Avenue men’s department for months as a publicity stunt. “[The loom] is causing such a stir that the allure of topcoats, sports jackets and cigars has been temporarily supplanted,” a Times writer puffed. “Saks has a wide variety of Biltmore woolens on hand and will make suits, skirts and sports jackets to measure in this fabric.” Indeed, a handful of American presidents, first ladies and other celebrities had had suits made out of Biltmore Industries fabric. Many more, like Richard Nixon, would do so in the years to come.
We convinced Mission Hospital’s busy president and COO to step out in a summer party dress.
by Mick Kelly
photo by Matt Rose
“Glamorous” is simply not how Jill Hoggard Green would describe herself. To watch her work, you might say “earnest” or “no-nonsense,” but glamour tends to go by the wayside when you start your 12-hour days at dawn and oversee some 5,500 hospital employees.
And Hoggard Green, whose title is president and COO of Mission Hospital, is also relatively new.
interview by Jess McCuan
photo by Matt Rose
Name: Frances Tacy
Lives in: North Asheville
Occupation: respiratory sales rep for GlaxoSmithKline
Do you always look this fabulous for work? During my workday, I do. I always try to look nice. I even dressed my son’s friends with the clothes I had in my car! It’s the ‘dress for success’ model.
And where is your office? I work out of my car.
Gotcha. That’s why you have great clothes stashed in there. Yes. My customers call me the ‘hippie in high heels.’ I put on a suit, but inside, I’m a raging hippie.
How so? I have a forestry degree. I have chickens and a garden, and at home, we brew beer.
That’ll do it. Once my customers get to know me, they’re like—you are not who you appear to be.
Tell me more about your job. I sell the drugs that help people breathe better, and that prevent respiratory infections. The other reason I’m a walking contradiction is that I don’t use any pharmaceuticals myself.
Does anybody in your family? We’re all pretty healthy. I have a teenager. He’s a triathlete welder artist. He’s the coolest. We’re all about family, food, beer and bikes.
interview by Jess McCuan
photo by Zaire Kacz
Name: Cynthia Lindeman
Occupation: writer-at-large, English instructor, belly dancer and owner of Devika Vintage, an online clothing shop
Lives in: West Asheville
What do you save for a rainy day? Folding clothes. I don’t like dealing with the care and maintenance of clothes.
But you run a clothing company! I know. I just like picking them out and wearing them. There was a big pile of clothes on my floor before I left today.
Do you associate clothing with certain events or memories? I do. I remember my life through my outfits. I think people reveal and conceal a lot about themselves through clothes.
How so? When Marie Antoinette appeared before the French people, she used her clothing to make cultural and political statements. I’m reading this great book, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. She really symbolizes the decadence of fashion.
Do you use your own clothes in this way? I send messages, I suppose, but they’re mostly personal. Few people would understand them. I do wear my grandmother’s ring every day, and I’ll wear it even when I get married. She’s the reason I’m into vintage. I’m never taking it off.