The Moss Arts Center presents Virginia fiber/jewelry artist Franchell Mack Brown live from her home in Richmond on Friday, Nov. 13, at noon to discuss the evolution of her work and the impact of current events on her creative direction.

During this 45-minute free Zoom session, Brown participates in a moderated discussion with Margaret Lawrence, Moss Arts Center director of programming, in the latest installment of the center’s online series, “In the Moment: Artists and Their Work.”

This online talk is free, but registration is required. Find registration information on the Moss Arts Center website.

Brown devises extraordinary creations from crocheted ribbons, industrial ropes, and semiprecious beads. Boundlessly crossing borders, her art is informed by her education in fashion, fine art, goldsmithing, and even welding, which she learned at New River Community College during formative years living in Pulaski. 

A detailed view of work "Sunshine Meditation" shows its crocheted ribbons, ropes, cords, freshwater pearls, and dyed jade on PVC.
A detailed view of "Sunshine Meditation," a 42 x 22 inches work of crocheted ribbons, ropes, cords, freshwater pearls, and dyed jade on PVC by Franchell Mack Brown. Image courtesy of the artist.

With background as a jewelry designer, she features gemstones, particularly freshwater pearls, in much of her work. The pearl embodies individuality, each a unique speck emerging from metamorphosis as an exquisite gem and a metaphor for the development and full expression of self. 

Brown attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and the University of the District of Columbia, where she had invaluable apprenticeships in costuming and metalsmithing. She then spent time in cities including Chicago, Brooklyn, Atlanta, Wilmington, and Tokyo, where she shaped the vision of her art, found inspiration, and honed her craft.

After marrying, moving to Southwest Virginia, and giving birth to her children, Brown experienced an unrelenting impulse to create. A series of two-dimensional fiber works integrating jewelry elements led to solo and group exhibitions, awards, and collaborations. Over time, her concepts expanded and her work increased in scale and dimension. Her expanding freestanding sculptures needed metal armatures, so she enrolled in New River Community College’s welding program and spent her after-work hours in the campus weld lab sharpening her skills. 

Today Brown lives with her son and daughter in Richmond, reinvigorated and committed to expanding her art practice.

“In the Moment: Artists and Their Work” provides an opportunity to meet notable creators of Southwest Virginia — from visual artists to theater-makers to choreographers — and learn more about their creative processes in this unusual time. This series of 45-minute chats gives an exclusive look inside the homes and studios of the artists — providing a chance to experience their work, ask questions, and discuss how creative luminaries are approaching art in this moment.