Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

Summer Edition — July 21 – 24     |     Fall Edition — October 20 – 23

Thursday through Saturday, 10:00 to 6:00 pm + Sunday, 10:00 am to 5:00pm
US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood Street | Downtown Asheville, NC
General Admission, $8.00 and Children under 12 free

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In its 69th year, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands returns to downtown Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center for a production of innovation and beauty. Filling both the concourse and arena levels of the venue, craftspeople who are masters in their media will be exhibiting. The variety of craft that will be on display ranges from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry. After a curation process of two juries, over 150 makers from the Southern Highland Craft Guild will carry on the legacy of these Fairs.

Both July and October hold seasonal editions of the exposition as this extraordinary marketplace offers visitors a unique opportunity to connect with artisans adept in their craft. The Summer Edition is July 21 through 24, and Fall is October 20 through 23. Downtown Asheville provides a robust experience for visitors, as the growing spectacular is representative of the creativity that flows in Western North Carolina. The U.S. Cellular Center is a shift in landscape for this event as it was incepted under canvas tents in 1948 on grassy lawns of Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN.

In the industry of craft, the Guild celebrates the emergence and rise of artists as they master their skill and execution in a medium. Known for representing quality creatives from Maryland to Alabama, the following is a preview of new talent, that sustains and perpetuates the traditions of such artistic endeavors this July; Tina Curry of Knoxville, TN is a ceramicist incorporating memories of whimsy and humor into raku-fired sculptures, John Hollifield of Hayesville, NC wields bamboo into limited edition fly-rods with custom-engraved reel seats and ferrules, Erica Bailey of Asheville, NC is a metalsmith with architectural intention capturing natural elements in jewelry, Amy Brandenburg of Asheville, NC molds precious metal clays into one-of-a-kind adornments for modern heirlooms, and Mark Gardner of Saluda, NC turns trees into contemporary and functional wood forms with neoteric techniques.

The July show features ceramic arts in a dynamic variety with demonstrations from members, such as Larry Allen and his black stoneware pottery with sgraffito designs. Also in collaboration with educational components for the event will be daily features from both the Asheville Quilt Guild and WNC Fiber/Handweavers Guild. Calligraphy, corn shuck and cloth dolls will be on display in their full process at the Fair too.

As an avenue to provide a regional marketplaces for mountain craftspeople, the Fairs have since evolved to a popular epicenter of craft in the country. Alongside local residents is the expanding tourist population. In addition to retail, the Craft Fairs hosts demonstrations, supporting the Guild’s mission – to educate the public about the history of crafts in this region, various craft techniques, and an appreciation for fine crafts.

Collectors and gallery owners visit Asheville to experience and see the biannual shows in July and October, as they are a known destination for shopping and inspiration. Nearly 20,000 visitors to the Fairs each year invest in the regional and local economies while supporting craftsmen and women working in the Appalachian mountains.

Mountain musicians perform live on the arena stage starting Friday. Since the first Fair, the music of the area has been woven into the fabric of the Craft Fair experience. From old time to bluegrass, this tradition is kept alive today. Visit www.craftguild.org/craftfairsh for a complete list of performances.

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The Southern Highland Craft Guild is a non-profit, educational organization established in 1930 with headquarters at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Asheville, NC. The Guild region covers the mountain counties of nine southeastern states from Maryland to Alabama, representing over 900 craftspeople. The Craft Fairs are one of the ways in which the Guild fulfills its mission which is to bring together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. To learn more about Guild programs, visit www.craftguild.org.

 

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