Feature Articles

October 2013

The 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands Takes Place in Asheville, NC - Oct. 17 - 20, 2013

Join us for the 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands at the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville, NC, Oct. 17 – 20, 2013. The event takes place Thur.-Sat., 10am-6pm and Sun., 10am-5pm.

Nearly 200 juried artists of the Southern Highland Craft Guild will be selling works of clay, metal, wood, jewelry, fiber, paper, natural materials, leather and mixed media. With styles ranging from traditional to contemporary, the Fairs showcase the rich talent, diversity and craft mastery of Guild members.

The Craft Fairs have a proud tradition and history of excellence by representing the Southern Highland Craft Guild, a non-profit organization formed in 1930. The Fairs began in 1948 as a way to provide a regional market for the mountain craftspeople. Since that time, the Craft Fairs have set the standard for fine craft shows across the country. Each year in October craft collectors and gallery owners from across the country come to Asheville to see the show. They are joined by western North Carolina residents and tourists to the area who appreciate the quality and history of the show, knowing it is an ideal destination for shopping and inspiration. Nearly 20,000 visitors to the Fairs each year invest in regional and local economies while supporting artists working in the Appalachian mountains, and by spending a summer or fall weekend in beautiful Asheville.

In addition to providing a retail market for juried members, the Guild also hosts craft demonstrations during the Fairs. A strong part of the Guild’s mission is to educate the public about the history of crafts in this region, various craft techniques, and an appreciation for fine crafts. This October visitors have the opportunity to see artists using traditional methods of handmade craft like George McCollum weaving a white oak basket, beginning with splints he has harvested from the tree, Betsy Morrill’s innovative deconstructed screen-printing on fabric, and Michael Lalone at the potters wheel. Outside the US Cellular Center visitors will be greeted by natural dyeing and blacksmithing demonstrations.

Craft demonstrations are a highlight at the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands. Watching and interacting with highly skilled craftspeople as they create is entertaining and educational. Throughout the show, visitors will have the opportunity to observe works by over 200 members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and to learn about their inspiration and methods.

October Schedule of Demonstrations include:

Mike Lalone of Murphy, NC, will demonstrate techniques such as throwing, trimming and assembling clay in the ceramic process. He has been a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild since 2009.

George McCollum of Athens, TN, will demonstrate creation of a white oak basket from tree to completed basket, showing all stages from harvesting splints to weaving. He has been a member of the SHCG since 1986.

Betsy Morrill of Burnsville, NC, will demonstrate the surface design technique of layering various textures and colors through deconstructed screen-printing on fabric. She has been a member of the SHCG since 2007.

Dede Styles of Swannanoa, NC, will demonstrate spinning and the traditional craft of using natural plant dyes to color yarn outside the US Cellular Center. She has been a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild since 2000.

Guest craftsperson Lenny Moore will be outside the US Cellular Center at the forge greeting fair-goers while demonstrating the craft of using heat to transform metal into art.

Beginning on Friday during each Craft Fair, mountain musicians perform live on the arena stage. Since the first fair in Gatlinburg, TN, in 1948, 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.

The music schedule includes:

Friday, Oct. 18, at 11am – Sherri Lynn and Mountain Friends. This group plays high energy American swing-grass. This is a strong team that combines fine musicianship and pure joy, giving audiences a highly entertaining show.

At 1pm – Hot Duck Soup. Kazoos, slide whistles, banjos, guitars, ukes, an antique cornet, washtub bass, and the Cacophonium! Hot Duck Soup plays old tunes like you’ve never heard ‘em played.

At 3pm – Timberline Smooth folk harmonies characterize this band featuring guitarist Gene Holdway, a travelling bluegrass troubadour with 30 years experience.

Saturday, Oct. 19, at 11am – Southern Crescent Bluegrass. Asheville area musicians, led by Tommy Thompson, specializing in traditional bluegrass standards.

At 1pm – Split Rail. Split Rail provides a great continuity of sound that can only be achieved from years of playing together.  Strong vocal harmony is their trademark.

At 3pm – Moore Brothers Band. Led by a duo of young brothers from Hickory, NC, this band plays bluegrass and gospel.

Sunday, Oct. 20 at 11am – Whitetop Mountaineers. Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham perform the beautiful and unique sounds of traditional Southwest Virginia oldtime music.

At 1pm – Carol Rifkin and Paul’s Creek. Creek plays original and traditional mountain music, their fine harmonies blending in an old timey style heavily influenced by the elders of the region, family, friends and diverse interests.

At 3pm – Buncombe Turnpike. Featuring songwriter, playwright and longtime bandleader Tom Godleski, Buncombe Turnpike boasts original songs and the banjo picking of teenage sensation Seth Rhinehart.

Jan Davidson, Director, John C. Campbell Folk School stated, “Creating a world in which craft and other native talents can flourish – this is the Guild’s legacy. The craftspeople of Southern Appalachia are always aware of tradition and forever renewing themselves from the old sources of nature, family, spiritual life and the desire to share one’s gifts with others.”

The Southern Highland Craft Guild is a non-profit, educational organization established in 1930 to bring together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. The Craft Fairs are one of the ways in which the Guild fulfills its mission.

Admission for adults is $8, children under 12 are free, and group discounts are available.

For further information check our NC Institutional Gallery listings, call the Guild at 828/298-7928 or visit (www.craftguild.org).

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