Feature Articles

July 2013

The 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands in Asheville, NC, Takes Place July 18 - 21, 2013

The 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands takes place at the US Cellular Center in downtown Asheville, NC, from July 18 - 21, 2013. Hours are 10am-6pm, Thur. – Sat., and 10am-5pm, Sunday. Admission for adults is $8, children under 12 are free. Group discounts are available.

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 July and 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 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 the 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. 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, or seeing Sam Johnson make bamboo fly rods, or Betsy Morrill’s innovative deconstructed screen-printing on fabric. Visit (www.craftguild.org) for a complete list of scheduled craft demonstrations.

Beginning on Friday during each Craft Fair, mountain musicians perform live on the arena stage. Since the first fair in Gatlinburg 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 July 19-21 Entertainment Schedule:

Friday, July 19, 11am – Chompin at the Bit String Band. A group of spirited young pickers continuing the strong music traditions of Brasstown, NC; at 1pm – Carol Rifkin and Paul’s Creek. Paul’s 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; and at 3pm – Timberline Smooth folk harmonies characterize this band featuring guitarist Gene Holdway, a travelling bluegrass troubadour with 30 years experience.

Saturday, July 20, 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; and at 3pm – Moore Brothers Band. Led by a duo of young brothers from Hickory, NC, this band plays bluegrass and gospel.

Sunday, July 21, at 11am – 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 1pm – Buncombe Turnpike. Featuring songwriter, playwright and longtime bandleader Tom Godleski, Buncombe Turnpike boasts original songs and the banjo picking of teenage sensation Seth Rhinehart; and at 3pm – Whitetop Mountaineers. Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham perform the beautiful and unique sounds of traditional Southwest Virginia oldtime music.

“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,” said Jan Davidson, Director, John C. Campbell Folk School.

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.

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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