The Village Potters

The Village Potters

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, NC.

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.

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.

If You Go: Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands at the US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood St. in downtown Asheville, July 18-21. Hours: 10-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 10-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: Adults $8, children under 12 free. Group discounts available. For more information call (828) 298-7928 or visit www.craftguild.org.

Demonstrations & Entertainment

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. There are also scheduled demonstrations to enhance the experience.

Scheduled Demonstrations

Sam Johnson – Bamboo Fly Rods. Sam Johnson of Dahlonega, GA, will lead Fair visitors through the process of creating bamboo fly rods.

John Richards – Mixed Media Assemblage. From his vast supply of bottle caps, can lids, spark plugs, wood scraps, plastic toys, clay shards, used brushes and other found objects, John Richards of Burnsville, NC, will demonstrate his process of creating mixed media sculpture.

Elaine Olinger – Fiber Demonstrations. Elaine Olinger of Rogersville, TN, will demonstrate dyeing yarns and fabric using natural dyes and resist techniques. She will also be spinning wool and fiber blends with the spinning wheel.

Arts for Life – Children’s Activities. A nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children and young adults facing serious illnesses. They’ll provide hands-on craft activites for kids and adults.

Entertainment Schedule

Friday, July 19

11 a.m. – Chompin at the Bit String Band. A group of spirited young pickers continuing the strong music traditions of Brasstown, NC.

1 p.m. – 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.

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

Saturday, July 20

11 a.m. – Southern Crescent Bluegrass. Asheville area musicians, led by Tommy Thompson, specializing in traditional bluegrass standards.

1 p.m. – 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.

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

Hot Duck SoupSunday, July 21

11 a.m. – 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.

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

3 p.m. – Whitetop Mountaineers. Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham perform the beautiful and unique sounds of traditional Southwest Virginia oldtime music.

If You Go: Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands at the US Cellular Center, 87 Haywood St. in downtown Asheville, July 18-21. Hours: 10-6 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 10-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission: Adults $8, children under 12 free. Group discounts available. For more information call (828) 298-7928 or visit www.craftguild.org.

Visit www.craftguild.org for a complete list of scheduled craft demonstrations
and performances.