Blog » Highlights from the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
Last week I attended the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands in downtown Asheville. If the words "craft fair" makes you think of popsicle stick art and sock monkeys, you should know this is not THAT craft fair. The Southern Highlands Craft Guild, who sponsors the fair, is a non-profit and educational association dedicated to promoting and sustaining mountain craft. Member artisans are admitted by jury selection, and represent some of the finest in their respective fields. From jewelry to textiles, woodworking to pottery, this fair is the place to see the very best of southern Appalachian craft. In addition to the opportunity to meet the artists in person, attendees could also watch craft demonstrations and enjoy live local music throughout the event.
I'm excited to share some of my favorite finds from the craft fair. As an interior designer, my focus was definitely geared more towards furniture and home furnishings, and that's mainly what you'll see in my post. But there was also gorgeous jewelry, woven apparel and hand-dyed silks, take my word for it! Better yet, see for yourself when the fair returns to Asheville October 18th-21st. Here are the artists' works that caught my eye:
It takes Berea, Kentucky-based basketweaver Jennifer Zurick countless hours to weave a basket as finely detailed as this. Each piece is a wonder, crafted from willow bark Jennifer harvests herself. See more of her work at www.jenniferhellerzurick.com.
This coffee table by Andy Costine of Tryon, NC gets its fantastic coloration from a mayonnaise stain applied to burled wood, which in time creates the blackened areas. A blue-colored resin fills in the gaps in the wood, to spectacular effect.
Robert Taylor from Birmingham, Alabama, is a master artisan in the Roycroft tradition. Fair visitors were able to observe him at his blacksmith bench, creating an etched copper vase. The Arts and Crafts style copper clock shown here is wonderful example of Robert's work.
This terra cotta sculpted "Nature Vase" is by the collaborative studio of Ed Byers and Holden McCurry of Asheville. This is probably the piece I most wanted to take home with me! See more of the artists' work at www.edbyers.com.
Furniture maker Tim Hintz of Smithville, TN, creates comfortable, rustic style oak chairs in an array of fun colors. How cool is this spring green armchair? See more at www.timhintzfreshchairs.com.
This modern stainless steel tea set by Paul Weller was inspired by the streamlined style of the art deco era. Originally from Melbourne, Australia, Paul now lives and works as a silversmith in Asheville. Visit his website, www.aeropablodesigns.com for more information.
"People sometimes mistake our furniture for antiques," said cabinet maker Rob Scaffe of Kingsport, Tennessee. Rob enjoys using traditional details, such as dovetail joints and turned legs, in his work. His armoires, chests and tables are so finely crafted they are sure to become family heirlooms.
I had a hard time deciding which one of Jim and Shirl Parmentier's ceramic lamps I liked best. The clay surface is carved in elaborate designs prior to glazing, giving each piece wonderful texture and pattern. Jim and Shirl have been making pottery together for 35 years, and are based in Mars Hill, NC.
This supremely comfortable rocker is the work of Readyville, Tennessee-based furniture maker Alan Daigre. All of the wood blocks are ingeniously strung together by a hidden rope, flexing and conforming to your shape as you sit and move in the chair. See more of Alan's work at www.alandaigre.com.
To learn more about the Southern Highlands Craft Guild, and to see and purchase work from guild artisans, visit the Folk Art Center at 362 Blue Ridge Parkway near Asheville. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is held twice a year at the US Cellular Center in Asheville, and the next show will be October 18th-21st.