Asheville, NC – Entering its seventh decade this July, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands offers the public the opportunity to cultivate craft in their daily life. Presented by Asheville Color and Imaging and Asheville Citizen-Times, this fine craft event will return to the U.S. Cellular Center. Doors open at the downtown Asheville venue on Friday, July 21 at 10:00am and will last until Sunday, July 23 at 5:00pm. Transitioning to a three-day show, the Fair is bringing new, dynamic elements that celebrate the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s creative community.
Design vignettes will demonstrate how one can utilize craft in both form and function for the home, and are made possible by local interior designers, architects and builders. Combining the talents of Guild makers with spacial creatives allows for building a stronger trade community. Collaborating sponsors include Alchemy Design Studio, ID.ology Interiors & Design, Rusticks, Platt Architecture, P.A., Samsel Architects, and Living Stone Design + Build. At 11:30am on Friday, visitors have the opportunity to hear more about the design process from the collaborators themselves.
Additionally, there will be more craft demonstrations with interactive activities for visitors. Through Asheville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau the Buncombe County Festival and Cultural Event Support Fund this summer edition has more than ten makers showing their skills and techniques. Local Cloth will be offering hands-on fiber experiences in silk painting and shibori dyeing, as well as spinning and weaving. Several other educational demonstrators include Brandy Clements of Silver River Chair Caning Center, mixed media artist John Richards, WNC Fiber/Handweavers Guild, Asheville Quilt Guild, and dyer Dede Styles.
The Fair will feature nearly 150 makers with both contemporary and traditional work in clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry. The members will fill both floors of the U.S. Cellular Center on its upstairs concourse and downstairs arena level. All exhibitors have undergone a two-step jury process as a part of the Guild’s legacy to uphold a set of standards established by their creative peers.
Each day provides various experiences in addition to shopping. At 1:00pm Local Cloth will also be putting on a mini fashion show, “15 Minutes of Fashion,” in which models will be adorned with exhibitor’s handmade garments and jewelry. Mountain musicians, from old time to bluegrass, perform live on the arena stage daily. Since the first fair, the music of the area has been woven into the fabric of the Craft Fair experience.
The U.S. Cellular Center was a shift in landscape for this event as it first took place under canvas tents in 1948 on the grassy lawns of Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, TN. Downtown Asheville provides a robust experience for visitors, as the time honored gathering is representative of the creativity that flows in Western North Carolina. As a venue to provide a regional marketplace for mountain craftspeople, the Guild Fairs have since evolved into a popular celebration of craft in the country.
The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is made possible from the additional following sponsors: The Laurel of Asheville, Our State Magazine, Smoky Mountain Living, WLOS News 13 and WNC Magazine.
Cultivating the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing, and conservation.
The Southern Highland Craft Guild, chartered in 1930, is today one of the strongest craft organizations in the country. The Guild currently represents nearly 900 craftspeople in 293 counties of 9 southeastern states. During the Depression the Guild cultivated commerce for craftspeople in the Appalachian region. This legacy continues today as the Guild plays a large role in the Southern Highlands craft economy through the operation of four craft shops and two annual craft expositions. Educational programming is another fundamental element of the organization, fulfilled through integrated educational craft demonstrations at retail outlets and expos, free educational community events, and an extensive public library located at its headquarters at the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Location: U.S. Cellular Center in Downtown Asheville, NC
Dates: July 21 – 23, 2017
Hours: Friday through Saturday, 10-6pm and Sunday, 10-5pm; Admission: General ($8.00), Weekend Pass($12.00), Children Under 12 (Free). Exhibitor Lists at
More info: 828.298.7928
The Arena floor at last fall’s Craft Fair
Art by Marty McConnaughey