Asheville, NC – In its 72nd year, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands returns to downtown Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center. Filling both the concourse and arena levels of the venue, makers exhibit a variety of craft ranging from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry.

The fair runs July 18 – 21and open 10:00 to 6:00pm Thursday through Saturday, and 10:00 to 5:00pm on Sunday. General admission is $8.00 and children under 12 are free.

This year’s featured maker is potter Zan Barnes from Dillsboro, NC. Growing up in her parents pottery studio in the mountains of North Carolina, ceramics has been a tactile interaction all of her life. She finished her Masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at the University of North Texas May 2014 and currently makes pots at Riverwood Pottery.

“Every dish that passed through my hands as a child was made by my father. Pottery was never the untouched piece on the top shelf of the china cabinet; it was the much loved mug that you dig for every morning because somehow the coffee just tastes better out of that one. I want my work to have that same immediacy of being handled or interacted with every day of someone’s life. When I love a piece of pottery, my first instinct is to pick it up, touch it, feel it, see how it fits in my hand, talk to it on the most intimate level, skin to skin. I can wish for nothing more than for my work to invite that same easy interaction.

Zan’s work showcases a firing technique called soda firing. During the firing she dissolves soda ash into water and spray it into the kiln. The soda boils away into vapor and reacts with the silica in the clay to make a glaze on the surface of the pots. Because the soda vapor is carried through the kiln on the flame no two pieces ever look exactly the same. The dynamic flashing on the surface and iconic orange peel texture are all a product of the soda.

We have a stellar line-up of musicians throughout the Fairs that will be playing on the stage on the Arena floor. Be sure to sit for a spell to listen to the mountain music.

For more information about the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, visit:

Photo: Pottery Piece by Zan Barnes, the 72nd Annual featured maker.