The Big Crafty will return to Pack Square Park on Sunday, July 16, from 12–6 p.m.
Ten years ago, Brandy Bourne decided that Asheville needed a local version of the lively markets she had so enjoyed while living in Taiwan.
“When we started The Big Crafty, we tried to replicate that kind of joyful community market, where small-scale creative entrepreneurs are being supported, but people are also coming out for the fun of it and because they know friends and family will be there,” says Bourne.
She and her partner, Justin Rabuck, booked the Grey Eagle for the premiere Big Crafty. It was such a success that Asheville Art Museum contacted Bourne and offered to let her use their much larger space for future events.
“Our aim with the event is always to throw a great party that highlights the creative dynamism of buying handmade, so keeping it new and fresh every time is a priority,” she says. “We select returning vendors who we know will surprise and delight us and we try our best to make room for exciting, brand-new artists every time.”
The event will feature artists from Asheville and farther afield. Bourne and Rabuck encourage all artists to bring a range of differently priced products, so most vendors offer an item for every budget.
Jewelry artist and metalsmith Audrey Sawyer, who has been a vendor at almost every Big Crafty, says the event is both a professional and social engagement for many vendors.
“It gives me such a huge amount of exposure and the ability to connect with the community of Asheville,” she says. “To a local, The Big Crafty is like a huge reunion. Many of us have been on the craft show circuit together for years and might not see each other outside of the shows we do. There’s a celebratory atmosphere.”
Lydia See, multi-disciplinary artist and owner of Archetypographia Studio, has been attending the show as a shopper since the beginning. This summer will be her second time participating as a vendor.
“Brandy and Justin are pillars of the creative community in Asheville,” she says. “I’ve met so many enthusiastic creatives through the community that they have brought together and I know I’m just one of many people who appreciate them for this.”
Pack Square Park is at 80 Court Plaza in downtown Asheville. For more information, visit thebigcrafty.com.