Saturday, June 17, from 12–5 p.m., the centennial celebration of Biltmore Industries will take place at Grovewood Village. A special exhibition of fiber art by seven regional weavers, artist demonstrations, guided history tours, a cake cutting ceremony and a historical presentation by Bruce Johnson, the director of the National Arts and Crafts Conference at the Omni Grove Park Inn since 1988, will all take place at the Village.
It’s been one hundred years since Biltmore Industries found its new home adjacent to the Omni Grove Park Inn. Today, the six English-style cottages remain in use with artists’ galleries, similar to the woodcrafters and weavers that once made a living in the same location; Golden Fleece, a Mediterranean Greek eatery; and a car museum.
Edith Vanderbilt, the Biltmore’s first lady, was passionate about educating youth on the importance of quality craftsmanship. To expand growth and education among Biltmore Industries, she sold the company to Fred Seely, the visionary of the Omni Grove Park Inn, to “continue its educational features and develop the arts.”
Kathleen Doyle has been working in the Grovewood Village for 22 years with her husband, Tom Reardon, creating jewelry and metalwork for their company TRKD. They specialize in lost wax casting projects, an intricate metal molding technique that is about 6,000 years old. “The gift to this community is the historic reference,” says Doyle, “not just in general, but specifically to Asheville.”
Tours at Grovewood about the Biltmore Industries are available every Wednesday through Saturday at 1 p.m. This gives guests an opportunity to see the original equipment Biltmore Industries used to create wool work suitable for Helen Keller, John D. Rockefeller and several presidents. Open studios will be available every third weekend from June until December from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. allowing guests to see how resident artisans continue to utilize the Village to perfect their skills.
Since opening to local artists as a gallery and work place 25 years ago, the Grovewood Village has supported some 400 artisans and craftspeople from across the US who have contributed to Asheville’s thriving art community. “This was a world-famous weaving industry,” says Doyle. “We are continuing that. We are fine artists.”
With 11 acres of working artist studios, a sculpture garden, Golden Fleece restaurant and Asheville’s only antique car museum, Grovewood Village is a window into Asheville’s past, and a key to this city’s current success.
Grovewood Village is located at 111 Grovewood Road, adjacent to and below the Omni Grove Park Inn in Asheville. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free parking is available onsite. To learn more, visit grovewood.com or call 828.253.7651.