Visual Arts

Purple Crayon: Asheville’s First Communal ‘She Shed’

Pam Robbins with her handmade quilt

On Saturday, October 14, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Purple Crayon will host its grand opening. Founder Pam Robbins calls this membership-based business the city’s first communal “she shed,” a term she first heard from her husband. “A ‘she shed,’” says Robbins, “is the equivalent of a ‘man cave.’ It’s a place where women can escape from their day-to-day stresses.” Located just outside the River Arts District, Purple Crayon will contain 25 customized “creation stations,” a lounge and a small kitchen.

The space is meant to allow women the opportunity to work on their art and experience fellowship with other women in the community. “Most women, including myself, have a really hard time giving themselves permission to play,” says Robbins. “My hope is that, if women see other women playing at Purple Crayon, they’ll give themselves permission to play as well.”

Robbins chose to make the space exclusive to women and those who are woman-identifying for very specific reasons. “Including men would create a different dynamic that could interfere with woman-to-woman friendship building,” she says. “I want Purple Crayon to be a pressure-free environment where the process of creating and playing is far more important than the end result.”

During the grand opening, Purple Crayon will be open to the public. Typically, women will apply for a membership to use the Purple Crayon space and members will need a key card to enter unless they are attending a workshop or a scheduled tour. Membership will be limited to avoid overcrowding the small space.

Member Michelle Breen says that the psychological and social benefits of a space like this, combined with its affordability, helped her make the decision to join. “I see Purple Crayon as a way to mesh with a community of creative women away from the distractions and stresses of daily life,” she says. “Purple Crayon will draw women like me out of our homes.”

Purple Crayon is located at 9 Old Burnsville Hill Road, Suite 5, in Asheville. For more information or to apply for a membership, visit the Purple Crayon website at or contact Pam Robbins at or 828.771.6148.

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