By Gina Malone
Beth Craft jokes that she married her husband for his name. It serves her well as owner of Crafted in Carolina, a Maggie Valley shop that celebrated its first anniversary in May and features the work of 30 artists, all from Haywood County. “Our aim is to grow the art scene in Maggie Valley,” Craft says. “My main problem is that I have to say ‘no’ to so many artists.” With so much talent in the area, she would take them all, but she wants visitors to be able to focus on what’s available in the shop.
The inventory covers a wide range of items, offering something for everyone who appreciates handmade goods. Goods include jewelry, stained glass, photography, botanicals, paintings, textiles, knitted works, woodworking and industrial art.
Crafted in Carolina offers a teaching area upstairs where some of the artists hold classes. Enrollment is kept small, with six students to one teacher, so that participants can learn techniques and be successful in their creations. This winter, Craft plans to offer a Bead and Blab class with potluck snacks and a fellowship of beaders.
Not a lifelong crafter, she was inspired by her late mother who sewed and painted. “After two years of complete retirement, I knew I needed to go back to work,” Craft says. “I was too young and too bored.” She creates custom bead and silver jewelry. Her embellished skullwork is a sideline art, with most being custom orders. She has created skullwork for the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Carolina Panthers and the Western Carolina University coaching staff.
“If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” she says. “My job is to sell for these crafters, to provide an environment for them to sell their work and to teach them that it’s okay to be an artist.”
Crafted in Carolina is located at 3073 Soco Road in Maggie Valley. Hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To learn more, visit CraftedinCarolina.net or call 828.944.0004.