July is Blue Ridge Craft Trails month in Henderson County. Three itineraries take visitors through Flat Rock, downtown Hendersonville and the outskirts of Henderson County to a total of 16 participating artists and galleries.
Two September craft events are also highlighted: Open Studio Tour of Henderson County and Art on Main. Itineraries include crafts locations as well as recreational and other cultural opportunities to help visitors experience a sample of all the area has to offer.
“Visitors can avoid large crowds by having one-on-one experiences with artists in their studios and by visiting small galleries,” says Leslie Hartley, communications manager for the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area. “Artists are eager to share their experience of making local crafts inspired by the rich culture and beauty of the North Carolina mountains.”
At potter Meghan Bernard’s studio on the outskirts of Henderson County, visitors will see wheel-thrown coffee cups, bowls, teapots and other vessels in different stages of development. Finished products are often carved, incised with underglaze and embellished with images using local flora and fauna to create playful and colorful narrative scenes.
“I am honored to be a part of the trail,” says Bernard. “I had hoped that one day I would be good enough to be included and here we are! I am excited to welcome new customers to my studio and share what I make and how I make it.”
At Melinda Lawton’s Sweet Magnolia Gallery in Flat Rock, visitors will find her one-of-a-kind jewelry designs made from ethically sourced gemstones from around the world. They can shop from her most recent collections, have something made especially for themselves while they wait or discuss plans for a custom piece.
“My studio is also my flagship store, so when people come by, I will probably be making jewelry,” says Lawton. “I make each piece with love and to empower women.”
In downtown Hendersonville, Woodlands Gallery features the work of approximately 50 local and regional artisans. All are hand-selected to represent a well-curated collection showcasing quality work made locally.
“We are excited to be part of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails because of what it represents,” says gallery owner Margo Lea. “There are amazing, creative people here and the indigenous culture is what makes this area so special.”
Hendersonville, Flat Rock and the surrounding areas are less than a 45-minute drive from Asheville and Greenville, SC. The itineraries highlight natural and cultural treasures to explore along the way.
Learn more at VisitHendersonvilleNC.org/businesses/craft-trail.