By Emma Castleberry
July is Blue Ridge Craft Trails Month in Henderson County. This project, a partnership between the Henderson County Tourism Development Authority (HCTDA) and the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, shines a spotlight on the artists and galleries along the trails, which is active year-round. “This is a celebration of the richness of talent in the area,” says Leslie Hartley, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area communications manager. “Henderson County is a perfect example of how Western North Carolina is a vibrant center for craft.”
Rodney Leftwich, a potter inspired by the historical art and folk traditions of WNC, appreciates this spotlighting of the Blue Ridge Craft Trails because it provides an opportunity for him to have conversations about his favorite subject: the history of pottery in the region.
“My studio is in a beautiful, rural setting,” he says. “Visitors will find a laid-back, rustic environment with numerous examples including face jugs, crystalline glazes, native leaf decorations, cut-out works and smoke or pit-fired pottery. This summer I am creating folk sculptures such as preachers riding possums and Appalachian Santas riding pigs.”
Following the trails adds a personal experience to each piece of one-of-a kind artwork a visitor might see or purchase. “In addition to meeting welcoming artists and galleries on the trail, visitors can enjoy special offerings on the weekends in July,” says Hartley. These include an open studio with fiber artist Lorraine Cathey and her sister Dian Magie, a woodfire potter, on Saturday, July 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Find information about Blue Ridge Craft Trails Month in Henderson County, including maps, artist profiles and a full listing of special events, at VisitHendersonvilleNC.org/Businesses/Craft-Trails or call 800.828.4244. Printed map brochures are also available.