The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands will return to the US Cellular Center on Thursday, July 18, starting at 10 a.m. and running through Sunday, July 21, at 5 p.m. Hosted by the Southern Highland Craft Guild, the fair will feature work from almost 160 makers, including contemporary and traditional work in clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media and jewelry. Derek Hennigar, a self-taught furniture maker and resident of Polk County, is a long-time veteran of the fair. “What makes this fair, and the Guild in general, unique is its continuity with past and future craft of the region,” he says. “The Craft Fair is a crossroad of traditional and new techniques, a contrast of native and external influences in approach and style, a presentation under one roof of the push and pull between make-do homesteader work and art/craft school training.”
All featured makers have undergone a two-step jury process under the Guild to ensure the fair’s high-quality standards. New this year, there will be a limited number of exhibitors from out-of-state craft organizations: Piedmont Craftsmen, Carolina Designer Craftsmen, Tennessee Crafts and Kentucky Crafts. The weekend will also feature a variety of demonstrations with interactive activities, as well as mountain musicians performing live daily.
Boxmaker Ray Jones has been participating in the fair since he joined the Guild in 1991. “This is the longest running craft fair in the region and one of the oldest in the country,” says Jones. “This region has a strong history of crafts that is well represented by the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands.”