The Southern Highland Craft Guild will host two mini pop-up fairs in the lower level parking lot of the Folk Art Center on Saturday, May 8, and June 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. At each fair, 20 booths will feature different media including bladesmithing, glassblowing, wheel-thrown and hand-built ceramics, woodturning, metalsmithing, leatherwork and furniture.
“Trying to earn a living during the COVID pandemic has proved to be a nightmare for all the Guild members,” says Ruthie Cohen, Board of Trustees fair representative. “The Guild shops were closed for a while, in-person fairs were cancelled, Special Event Days and demonstrations were also not happening. It is certainly difficult to create new work in a vacuum if no one will see what you are doing.”
Brian Brace of Brian Brace Furniture says the pandemic has been uniquely hard on artists and crafters. “It has been a hard year for all of us, but artists are so used to being in the public presenting their work,” he says. “This is going to be a kind of kick-off event that indicates shows are getting ready to happen again on a large scale.”
The mini pop-up fair will not only give craft members a chance to sell their wares but it will also give them a chance to engage with customers and share new work. Ken Hall makes custom, handmade knives for everything from backwoods camping to the working kitchen. “I see this fair as a great way to return to in-person craft fairs for the Guild,” he says. “It’s a small venue and it’s outside, so it should be safe for the public and the Guild members.”
Admission to this outdoor event and the Folk Art Center is free. The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 on the Blue Ridge Parkway in east Asheville. For more information, visit SouthernHighlandCraftGuild.org.