Arts Craft Arts

New Crafters, Same Exceptional Quality at 77th Summer Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

Fudo Forge, artist

The Southern Highland Craft Guild presents the 77th summer edition of the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands at Harrah’s Cherokee Center-Asheville from Thursday, July 18, through Sunday, July 21. “The incredibly high standards that the Southern Highland Craft Guild is known for reinforce consumer confidence,” says Julie Calhoun-Roepnack of JCR Designs, who creates collectible stoneware inspired by North Carolina’s flora and fauna. “Folks are willing to spend more for work that is handmade and will be a cherished heirloom.”

Heidi Bleacher, artist

Featuring more than 100 makers, this beloved and longstanding event is much more than just a chance to shop from regional talent. It’s also a learning experience, with demonstrations throughout the weekend, and a party, with live music from a variety of local musicians.

Twenty-six new members were accepted into the Southern Highland Craft Guild during the spring jurying, so many vendors will be entirely new to the fair this summer. “As a participating artist, I feel pride in being included in such a historic show, continuing and preserving a tradition and showcasing unusual art and crafts made with care and skill,” says woodturner and bird carver Christine Smith. “My work invokes awareness of the nature that surrounds us here in the mountains, sometimes defying logic and handmade from local woods. Birds and raptors found in these forests have a way to camouflage their appearance. They are often merged with my wood turnings.”

Visitors to the fair will also have the opportunity to win a piece of fine craft by one of the exhibitors by entering to win the raffle. All proceeds from the raffle go towards the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s educational mission. Raffle tickets can also be bought online throughout the weekend.

“This year’s fair will be filled with the high-caliber craftsmanship the Guild brings, as well as the excitement of new members showing for the first time,” says jewelry artist and metalsmith Audrey Laine Sawyer. “The Guild and its biannual fair have been vital components of the rich story of craft in this region, historically and continuing to grow and evolve into the future.”

Admission to the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is $12 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Harrah’s Cherokee Center is located at 87 Haywood Street, Asheville. Learn more at CraftGuild.org.

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