This month’s celebration of American Craft Week, October 2–11, marks the eleventh year of days set aside for the recognition of American craft and its talented creators. The event is spearheaded by Craft Retailers & Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT), a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to the growth and vitality of the craft industry. American Craft Week, always beginning on the first Friday of October and spanning ten days, is a way for crafters, retailers, museums, associations and others to gather in support of the business of handmade craft.
Sherry Masters, of Asheville’s Art Connections, is serving on the board of CRAFT and is co-chair for the 2020 American Craft Week. “The American craft industry brings a livelihood to artists, art businesses and supporting organizations, and helps feed our souls when times are bleak,” she says.
“This year in WNC, we’ll offer both in-person, safe-distancing events and virtual events so you can join us from home.” Check American Craft Week’s website, listed below, for regional events, including small-group classes, studio tours, sales and demonstrations.
Western North Carolina has a long tradition of appreciating handmade craft, which led to the development in the early 20th century of many of the organizations and institutions still promoting craft today: the Southern Highland Craft Guild, Penland School of Craft and John C. Campbell Folk School, among them.
Asheville is also home to Center for Craft, a national nonprofit founded in 1996 that seeks to further American craft by fostering new talent through grants and scholarships, funding scholarly research and convening leaders in the field for an annual Craft Think Tank.
For those who enjoy seeking out fine craft, the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area (BRNHA) has designated Blue Ridge Craft Trails. The BRNHA website allows users to filter locations and interests in order to map out personalized routes for craft excursions.
To learn more, visit individual websites of our featured craft artists on the following pages, along with AmericanCraftWeek.com/wnc, CraftOnline.org, SouthernHighlandGuild.org, Penland.org, FolkSchool.org, CenterforCraft.org and BlueRidgeHeritage.com. Find information about the history of North Carolina crafts at wcu.edu/library/DigitalCollections/CraftRevival.