Arts Craft Arts

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands: Celebrating 75 Years

(Left) Deneece Harrell, artist; (Right) Sarah Tremaine, artist

The summer edition of the 75th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands will return to Harrah’s Cherokee Center-Asheville, starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 21, and running through Sunday, July 24. Admission is $10 and the fair runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The event will feature the work of Guild artisans in a variety of media as well as craft demonstrations, interactive activities and mountain music. At the booth of woodworker Ray Jones, visitors can find a selection of boxes in various sizes and styles, including new pieces he designed with his additional studio time over the pandemic. “Most of these were based on customer requests, such as larger boxes, and some content-specific designs,” he says. “These include a box with seven drawers and a box to hold fountain pens at an angle, so the nibs won’t leak. I’ve also had time to research and obtain some ‘new’ woods to add to my palette of over 100 species.”

Fiber artist Sarah Tremaine of Sarah Tremaine Designs appreciates the opportunity to show visitors “how things in their everyday lives are made,” she says. “I work with natural fibers and make garments inspired by nature. I believe that when I make a dress, which is made to fit a particular woman’s body that highlights her unique features, in the colors and style that most flatters her, from materials that are natural and healthful, it creates a depth of community connection in her everyday life.” Tremaine’s booth will feature her signature naturally dyed, eco-printed and Nuno felted garments and accessories.

Fiber artist Jude Stuecker has been a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild for almost 20 years, but says she only recently came to appreciate the significance of the organization’s history, which is particularly meaningful during this 75th anniversary fair. “It was founded in 1930 to create a livelihood for a struggling community,” she says, “and grew into a larger cooperative designed to share resources, educate and conserve the traditions. It’s an organization built on community, and we still rely on our community to teach, grow, connect and thrive. The craft fairs are a time when we get to share our work with the world, but it’s also a space to reconnect with each other as artists. That’s something that makes each fair special. Recognizing our long history of 75 years also feels momentous this year; we’ve evolved, but we still have the same mission and the same ideals, all built on relationships.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 828.298.7928.

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