From the Editor: July 2024

Gina Malone, editor

We follow last month’s announcement of the departure of our long-time publisher Jerry Johnson with an introduction this month to Brett Hulsey, The Laurel of Asheville’s new owner and publisher. It is with sadness that we say farewell to Jerry, but we wish him retirement years filled with relaxation as well as with all of the adventures that full-time, hands-on management of the magazine precluded. And we welcome Brett, who brings with him experience as a regional publisher and an already established passion for The Laurel and its longstanding coverage of the arts and culture of Western North Carolina.

The Laurel publishes two crafts-focused editions each year (because one just won’t do)—one in July and the other in October. I always anticipate these issues for the variety of beautifully crafted, regional work that comes to our attention. This issue, for example, features traditionally handmade Appalachian brooms, Native American works, knitted goods, pottery and more in the WNC Crafts section and throughout the magazine.

The Southern Appalachians have long been an exemplary region for crafts and their makers. Toe River Crafts is one of the many cooperative groups established by regional makers. Still going strong, it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year with an exhibition looking back through the years.

This month’s Feature Artist, Rachel Meginnes, shares her process for deconstructing well-worn quilts and weaving them into works of art—and, too, a little philosophy which serves well in everyday life as well as in creating. “The more I am able to have compassion for my own self-capacity and to see myself as a human who can mess up and do great things, the more I am able to realize the work I most want to make,” she says.

I’m astonished to realize that we’re halfway through 2024. There’s still plenty of summer to be enjoyed, however, so savor those popsicles and ice cream cones, relish the feel of the sun on your skin as you garden or swim, and don’t forget to take an evening stroll or two with someone you love while the days are still long.


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