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Experience Western North Carolina's Vibrant Crafts Culture

Western North Carolina Pottery CraftsAsheville and Western North Carolina are home to a vibrant community of traditional and contemporary crafters, as well as organizations and centers showcasing craft artisans and crafting heritage. From craft schools to shops to galleries, there are many outlets for experiencing Western N.C. crafts. Here are a few to check out:

Southern Highland Craft Guild

An advocate for craftsmanship and goods made, sold and curated in the Southern Highlands, the Southern Highland Craft Guild has for decades highlighted the design and function of traditional and modern crafts. The guild comprises four area galleries, each carrying a vast selection of handmade crafts by its members. In addition to craft shops, the galleries host special events and craft demonstrations throughout the year. The locations are: Folk Art Center, 382 Blue Ridge Parkway, Asheville; 26 Lodge Street, Biltmore Village, Asheville; 930 Tunnel Road, Asheville; and Moses Cone Manor, 294 Blue Ridge Parkway, Blowing Rock. https://www.southernhighlandguild.org

Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center

Located near the Nantahala River is Stecoah Valley Cultural Arts Center, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the Appalachian mountain heritage of Western N.C. Stecoah Valley Center offers a variety of adult arts and crafts classes, as well as classes on how to market and run a craft-based business. Classes include jewelry making, soap making, gourd crafting, beginning watercolor and more. The textile studio offers classes in sewing, quilting, weaving, knitting, crochet and more. The Stecoah Artisans Gallery sells a wide variety of traditional and contemporary works from more than 180 area artists, including paintings, pottery, weaving, wood-turned items, glass works, photography, note cards, jewelry, soaps, quilts and books. https://www.stecoahvalleycenter.com/index.html

Appalachian Craft Hubs Western North CarolinaPenland School of Craft

The famed Penland School of Craft near Spruce Pine, N.C., offers total-immersion workshops in 16 fully equipped studios along with artist residencies, a gallery and visitors’ center, and community programs.Among its offerings are one-, two-, and eight-week workshops in books and paper, clay, drawing, glass, iron, metals, photography, printmaking, textiles and wood. Visitors are welcome to browse the galleries, shop in the art supply store, or walk through the historic campus. https://penland.org

Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc.

Next door to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian in Cherokee, N.C., is the Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., featuring more than 3,000 crafts, handmade with natural materials by Cherokee people using techniques passed down from generation to generation. Among the items for sale are baskets, pottery, woodcarving, beadwork, jewelry, dolls and blowguns, with profits going to the more than 200 Eastern Band co-op members. Visitors can also enjoy the exhibit room, which details Cherokee crafts traditions. The Qualla co-op is open year-round, and admission is free. https://quallaartsandcrafts.org

John C. Campbell Folk School and Craft Shop

The Folk School, in Brasstown, N.C., offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft and art, including everything from blacksmithing and enameling to needlework and thread art. The Folk School’s Craft Shop showcases more than 600 area artisans, highlighting the Appalachian region’s rich heritage. The shop carries handcrafted pottery, jewelry, turned wood bowls, and fiber creations. https://www.folkschool.org

Tryon Arts and Crafts School

This year-round nonprofit school in Tryon, N.C., spotlights heritage and contemporary art-making approaches. Established artists from both Western N.C. and across the country lead classes on a range of arts, from needle felting to knife making to enameling. The school features a regional artist shop, multiple exhibition spaces, and advanced technological studios in fiber arts, glass, lapidary, ceramics, jewelry and wood. There is also a welding and torch work studio as well as a traditional blacksmithing forge. https://tryonartsandcrafts.org

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