Crafty happenings: Celebrate American Craft Week close to home

Black Mountain College lives on: Christopher Benfey will speak about Black Mountain College’s legacy at BMCM+AC’s keynote presentation.
Black Mountain College lives on: Christopher Benfey will speak about Black Mountain College’s legacy at BMCM+AC’s keynote presentation.

The Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center’s keynote speaker Christopher Benfey seems to know something about everything artistic. He has literally written the book on Carolina pottery traditions, which have been a large part of his family history, in Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections on Art, Family and Survival. He has been an art critic for Slate and has contributed to The New York Times Book Review, and is known as a scholar of Emily Dickinson, Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe, among others. Benfey lends this breadth of knowledge to analyzing the history of Black Mountain College and its future in influencing trends in education and the modern art world. Benfey will present a keynote address as part of the ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 5: Shaping Craft + Design conference on Saturday, Oct. 12, at 5:30 p.m., with a reception to follow. http://avl.mx/zr

As the weather cools down, there may be no better venue for enjoying local art than the outdoors. Asheville Art in the Park will feature local art for sale in Pack Square Park on upcoming Saturdays. The event, which enters its fifth year, generates income for local artists, and 10 percent of sales go to local art nonprofits. Take a stroll through the park to experience everything from glass and ceramics to wood and jewelry. Hendersonville’s Art on Main is a similar event that focuses on the city's long-standing support of craftspeople. On Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6, local artists will proudly display their pieces along Main Street in Hendersonville, continuing a 54-year tradition of supporting the city’s creatively inclined. Judges roam the street as well, keeping an eye out for originality and professionalism in order to award ribbons for fine craft and fine art. Asheville Art in the Park takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Oct. 5, 12 and 19. Visit http://avl.mx/00g for more information. Art on Main takes place from 10 a.m. -5 p.m., Saturday-Sunday, Oct. 5 and 6. Find out more at http://avl.mx/00h

Modeled after agricultural programs where consumers invest in local farms by paying for produce in advance, Handmade in America’s Community Supported Art (CSA) program gives art aficionados a chance to grow their very own creative scene. On Friday, Oct. 4, the organization’s downtown gallery will host an exhibition of various CSA artists, allowing visitors to enjoy a glass of wine and see a sampling of local art. Among those featured are glass artist Ben Elliott, jewelry artist Suzanne Q. Evon, weavers Greg and Carla Filippelli, potter Sue Grier, book artist Mary Carol Koester and woodworker Christopher Perryman. It’s a diverse showcase of Asheville's talented artists as well as a chance to highlight local art collectors' support for the craft economy. The event takes place on Friday, Oct. 4, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. http://avl.mx/00j

The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, an annual event that began in 1948, is a way for regional crafters throughout the mountains to sell their creations. The fair is run by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and features almost 200 artists who work with a variety of mediums. In addition to the art for sale, a handful of local artists will demonstrate their crafts live before fairgoers. From potter Mike Lalone to screen-printer Betty Morrill, from yarn-spinner Dede Styles to basket-weaver George McCollum, a wide variety of skills will be on display. The fair will also feature music from folk and bluegrass groups like Hot Duck Soup and the Moore Brothers Band, and don't miss blacksmith Lenny Moore, who will set up his forge outside the U.S. Cellular Center to wow passersby with hammer in hand as he creates pieces of metal art. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands runs Oct. 17-20 at the U.S. Cellular Center from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 and children under 12 get in free. For more information, visit southernhighlandguild.org

Play dough represents a sort of rite of passage for most kids. They mold it. They squash it. They hopefully don’t eat it. Now, ceramic artist Lisa Gluckin wants to help them take the next step. The “Playin’ With Clay … HOO-RAY!” class at the Grovewood Gallery is a chance for youngsters to celebrate Craft Week by learning the ins and outs of the diverse medium of clay. Kids can carve and sculpt clay into whatever shapes their overactive imaginations might present them, all under the guidance of a Greenwich House Pottery-trained instructor. Space is limited to eight, though, so don’t allow this opportunity to dry out and crumble like a neglected third-grade art project. The class is recommended for children ages 10-12. “Playin’ With Clay … HOO-RAY!” takes place from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 12 and 13. $40 per child. http://avl.mx/00i

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