American Craft Week: WNC artists and crafters bring handmade goods to the forefront

Image 1. Tea time: Gertrude Graham Smith of the Mica cooperative gallery in Bakersville uses a soda fired technique to create stunning tea cups and saucers. Image 2. Forging black: Paul Garrett of the John C. Campbell Folk School demonstrates the art of blacksmithing. Image 3. It takes a village: Lori Theriault of The Village Potters uses a relief carving technique to bring her ceramics to life.

If you've ever worn local jewelry or decorated your home with regional pottery, you've experienced the power of craft. American Craft Week, a national initiative to honor handmade art and the people that create it, is coming to WNC. Now in its third year, the celebration is bigger and better.

Regional highlights include a kickoff celebration on Friday, Oct. 5, featuring a presentation on “David Rakoff's Paradise and other Craft Places,” presented by Jan Davidson, director of the John C. Campbell Folk School. The school will throw its Fall Festival in Brasstown on Saturday Oct. 6 and Sunday, Oct. 7, featuring demonstrations, music, dance and fine crafts of all kinds. The festival has something for experienced craft aficionados and anyone who is discovering the beauty of handcrafted goods for the first time.

If you’re looking for something closer to town, Asheville Art in the Park, a series of craft shows each June and October, features fine arts and crafts, including pottery, jewelry, woodworking, quilts and more. 10 percent of the proceeds are donated to local nonprofit arts organizations, making it a great way to support the arts while adding something beautiful to your home.

American Craft Week also offers a chance to get down and dirty with clay. Lori Theriault of The Village Potters in the River Arts District will lead a workshop on surface design on Saturday, Oct. 6. Anyone with intermediate throwing abilities can participate in a hands-on exploration of everything from stamping and sprigging to slip stretching. A pottery exchange will round out the workshop and participants are encouraged to bring a favorite piece to share.

If you'd rather buy than try, Mica, a cooperative gallery of fine contemporary craft in Bakersville, will showcase a wide range of ceramic, glass and wood work by its member/owners. Gertrude Graham Smith uses a soda-fired porcelain technique to express her passion for ceramics. Her work will be on display and available for sale at the Mica gallery throughout American Craft Week. All of Mica's clay artists will be participating in the Spruce Pine Potters Market Saturday, Oct. 13 through Sunday, Oct. 14.

Craft fairs, artist demonstrations and special exhibits are scattered throughout WNC, so check out the complete guide of American Craft Week events.

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