Selena Glass and Metal studio on the TRAC tour.

Insider perspective

A handmade piece of artwork, whether it’s a ceramic mug or a one-of-a-kind painting, is an insight into the personal narrative of the artist. Buying directly from an artist’s studio is a chance for the collector to connect to that artist’s process in a way they wouldn’t be able to otherwise. Denise Cook, executive director […]

Liz Stiglegs of CozyBlue makes embroidery and patterns for DIY crafters.

All sewed up

In the hierarchy of craft cachet, fiber arts are often less discussed than other media such as pottery or metalwork. Maybe that’s because textiles are, by nature, a quieter genre: no hammers to wield, forges or kilns to stoke or clay to sling. But Western North Carolina’s textile artists are not only thriving, they’re taking […]

Midwest-transplant Deb Karash (whose work is shown here) was drawn to the small town’s thriving arts scene. She’s one of the Marshall High Studios artists who will show at this weekend’s Handmade Market.

Class project

Five years ago, the artists of Marshall High Studios brainstormed an annual event in the spirit of the holiday season. Because the artists do not keep regular open-studio hours, the idea that became the Marshall Handmade Market was a way for them to share their space and their work with the community. Additional makers from […]

Equine Entertainment: The Rural Academy Theatre is making several stops in WNC. The horse-and-wagon-pulled performance troupe features live music, silent movies and shadow puppetry. Photo courtesy of Rural Academy Theatre


At the lumbering speed of 2.5 miles per hour, the Rural Academy Theatre is making their second tour through Western North Carolina. The horse-drawn performance troupe loads all of its supplies, instruments and equipment into a wagon-trailer reminiscent of the Oregon Trail computer game. A few bicyclists ride alongside the caravan to scout roads and […]

Claymation: Browsers and shoppers at the Spruce Pine Potters Market, which highlights works by potters primarily from Mitchell and Yancey counties. Photo by Richard Kennedy

A whole lot of crockery

North Carolina’s pottery tradition stems from the very makeup of its geography: lots of clay. While the clay-laden soil may be a challenge for gardeners, it also provides a rich supply of artistic material. The use of local clay has been part of our history for a long time, with pottery shards dating back to […]

Go big or go home

It is said that artists are only limited by their imaginations. Contrary to that famous saying, printmakers are limited by the size of the printing press. That is, until they acquire some construction equipment to help them out. Asheville Bookworks is hosting an event on Saturday, Aug. 31, where eight to 10 artists will be […]

The glass and ceramic work created at the EnergyXchange is powered by decomposing trash — methane from a former landfill.

Gas to glass

The EnergyXchange in Burnsville is in the innovation business. Built on the site of a former landfill, the complex includes four greenhouses, three cold frames, a retail craft gallery, a visitor center, clay studio and glass studio. And most of it's fueled by decomposing trash. Methane, that is. Glassblowing and ceramics studios are notorious for […]

Margaret Couch Cogswell offers her easy and personable voice to Book Play, her new publicatoin from Lark Books. Photo courtesy the artist

Meta reader

“Even though I make books, I really hadn’t considered this kind of thing before because it’s so far from what I know,” said Asheville artist Margaret Couch Cogswell about her recent publication, Book Play. Still, she says of the venture, “If it’s all easy, you’re not learning anything.” Book Play, Cogswell’s first publication, is primarily […]

Andy Warhol, Emily Fisher Landau, 1982, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas, 40 x 40 inches. Courtesy of Emily Fisher Landau, New York © 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Reproduction, including downloading of works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission Of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York (

Big names, little town

Andy Warhol, Barbara Kruger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Willem de Kooning, Cy Twombly, Keith Haring, Martin Puryear, Jenny Holzer, Carl Andre and William Eggleston — it sounds like a litany from an art school student trying to impress someone at a party. It’s really a selection of works from the Emily Fisher Landau collection that has made […]

Anne Lemanski, “Deregulator,” 2011 . Copper rod, novelty money, fabric and artificial sinew, 25 x 20 x 42 inches. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Wingate Foundation. Asheville Art Museum collection.

Arts and activism: A potter, a sculptor, a printer

The arts have long been a vehicle for progressive thinkers to communicate ideas, challenge beliefs or expose injustices. Here’s a quick look at three artists exploring this overlap between arts and activism. Letterpress printer Frank Brannon directs a printing project that uses the Cherokee language. “Like many languages around the world, the Cherokee spoken language […]

Sew good: Local crafter Mary Lynn Schroeder employs four staffers to keep up with the demands of her Etsy sales.

Heavens to Etsy

Crafts are going online in a big way, and local artists are taking advantage of the trend. Sales on the hugely popular online site Etsy (a craft, handmade and vintage marketplace) topped at $895.1 million last year, a 70 percent increase from 2011, according to press info on the sight.       Since its […]