FORENSIC FOLKLORIST: "I'm excavating [folk] practices from older generations," says Byron Ballard, known as Asheville's village witch. Photo by Machaela Treadway

Byron Ballard keeps Appalachian folk magic practices alive

Known as Asheville’s village witch, Byron Ballard practices what she calls “hillfolk hoodoo,” a form of Appalachian folk magic. Ballard came by hoodoo naturally, growing up in a poor community in the mountains of Western North Carolina where hoodoo was practiced. She laments that the practice is disappearing: “Local hillfolk are no longer practicing hoodoo, […]

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Distant energy healing resonates in the Asheville area and beyond

Many practitioners of the healing energy arts — including reiki masters, sound healers and shamanic practitioners — say they can “send” healing energy to a client anywhere in the state, country or world. In fact, the nine practitioners interviewed by Xpress report sending out healing energy to such distant places as Kazakhstan, Syria, Russia, Japan, India, South Africa, Peru, Hong Kong and Singapore

Amalia Rowan's 478 votes as of Dec. 8, put her in tenth place among 88 US applicants to participate in the Fjällräven Polar 2015. She must move into first place to secure her dogsledding dream. Image from Rowan's profile page

Asheville native hopes to battle water insecurity by dogsledding

Asheville native Amalia Rowan doesn’t know the first thing about dog sledding, but if her crowdsourcing plan works, she’ll be flown overseas to participate in a guided 300-kilometer expedition through Norway and Sweden next April. “I have to try new things, test myself, get dirt (or snow) under my fingernails,” reads her event application profile. Rowan’s […]

Riverbend Malt House co-owner Brent Manning, left, expanded his production from less than one ton of malt per batch to four tons while working with Sara Day Evans, right.
“Our experience with Accelerating Appalachia was definitely a positive one,” says Manning. “We learned a lot and we got tied into an amazing network of people in our area that we, frankly, had no idea were available to us.” Photo by Pat Barcas

Accelerating Appalachia helps nature-based entrepreneurs get funding

Last year, Accelerating Appalachia orchestrated the transfer of about $505,000 in investment funds toward sustainable, nature-based ventures in Western North Carolina. This year, the Asheville-based nonprofit — the region’s first social-impact business accelerator — partnered with impact investor Reinventure Capital for 2015 and recently invited businesses to submit funding applications online. Submissions for 2015 are due by […]

Photos by Taylor Taz Johnson

Visions of Tibet: Asheville photographer shares rare images of monasteries

Taylor Taz Johnson trekked through the Himalayan mountains of South Asia with Dr. Hun Lye, the founder of Asheville’s Urban Dharma Buddhist Center. They were granted unprecedented permission to photograph inside some of the most isolated religious institutions in the world, braving military interrogations along the way.

GSMNP Video fall color

Video captures Great Smoky Mountain National Park during peak fall color

The “More Than Just Parks” project aims to capture the beauty of all 50 National Parks in order to raise awareness for there value. This video marks “the culmination of two weeks exploring Great Smoky Mountains National Park,” according to the project’s website.  Brothers Will Pattiz and Jim Pattiz, founders of Sea Raven Media,  produced […]

Asheville Bioneers conclude third annual conference

As Lenoir-Rhyne University wrapped up its third annual Taste of Bioneers conference on Friday night, Nov. 21, the panel presentation “Scaling Solutions for Social Change” took center stage. Three local business leaders fueled discussions about the opportunities and the challenges Asheville-area businesses face as they seek to expand their organizations and contribute to community sustainability as […]

CANDLES FOR HANDLES: Mike Sule, left, founder and director of Asheville on Bikes, is pleased to partner with The Market Place's chef William Dissen, right, for Asheville on Bikes' eighth birthday bash. Dissen will prepare four small plates to be paired with New Belgium's craft beers. Photo courtesy of Asheville on Bikes

Asheville on Bikes throws 8th birthday party, Beer and Bites for Bikes

Throwing a birthday party to celebrate eight years of activism certainly fits the bill for Asheville on Bikes, whose official mission is to “cultivate the culture of urban and commuter cycling through advocacy & celebration.” Accordingly, Beer and Bites for Bikes, scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 3 at The Market Place, offers an open invitation to […]