From felted figures to burlesque dancewear, it’s gonna be a party in West Asheville

Support local businesses, independent artists and crafters, and just plain have a good time this Saturday, Dec. 12, at the second annual East-West Asheville Holiday Art Walk — which teams up with the inaugural Shop West Asheville event, a day of sales and discounts that includes some 50 businesses and artists.

Simone Wilson’s marionettes — this one made from found objects — will be on display The Studios at Domino Lane.

Expect great gifts, live music, raffles, a window-decoration contest, demos, deals and surprises. Oh yes, and expect to hang out with your nabes and have a good ol' time. In true laid-back West Asheville fashion, the fun starts at noon and runs until 8 p.m.

"It's just going to be a party," says potter Lori Theriault of Crazy Green Studios, one of the hosts of the popular second Saturday artist market. Theriault lists painter Gabriel Shaffer, Piece Blossom who makes "felted figures and toys" and Lady Di Creations, who makes dancewear "but it looks like burlesque lingerie," among the artists showing and selling their work.

Crazy Green will be collecting canned goods and nonperishables for MANNA FoodBank, and will have refreshments and maybe live music, she says.

A note about location: The Studios at Domino Lane host some of the artist market (Domino Lane is a small street just off Westwood Place, which is off Haywood Road.) There will be potters, painters, glass artists and more. Mimi Strang Designs hosts marionette maker Simone Wilson and potter/woodworker Kim Dryden. For more info, check out www.crazygreenstudios.com and eastwestasheville.blogspot.com.

There are plenty of other stops on the art walk: Visit Steebo designs, Asheville BookWorks, 307 Flash Studio (home to Christopher Mello, the Runny Bunny and others) and resale boutique Reciprocity.

As far as deals go, there will be plenty. Fashion house Ship to Shore will hold its much-anticipated annual sale. Designer R. Brooke Priddy holds the sale the first or second week of December each year. "I like to do it right before Christmas: It helps me refresh my palate," she explains. Get there early for store-wide deals up to 70-percent off all Ship to Shore handmade originals, and expect a line.

Priddy is also excited about the neighborhood's window display contest. "My grandmother has been hand-crocheting all these lace doilies for snowflakes in my window," she says. Not-to-be-missed hers and home store Custom Boutique (just across the street from the Ship to Shore Shop) also has a wonderful display, Priddy says. Sounds like the competition is on.

The action, of course, isn't limited to East West Asheville. There's plenty happening in downtown West Asheville, also, which may be a good place to regroup. Pizza by the slice and giant pretzels exist because shopping takes some serious fuel.
Happily, West Asheville offers far better options than your average food court. West End Bakery, Digable Pizza, Lucky Otter, Pastabilities, Sunny Point Cafe and the Universal Joint are among the eateries en route. Pineapple Jacks packs in extra festivities with $2.75 beers and live music.

All over West Asheville, almost every business has something in store for the day. Freaks and Geeks and Hot Stuff Tattoo are both offering deals. West Asheville Massage will offer massage and reiki. Stop by Orbit DVD, which carries local art and of course, CDs and DVDs. Then there's charming kids clothing at The Littlest Birds, primo beer and vino from Hops and Vines, gifts for the sporty from Second Gear … too many to list here.

And don't forget the live music. Get in the spirit with seasonal music performed by carolers from West Asheville churches. The schedule for other venues: Westville Pub — Daniel Barber, 12 to 2 p.m.; Frenchie & George ,2-4 p.m.; Zeppelin done right with Custard Pie, 4-6 p.m.; followed by funk-folk act Peace Jones from 6 to 8 p.m. The Rocket Club — Aaron LaFalce, 3-5 p.m.; The Vince Junior Band and Swamp and Roll, 5-7 p.m. Tollivers Crossing — Americana artist Dave Desmelik, 2-4 p.m.; Jennifer Worthen, 4-6 p.m.; Michael Gemme, 6-8 p.m. and Asheville Music and Art hosts music teachers performing Christmas and other music.

Get full info at www.shopwestasheville.com. Also check www.mountainx.com for an interactive West Asheville map made specially for Xpress by onHaywood.com.

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