This panda was not made in China

Younger readers shouldn’t dismiss the upcoming Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands — celebrating its 60th anniversary July 19 through 22 at Asheville Civic Center — as an event meant only to delight weekend tourists, middle-aged parents and other big spenders.

As pointed out in Mannie Dalton‘s upcoming cover story on the fair, buying toys, rugs, kitchenware or furniture from local and regional artisans makes a statement: It says you’re not so keen on cheap stuff made by exploited workers in unregulated factories. It’s pottery as politics, if you will.

Yes, a handcrafted item costs more. That’s because it lasts longer and because it’s all yours — i.e., not every Tyler, Demi and Hannah will have the same thing. Pro-craft is anti big-box store. Of course, you knew that already. But doesn’t this panda sculpture (by Southern Highland Craft Guild member Cindy Billingsley, used courtesy of SHGC) bring it all back home?

— Melanie McGee Bianchi, arts editor

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