The Martha Stewart American Made awards is an annual nationwide event focusing on local and handmade products in the categories of craft, design, food and style. With more than 500 finalists, our region is well represented by the following Western North Carolina-based makers. Online voting for the Audience Choice Award Winner continues through Monday, Oct. 19, and winners are announced on Friday, Oct. 23.
Using sweet pattern motifs such as llamas or okra, Patch Design Studio makes textile products that are grown, printed and sewn in the US. Business owner Heather Adcock speaks to the competition’s concept of American-made. “My story starts with the farmers who grow the organic cotton in Texas, to the North and South Carolina spinners and weavers who make my fabric, to the worker-owned cut and sew shop that creates my pieces, to the designing and printing done here in Asheville,” she says.
The idea for Climb-It Cat’s sustainable pet products began when business owner Kristi King was frustrated by vacuuming the cat hair from her pets’ tree perch. “I have nine cats, so there is always a lot of hair and [it’s] nearly impossible to get it all off,” she says. The resulting product solution is a sewn cat perch cover that can be removed, cleaned and reused.
Glamour camping (aka glamping) is possible at Hendersonville’s luxury campground, The Woodds. Travelers can experience nature with ease as they arrive to pitched tents and prepped gear. The owners say their Blue Ridge location is “the first and only real luxury campground that we know of on the East Coast.”
The Milk & Honey Co. in Black Mountain makes products for mom and baby such as a down sleep-sack for young ones and a nursing wrap for mothers. Owner Susan Isler describes her home studio as being “surrounded by the inspiration of seven children, free ranging chickens and a sprawling garden.”
Quilt maker Amanda Lanier of Hey Baby Craft Co. participated in her first Big Crafty only a few months after starting her business. In the short time since making her first quilt for her newborn niece, “I’ve found that quilts have a way of making themselves,” Lanier says. “Colors and patterns find each other and begin to show you how they should be shaped.”
The work of ceramicist Nick Moen may have some real estate in your kitchen cupboard, or you may have attended one of the dining events that he organized, where restaurants collaborate on food presentation with craft artists. This summer, Moen traveled 12,000 miles, touring America by car while selling his wares. “Hearing stories of the relationships that people formed with handmade objects fueled my journey,” he says.
The recently launched business, The Wander Trees, is an online marketplace and creative community that draws its inspiration from traveling and adventure. The idea began while founder Amber McDermid was hiking the Appalachian Trail. “I wanted The Wander Trees to be a support system and platform for creatives to share their goods, talent and passion with the world,” she says.
Potter Joey Sheehan splits his time between Buncombe and Madison Counties, working clay in Asheville and then firing it in Marshall before bringing it back to the River Arts District where he founded the Asheville Ceramics Gallery. “I texture my work with a thick porcelain slip and then spray many layers of glaze to create a wild, colorful, chaotic, but beautiful and cohesive surface,” he says.
Creating handcrafted skincare products, C & Co. responded to the lack of regulation in the cosmetics industry with self-defined guidelines for its plant-based organic ingredients. “Our intent was to produce quality products that are pH balanced, free of petrochemicals, detergents, fillers, GMOs and synthetic preservatives, while remaining affordable,” says owner Christina Apodaca.
Smiling Hara Tempeh produces fermented protein products in soy and soy-free varieties, and is about to launch a hemp-based variety called Hempeh. Speaking of the shared work-spaces at Blue Ridge Food Ventures, Similing Hara owner Sarah Yancey says, “We thrive among the rich commonality, and shared resources to aid each other in sustainable growth and prosperity.”
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