72 years. That’s how long the Southern Highland Craft Guild has been holding this fair. This year they held it in the US Cellular Center in Asheville from October 17-21 and brought 180 artists together on two floors and under one roof.
We haven’t been in Asheville long but one of the things that made us want to stay for a while is the arts and crafts community here. You can’t go a mile without tripping over a dozen artists of one kind or another. Glass, metal, paint, wood, fiber, precious metals and the list goes on.
We knew going in that the fair might be an extended gallery viewing with no purchasing but we also had a big anniversary coming up and it was possible we might find something to satisfy our desire to mark the big event somehow. Traveling as much as we have been, we’re loath to just go around acquiring “things” but if we find something small or useful or both, we’re more likely to pick it up. If we can find something that really speaks to us, so much the better.
Because the fair started on Thursday we knew we would be able to beat most of the rush by going before the weekend crowds descended on the center. We like events like this but aren’t remotely fond of crowds of people moving about randomly in large halls.
Tickets were a reasonable price at $8 per person per day or $12 for a weekend pass. Since we had two potentially quiet days to see the fair and literally no idea how big it would be or if we’d enjoy it, we decided to give the weekend pass a shot. We ended up going both Thursday and Friday and things were pretty quiet. Just the level of light crowds we can work with. In most of the photos below, it’s going to look like we snuck in when people were still setting up their booths and before most people could enter, but the fair wasn’t quite as empty as it looks, I just timed my shots so there were as few people in them as I could manage.
On the first day we made it through the upper level and part of the second before deciding that we needed to take a break and come back the next day.
It was a bit of an overload of jewelry, textiles, glass art and more. We literally couldn’t go 10′ without seeing something beautiful and desirable. Unfortunately we don’t live in an art gallery and don’t have tons of room for pretties so resisting the desire to purchase everything wasn’t too hard.
On the second day Susan wore one of the scarves she wove and got loads of attention from the fibers artists in residence. If you want to more easily strike up casual conversations with crafters, wear something that looks like it was bought at the fair. Things go even better if you made the item.
This was the first day they had live entertainment and while we didn’t hear all the groups they had on, we did catch some very strange but entertaining music by Hot Duck Soup.
Check out the video below for a few more views of the craft fair.