Many Ardenwoods residents enjoy Western North Carolina’s robust craft scene. And with March being National Craft Month it’s a great time to explore all the crafty sights, sounds, and textures that our area has to offer. Here are some of our favorite places around the region to indulge your inner craftsman.
Center for Craft
Founded in 1996, the Center for Craft’s mission is to resource, catalyze, and amplify how and why craft matters. It advances access to and understanding of craft through national grantmaking in support of makers, teaching artists, and researchers, as well as through its free, public galleries, which educate audiences about the materials, processes, and skills that define craft. To learn more about this local craft institution, visit centerforcraft.org.
River Arts District
Consider visiting Asheville’s unique River Arts District, locally called RAD. Visitors to this colorful and crafty neighborhood can visit artists at work, take a class, add incredible new items to their arts and crafts collections, and even grab a world-class
meal or craft beer. The area features gallery walks, demonstrations, workshops, live music, wine tastings, and more. Visitors can check out as many studios in one day as possible, aided by free trolley rides between the 23 buildings spanning the two square miles that compose the district.
Southern Highland Craft Guild
The Southern Highland Craft Guild is an advocate for high-quality craftsmanship and goods made, sold, and curated in the Appalachian Southern Highlands. Since 1930, the Guild has exhibited the handmade crafts of the people of North Carolina and the Southeast, and today is one of the strongest craft organizations in the country, representing just over 800 makers in 293 counties from nine states. The SHCG is the second oldest craft organization in the country. Visit one of their four galleries — Southern Highland Craft Guild in Biltmore Village, Southern Highland Craft Guild at the Folk Art Center, Southern Highland Craft Guild on Tunnel Road, and Southern Highland Craft Guild at Moses Cone Manor.
If you would like something more hands-on than just browsing craft goods of local artisans, you may want to consider one of the area’s schools that are dedicated to teaching and preserving craft and handmade items using mediums like paper, clay, and textiles to glass, wood, and metals.
Penland School of Craft is a national center for craft education located in Penland, North Carolina. Penland offers one, two, and eight-week workshops taught by visiting artist and instructors in a variety of mediums. They also offer a gallery and a coffee shop.
John C Campbell Folk School Tucked away in the mountains of Brasstown, North Carolina, the John C. Campbell Folk School offers weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, photography, writing, and more. Classes are offered year round on their 270-acre campus.
Tryon Arts & Crafts School is a year-round school promoting heritage and contemporary art-making practices. The school offers a regional artist shop, multiple exhibition spaces, and advanced studios for fiber arts, glass, ceramics, jewelry, wood, welding and even blacksmithing.
Blue Ridge Craft Trails
If you’re looking for a way to scratch you craft itch, but don’t have a specific destination in mind, check out one of the Blue Ridge National Heritage’s craft trails. There are trails that feature artists and craftspeople in Hendersonville and the surrounding areas of Henderson County.
The Heart of Hendersonville Trail takes visitors to galleries and shops featuring fine art, sculpture, and jewelry to natural art and woodcrafts.
The Henderson County Outskirts Trail showcases artists in the mediums of pottery, weaving, and fiber arts along this route that takes visitors from western Henderson County all the way to Tryon, North Carolina. The featured studios on this trail are working artist studios, so be sure to review the information about each studio before visiting, as some may be by appointment only.
Ardenwoods boasts several residents who not only enjoy crafting handmade goods, but also excel at creating beautiful and functional works of art. You can read more about our crafty residents here.