Follow the Craft Trails
Immerse yourself in the artistry of Western North CarolinaBy Vanessa Infanzon
Fall colors aren’t the only beauty in Western North Carolina this season. More than 300 artist studios, galleries and arts organizations in 25 counties are showcasing traditional and contemporary art and crafts through the Blue Ridge Craft Trails.
Blue Ridge National Heritage Area developed the Blue Ridge Craft Trails to connect tourists to the region’s art scene throughout the year. Visitors are encouraged to meet the artists, take art classes, see demonstrations and buy locally made products.
Choose from more than 10 itineraries or create an adventure by searching for a particular craft and picking a location by town or a specific region on BlueRidgeCraftTrails.com. A holiday guide is also available to find gift ideas from local artists and galleries.
Here is just a sample of the talent you’ll find on the Blue Ridge Craft Trails:
Waynesville, Haywood County, redmetal.net
Rachel David began learning metalwork in 2005. She went full-time in 2014 with a focus on furniture and home, architectural and sculptural objects. Rachel expanded a traditional technique called repoussé, an ornamental pattern developed through hammering into relief on the reverse side.
“This part of the country has such a high concentration of makers and really notable makers,” she says. “The Craft Trails does a really nice job of curating the most interesting into what could be a really great self-guided tour.”
Rachel sees visitors by appointment and participates in local open houses and studio tours; contact her through the website or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two Creeks Pottery
Hamptonville, Yadkin County, instagram.com
A scholarship for a pottery class at the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem gave Jessica Wright her start as a first-generation potter. Twenty years later, she’s creating small batch and custom ceramics and describes her practice as ever evolving.
Jessica likes to think of her pieces becoming someone’s favorite coffee cup, the baking dish they serve grandma's cobbler in or wine goblets used by newlyweds to share their first toast.
“In recent years there has been a resurgence of people who want these types of handcrafted items and who want to buy locally,” she says.
Visitors may contact Wright directly about her work through her social media channels. She holds an open studio sale every December.
Nathan and Mariella Favors
Husband and wife team Nathan and Mariella Favors work together to create one-of-a-kind wooden bowls with inlaid semi-precious gemstones. Most of the bowls are made from local wood, typically black walnut, maple, oak and rhododendron roots. After Nathan is finished with his woodwork, Mariella attaches amethyst, crystal tips, turquoise and other natural semi-precious gemstones to the rim or the inside of a crevice of the bowl.
“There’s a rich diversity of species of trees and there’s a rich history of minerals in this area,” Mariella says. “The fact that we merged them together is something that people respond positively to.”
The Favors give demonstrations and welcome visitors to view their gallery by appointment.
More North Carolina artists