I can speak for all of us at HandMade in America (HIA) when I say that we are very excited to represent at this year’s Craft Fair of Southern Highlands.  For four days every July and October the US Cellular Center is packed full of fine crafts from over 200 craft artists, selling their works of clay, fiber, glass, metal, and more.  Staff and volunteers of HandMade in America will be at a table to share our latest and greatest news, events, and programs.  This will be our first time representing at the Craft Fair of Southern Highlands.

Did you know that the Southern Highlands Craft Guild was chartered in 1930?  The Guild was created in response to the Great Depression as a way to help craftspeople and generate revenue in the Appalachian regions.  Fast forward 83 years, and the Guild is made up of almost 1,000 craftspeople from 293 counties, spanning 9 states!  They keep busy with many different educational programs, demonstrations, an entire library, 5 craft shops, and 2 of the most highly recognized craft fairs held every year.

 The first Craft Fair of Southern Highlands was in 1948 in Gatlinburg, TN.  It wasn’t until a few years later, in 1951 that they moved the Fair to Asheville, NC.  Back in those days the Fair was a full week-long event that lasted until 10:00 pm every night!  It’s hard to believe that people would’ve been more serious about craft 60 years ago than they are today.  Deb Schillo, Southern Highlands Craft Guild Archivist, explained that back in those days there would be people in lines extending far beyond of the doors to the Fair.  That was one reason the Guild added a second craft fair in the fall of 1960.  They have been offering two craft fairs per year ever since.

 Looking for something fun to do July 18th-21st?  Come down this week to US Cellular Center in Asheville, NC to see craft artistry represent this amazing Southern Highland region that is so rich in craft and culture.  Oh, and say hi to us at HandMade in America too!

Lindsey Mudge,

Operations Manager

HandMade in America


828-252-0121 x303

Craft Fair of Southern Highlands


Dates/Times: July 18th-21st

Thursday-Saturday 10am-6pm

Sunday 10am-5pm

Location: U.S. Cellular Center

87 Haywood St. Asheville, NC



Starting out right in 2013

January 9, 2013

I love making lists, so January is the most exciting time of year for me because it’s filled with exciting plans for the year to come. With twelve months ahead, it feels like there is so much potential for growth as an organization and endless opportunities for personal and artistic development all around. Most recently, we’ve been working on plans for exhibitions that are going up this week around Western North Carolina and if you have a chance to get out and see a little bit of the talent of WNC represented, it will definitely be worth your while!
We have several cases in the I-26 West Welcome Center that showcase the work of regional craft artists and information about various craft artist supportive organizations throughout WNC. This month, the cases will change to showcase an AWE (Appalachian Women Entrepreneurs) exhibit showcasing HandMade in America members who also participate in our AWE program and they will be displaying everything from ceramics to wall hangings. The Mars Hill Welcome Center (visitmadisoncounty.com) and the Folk Arts Center will both have cases of their own to fill with information about the goings-on of their respective organizations, and Western Carolina University will be changing out their cases as well. Come by to see what’s new at I-26 at Mile Marker 6, Mars Hill, NC 28754
Drew Reisinger, our Buncombe County Register of Deeds has invited us to do a quilt show at the downtown office for the second year in a row. Our last show–Under Cover–showcased some extremely talented quilters, including…
Laurel Reinhardt (innerlandscaping.com)
Kathy Spencer
Cheryl Kotecki (rcquilting.blogspot.com)
Caroline Manheimer (cmanheimer.wordpress.com)
Janice Maddox
Celtic Lass by Karen Hawkins
Sugar creamer set by Cathey Bolton
Our 2013 show, Pieced, should be no exception. We’ll take some pictures of the show and post them before the end of the month, so stay tuned…The Beverly-Hanks office is another location where we change out regular exhibitions, and this time around we are featuring Chris Perryman, a local woodworker whose craftsmanship definitely stands out in a community so rich with talented artisans. He makes furniture, dinner ware, candle holders, and jewelry, to name a few. Stop by the office to see Chris’ beautiful wares displayed: One Town Square Blvd., Suite 140, Asheville, NC 28803. (Learn more about Chris Perryman at www.goldsplinter.com)The Asheville Art Museum has a few amazing shows up right now. Check out their exhibitions page to see all of the great artists they have represented: http://www.ashevilleart.org/collections/exhibitions/
This is going to be a great year for HandMade, so thanks for sharing it with us!

Intersections Craft Club

In partnership with Handmade in America

Indigo/Shibori Workshop with Linda LaBelle

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

6:00 PM in the Forum

 Indigo is as old as time, mysterious and beautiful. Indigo is surrounded by myth and superstition, Indigo dyed fabrics clad both royalty and the working class. Indigo traveled the Silk Road from China to Italy (and back to Japan) it was grown, produced, worn and traded.

 In this workshop participants will learn how to make a green, eco-friendly and sustainable indigo vat. Using no harsh chemicals and virtually no odor you can use this technique to dye in your kitchen.

 Shibori is the Japanese term for creating a resist on cloth by folding, clamping, stitching, wrapping, pleating, knotting or tying. The resist areas will not take dye thus creating a pattern on the cloth. It is also known by the names, Bandy, Plangi and Tikrit and is practiced in Africa, China, Malaysia, Indonesia and India . It can be a simple as a tie-dyed T-shirt to very complex patterns taking hours or days to complete.


The Shibori workshop will cover four ancient resist techniques with a modern twist. After creating the resist patterns participants will dye their silk scarves in indigo.

With Christmas right around the corner this is the perfect workshop – A great how-to for making beautiful gifts!

 Linda LaBelle is an Asheville based weaver and natural-dyer. Linda has taught weaving techniques and both indigo and natural dyeing in India, Rwanda, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan , Mexico and Brooklyn, NY.

 $30 per adult which covers all materials and fees. A minimum of 10 students must register for the class to take place. Call 828-257-4530 to reserve your spot now.

Our Executive Director, Gwynne Rukenbrod is going to be teaching Best Practices for Artists tomorrow from 6-8pm here at HandMade. If you have never hear Gwynne speak, then you are really missing out.  I have lamented for many years that I didn’t have a true mentor in the world of Art and Business. Now that I am at HandMade and work for Gwynne, I have found a strong woman who is a mentor and role model.  I will be attending the Craft Lab to learn from her, and I hope that you come and join too.

But you don’t have to take my word for it. Every person in her last Craft Lab checked the “Very Useful the Me” box on the evaluation. The participants said, “Very glad I attended” and “Face pace, not boring. The presenter knew everything we needed.” One person even said it could be improved by “Being Longer.”  I know this sounds like shameless self-promotion, but I think it’s important for our members to know what a great resource they have and how your chances of success can be greatly improved by taking advantage of Craft Labs. In this economy, a crafter can’t just have good work at their craft anymore. It takes time, education, and business know how. Come let us help you and your business!

Gwynne Rukenbrod, My Mentor and Role Model

Gwynne’s accomplishments include being the Curator of Fine Craft at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, a nonprofit founded to advance education about he process, product, and history fo craft, from 2007-2010.  She is an accomplished glass artist, but has also served as Exe. Dir. of the International Society of Glass and Beadmakers, Art Curator of The Works, and the Director of the Short North Neighborhood Foundation.  Gwynne currently serves on various boards including, Energy Exchange, Blue Ridge National Heritage Area, the Public Art and Cultural Commission for the City of Asheville, American Made Alliance and the World Craft Council of North America.

HandMade in America is hosting the exhibition Craft as Object now through August 17, 2012.


This exhibition celebrates exceptionally made objects using traditional craft materials of clay, fiber, glass, metal, wood, and recycled materials.  Over 100 entries from all over Western North Carolina were juried, resulting in the 25 objects selected for the exhibition.

Juror’s Statement:

Whether traditional or progressive, these objects share a common characteristic. They are exceptional. Here is freedom on display. Contemporary makers seem equally at liberty and at ease shaping their media into well-known styles or inventing unprecedented combinations of form, purpose, and expression. Tiffany(esque) beakers. A timeless nightstand. A quilted inflatable ball. An impeccable teapot. Steel feathers. These objects illustrate the true independence of contemporary craft as it is practiced in our rich region and around the world. We have much to celebrate.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Object as Craft was juried by guest juror, Marthe LeVan, former art editor at Lark Books, and the staff at HandMade in America.  Marthe LeVan is intensely passionate about discovering, developing, and promoting good design. She is a partner in Mora designer jewelry, located on Walnut St. in Asheville, and offers freelance services for jewelers, publishers, and arts organizations. As editor for Lark Books, Marthe produced more than 60 titles. She founded Lark Jewelry and built it into a widely respected brand. Marthe is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College with a B.A. in Arts Administration and Art History. She was creative director at Blue Spiral 1 and curator for Harvey Littleton Studios. She is a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths and the Art Jewelry Forum.

 Featured this week:

  • The American Association of Woodturners: An International Invitational Exhibition of Turned or Sculpted Wood

  • Torqued & Twisted: Bentwood Today

  • In Our Own Words: Language as Craft

 Stay connected and view other exhibitions, workshops and events at HandMade in America Calendar. Submit your events for the HandMade in America calendar here.

The American Association of Woodturners: An International Invitational Exhibition of Turned or Sculpted Wood

The American Association of Woodturners: An International Invitational Exhibition of Turned or Sculpted Wood will be hosted by the Southern Highland Craft Guild at the Folk Art Center in Asheville, North Carolina, and will be one of the most prestigious exhibitions of turned or sculpted wood to be held in 2012. Twenty-six renowned artists from Canada, England, France, Germany, New Zealand, and the US have been selected to participate and represent the best wood art available.  The exhibition will run January 28 through May 13, 2012 in the Folk Art Center Main Gallery.

The Southern Highland Craft Guild is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

Folk Art Center

Milepost 382 Blue Ridge Parkway

Asheville, NC

(828) 298-7928


Free parking, free admission

Open daily 9am to 5pm

Torqued & Twisted: Bentwood Today

Torqued & Twisted: Bentwood Today will be hosted by The Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design February 10 through May 29, 2012. Co-curated by Katie Lee and Tom Loeser, this exhibition explores the work of nine furniture makers and sculptors who use the technique of bending wood in innovative, unusual and eloquent ways. Wood bending is typically accomplished through one of three approaches steaming, laminating or greenwood bending. The artists/designers in this exhibition push the limits of wood bending to create extraordinary functional and sculptural works of art that are conceptually challenging and expand our understanding and expectations of wood as a material. This exhibit was funded, in part, by a Grassroots Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts; administered by the Arts Council of Henderson County.

The Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design

1181 Broyles Road

Hendersonville, NC

(828) 890-2050


Free Admission

Monday- Friday 12PM – 5PM

In Our Own Words: Language as Craft

In Our Own Words: Language as Craft, hosted by HandMade in America, is a collection with distinctly different artistic process featuring eleven local craft artists sharing the results of a creative experiment. Personally-resonant words were chosen by each artist as the impetus for making the object. “We find not the phrasing to describe our work, but rather the craft to depict our language”, says one of the artists.  From fine furniture and woven sculpture to exquisitely created wall pieces, In Our Own Words is a playful exhibit with visual, verbiage and vital messages. The exhibition will run February 13 through May 4, 2012, at HandMade in America Gallery.

HandMade in America Gallery

125 South Lexington Avenue, Suite 101

Asheville, NC

beside Storm Restaurant on Hilliard Avenue

(828) 252-0121


Free admission

Open Monday – Friday 10am – 5pm

We want to share three HIA

events with you!

There is a big week ahead for February 13th-17th and we want to invite all to come join us at the HandMade in America Gallery Monday for HIA’s Craft Lab series, Wednesday for HIA’s Textile Study Group, and Friday for the Opening Reception of In Our Own Words: Language as Craft.

*Also don’t miss out on the 25th National Grove Park Inn Arts & Craft Conference and the Arts & Craft Heritage Week February 12-18th. Mayor Terry Bellamy recently signed an official proclamation designating the week of February 12th-18th as Arts & Crafts Heritage Week. Follow the link above to find the schedule of Arts & Craft Heritage Week.

Monday Feb 13 Craft lab 6-8pm @ HandMade in America Gallery

How to Tell Your Story.

Telling stories is how we identify, learn, and share our history. If your goal is to educate, persuade, or simply connect in a meaningful way with a particular audience, storytelling is the single most powerful communication tool available to you and can be your best selling tool.

Come learn how to tell your story as a craft maker. Executive Director Gwynne Rukenbrod will teach you the importance of learning how to tell your unique story and hone your skills at story telling. Gwynne will talk about the three steps in a good story and group exercises will lead you through each step of YOUR story.

Wednesday Feb 15 Textile Study Group 5:30-7 pm

Tencel, Bamboo, Rayon, Modal…What are they really?
Led by Karen Donde

Manufactured, regenerated fibers come from natural plant sources, but are extruded as filaments in manufacturing. This presentation will focus on the content of these yarns, how they are processed, and the performance properties of each. It will include samples of the yarns and products woven with them.

Karen Donde weaves garments, accessories, and home textiles for sale and teaches a variety of weaving classes and workshops at Sutherland Handweaving Studio in the Cotton Mill Studios in Asheville’s River Arts District. All are welcome.

Friday Feb.17th 5:30-8pm @ HandMade in America Gallery .

In Our Own Words: Language as Craft Opening Reception

Artists describe finished works with carefully selected language, but can craft depict language when words are chosen before the act of physical expression? Inspiration was found by a community of local WNC artists, by asking just that. February 13 through May 4, 2012, HandMade in America presents a collection with distinctly different artistic process. In Our Own Words: Language as Craft features eleven local craft artists that share the results of this creative experiment.

Personally-resonant words chosen by each artist as the impetus for making the object. “We find not the phrasing to describe our work, but rather the craft to depict our language”, says one of the artists. From fine furniture and woven sculpture to exquisitely created wall pieces, In Our Own Words is a playful exhibit with visual, verbiage and vital messages.

Artists featured in this exhibition are: Fatie Atkinson, Caryl Brt, Hayley Davison, Melissa Engler, Carla and Greg Filippelli, Wayne Fowler, Susan Link, Journel Thomas, Jenna Weston, and Jamie Womack. Opening Reception will be Friday February 17 from 5:30–8 pm at the HandMade in America Gallery at 125 South Lexington Avenue, Suite 101, beside Storm Restaurant on Hilliard Avenue.

Here is a sneak peek of some words and definitions that inspired a few of the exhibit’s pieces

"Inspiration"by Fatie Atkinson and Wayne Fowler

Inspiration: [in-spuh-rey-shuhn] stimulation to do creative work: stimulation for the human mind to creative thought or to the making of art.

"Unfettered" by Caryl Brt

Unfettered: [uhn-fet-er] to release from fetters. to free from restraint; liberate.

"Disclosure" by Melissa and Yvonne Engle

Disclosure: [dih-skloh-zher] To make known; reveal or uncover: allow to be seen; lay open to view: open up or unfold. 

"Fire" by Susan Link

Fire: [fahyuhr] 1. kindle, ignite 2. stir,enliven (the imagination)

Talk to the artists and get their explanations and perspectives at the Opening Reception Friday February 17th, 5:30-8pm.  See you soon!