Local Obsessions

Asheville Is for Crafters and Makers

by Team Fathom
Photo courtesy of Explore Asheville.

Presented in partnership with Explore Asheville.

Asheville and the surrounding area have long been a hotbed of craft and creativity, as much today as in the past. Southern Highland Craft Guild has been preserving the history of Southern Appalachian traditions — quilts, ceramics, woodworking, textiles, jewelry, and more — for almost a century. Its Folk Art Center in the Blue Ridge Parkway is home to a permanent collection, temporary exhibitions, daily demonstrations, and Allanstand Craft Shop, the oldest in America. The guild has a few other outposts: The one in Biltmore Village is housed in the Art Deco Biltmore-Oteen Bank that was built in 1928.

The thriving community of makers and crafters working today include East Fork (ceramics), Batton Clayworks (ceramics), Hayden Wilson (glass), Everyday Oil (skincare), and Andy McFate (wood furniture and other pieces) – to name just a few of the area’s many glass artists, potters and ceramicists, jewelers, and weavers.

River Arts District is packed with galleries, studios, and shops. Visitors can see more than 80 artists at work in a variety of media and formats: glazed porcelain, woodworking, basket making, ceramics, textiles, sculpture, book binding, glass blowing, and more at Foundation Studios. Check their website for special events, markets, and classes. Cross the street to Marquee, the expansive warehouse where artists and vendors sell their pieces. Just up the road is Odyssey Clayworks, which offers pottery and ceramic classes and workshops.

Even the synthesizers are handmade and artisan around here. Moog, on Broadway Street in Downtown Asheville, offers free tours on weekdays. Not far away is Citizen Vinyl, where visitors can see how vinyl records are pressed.

For craft that has withstood the test of time, check out the offerings at the area’s many awesome vintage shops, like Wildflowers Vintage, House of Kismet, Atomic Furnishings, Antique Tobacco Barn.

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