The Crafts Fair of the Southern Highlands Craft Guild is a wonderful showcase for the best artists in the Appalachians. Twice a year, in July and October, the Southern Highland Craft Guild presents this outstanding exhibit of traditional as well as contemporary crafts and artwork at the US Cellular Center. I never tire of going to it. The fair has exhibited work by Guild artists since 1948. Many of the artists display their work year after year, and you can see how they develop and change over time. But there are always surprises too. My experience over the years of going to this exhibit is that it’s part great shopping for one of a kind gifts and part fine art exhibit. The level of the work can be art museum quality and is just a joy to explore. With the work of over 200 juried artists being shown and sold, there is something for every artistic taste. The rich diversity and talent attracts collectors and gallery owners as well as shoppers.
A Tiny Sampling of What’s in Store:
One of the artists returning for this show is Wendy Seaward. She calls her stunning intricate jewelry “intuitive beading”.
Her work ranges from very affordable one-of-a-kind earrings to amazing beaded masks and neck piece collages of stones and beads.
Harry Hearn is another artist returning for this show. He posed with his incredible clay works for me during the July Crafts Fair.
Rebecca Kempson’s intricate and incredible life-like dolls will be there as well and they are totally riveting to look at.
The guild also hosts craft demonstrations throughout the fair in keeping with their traditional mission of educating the public about the history of crafts in this area of the country and the techniques used. Watch George McCollum create a white oak basket from tree to completed basket. Dede Styles will be demonstrating spinning and the use of natural plant dyes to color yarn. There will be demonstrations of less traditional crafts as well.
And there’s music too! Mountain musicians perform live on the arena stage. Hot Duck Soup will play old time music with the help of “kazoos, slide whistles, banjos, guitars, ukes, an antique cornet, washtub bass and the Cacophonium” on Friday the 18th. Other performers will play everything from gospel, to bluegrass, to American Swing-grass.
Tickets to the 66th Annual Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands are $8 at the door. Children under 12 are admitted for free. Hours are Thurs-Sat 10AM to 6PM, Sunday 10AM-5PM.