By Katie Benfield
Ever since 1930, the Southern Highland Craft Guild has been a nonprofit organization made up of artists from all over the Appalachian Mountains. The Craft Guild has multiple locations with over 900 artisans involved, providing communities with the ability to participate and become educated on arts and crafts throughout the Southern Highlands.
The Craft Guild constantly pursues its mission of cultivating the crafts for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. With several locations throughout Asheville, and one location right here in the High Country, the Craft Guild is doing just that.
The Moses Cone Manor, located at Milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway near Blowing Rock, is home to one of these locations. The Parkway Craft Center, one of the five retail stores associated with the SHCG, has been open seasonally since 1951, offering the High Country community with the opportunity to learn and participate as much as possible in crafts.
Throughout the functioning months, March through November, there are various artistic demonstrations, ranging from wood to clay to fiber, all from the artists themselves.
“The artists are out there 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. daily, during their demonstration time period,” Ellen Schaller, Shop Manager at the Parkway Craft Center, said. “However, they do take lunch at their own discretion.”
An upcoming demonstration is by the renowned Sandy Adair, who is professionally talented in fiber and needle tapestry weaving, from July 17-19.
“What she does are needle tapestry weaving, and they are typically landscape scenes,” Schaller said. “It’s done with a large needled where she chooses the different colors of yarn and things, and she weaves them through to create the image.”
At the artist demonstration, according to Schaller, visitors will be able to view her completed artwork while also being able to watch her work on a piece in progress. She will be explaining to the audience how she utilizes the colors and lays them over each other and gives the piece dimension.
“Sandy certainly has a passion for the environment,” Schaller said, “and for heritage craft, and it shows in every aspect of her work.”
For more information on the Southern Highland Craft Guild, visit the website.
For more information about the Moses Cone Manor, call 828-295-7938.