#37 of 109 Asheville Things To Do

Southern Highland Craft & Guild

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Southern Highland Craft & Guild - Crafting Unique Experiences Daily
Written by: David Angotti
Staff Score:
4.5 / 5
The Bottom Line:

For artisan craft lovers, the Southern Highland Craft Guild and Folk Art Center offers daily demonstrations as well as unique shopping and galleries. A lovely day spent for those who love handmade crafts, both makers and enjoyers of the art alike.

- The SmokyMountains.com Local Expert Team

Located in east Asheville on the Blue Ridge Parkway, just a five-minute drive from downtown, you will find the Southern Highland Craft Guild and Folk Art Center.  One of Asheville’s most popular attractions for both vacationers and locals, the center showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary crafts of the Southern Appalachians and is home to three galleries, a museum, a library and the guild’s oldest craft shop, the Allanstand craft shop. Visitors may also enjoy live craft demonstrations daily in the Folk Art Center lobby, beginning in March each year.

Artists from Maryland to Alabama have come together to create a one-of-a-kind market for mountain craftspeople ever since the depression era 1930s.  Today it stands as one of the strongest craft organizations in the country.  With guild membership at nearly 900 makers selected by a jury for the high quality of design and craftsmanship in 293 counties of 9 southeastern states, continuing to inspire and lead the craft revival movement.

In fact, the guild plays a large role in the Southern Highlands craft economy through the operation of four craft shops and two annual craft expositions, with 70 years of craft fairs under their belt and going strong. Educational programming is another important element of the guild, done through integrated craft demonstrations at retail outlets and expos, free community events, and a wonderful public library located at headquarters. Solidifying and truly implementing their mission to cultivate the crafts and makers of the Southern Highlands for the purpose of shared resources, education, marketing, and conservation.

Celebrating the tradition of accessible markets, the guild is part of four operating shops in addition to the bi-annual craft fair. The shops are located in North Carolina, Asheville and Blowing Rock, with a range of handmade originals from Guild members. From salt-fired pottery to woven blankets, each work found at any of the galleries and shops is guaranteed to be handmade in America by a juried artisan. These uniquely distinct shops can be found at:

  • Folk Art Center
  • Biltmore Village
  • Tunnel Road
  • Moses Cone Manor

If you’re interested in one or both of their bi-annual craft fairs, they are held in July and October. While locals and visitors can find crafts at the numerous guild galleries, the fairs offer a unique opportunity in that they offer people the chance to connect and interact with the artists by purchasing directly from them on a face to face basis. For more information on the fairs, dates, admission, location, etc, be sure to visit the Southern Highlands Craft Guild website or inquire when visiting the folk art center in person.

Serving as visionaries to advocate that future generations value the design and function of traditional and modern crafts, make the Southern Highland Craft Guild Folk Art Center a stop on your Asheville adventure!

Insider Tip:

Free Admission and free parking – only closed on major holidays