Friday, March 20, 2009
Folk Art Center and Allanstand Craft Shop
On the Blue Ridge Parkway, just a few miles north of Asheville, sits the Folk Art Center, home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. It is surrounded by pines and dogwoods in a peaceful relaxing setting.
In the 1930's when the Parkway was just being built, a joining of the National Park Service and the Southern Highland Craft Guild took place. The Park Service wanted to create a facility to interpret the Appalachian mountain culture on the Parkway. In 1980 the Craft Center opened and now houses galleries, a library, archives, craft shop and information center/bookstore for the Blue Ridge Parkway and National Park Service.
The center is filled with all sorts of traditional and contemporary crafts of the Appalachian region. They also sponsor educational demonstrations and programs. During the summer months you can watch crafts being made in wood, textiles or clay. The guild membership stands at over 900 artisans selected by a jury for the high quality of design and craftsmanship reflected in their work.
I have shopped at the craft shop in Blowing Rock at the Moses Cones Estate for gifts for years. I love their jewelry, cards, pottery and wood works. Some of my favorite artists have been with the guild for a number of years and I have enjoyed seeing their work evolve over time.
The main gallery hosts changing exhibitions during the year. Check with their schedule online for free demonstrations and current exhibits. The Allanstand Craft Shop located at Milepost 382 on the Parkway, is open year round. Their phone number is 828.298.7928. Their web site lists the other galleries and shops in the state as well as one in Kentucky and another in Tennessee. Check out www.craftguild.com for all the information on the shops.