In its 72nd year, the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands returns to downtown Asheville’s U.S. Cellular Center.
The fair this year will include nearly 160 makers who will fill both the concourse and arena levels of the venue, makers exhibit a variety of craft ranging from contemporary to traditional in works of clay, wood, metal, glass, fiber, natural materials, paper, leather, mixed media, and jewelry.
The four-day event takes place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily starting on Thursday, July 18 and runs through July 21. The final day of the show, Sunday, July 21, the fair will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
The Summer Edition of the Fair will include 26 invited guest makers from neighboring craft guilds. Meet artists from KY Crafted, Piedmont Craftsmen, TN Crafts and Carolina Designer Craftsmen.
There will also be a range of craft demonstrations with interactive activities for visitors, and mountain musicians performing live on the arena stage daily.
2019 Feature Maker: Zan Barnes
The feature maker for 2019 is potter Zan Barnes from Dillsboro.
Growing up in her parents pottery studio in the mountains of North Carolina, ceramics has been a tactile interaction all of Barnes' life. She finished her masters of Fine Arts in Ceramics at the University of North Texas May 2014 and currently makes pots at Riverwood Pottery.
"Every dish that passed through my hands as a child was made by my father," Barnes said. "Pottery was never the untouched piece on the top shelf of the china cabinet; it was the much loved mug that you dig for every morning because somehow the coffee just tastes better out of that one. I want my work to have that same immediacy of being handled or interacted with every day of someone’s life. When I love a piece of pottery, my first instinct is to pick it up, touch it, feel it, see how it fits in my hand, talk to it on the most intimate level, skin to skin. I can wish for nothing more than for my work to invite that same easy interaction."
Zan's work showcases a firing technique called soda firing. During the firing she dissolves soda ash into water and spray it into the kiln. The soda boils away into vapor and reacts with the silica in the clay to make a glaze on the surface of the pots. Because the soda vapor is carried through the kiln on the flame no two pieces ever look exactly the same. The dynamic flashing on the surface and iconic orange peel texture are all a product of the soda.