Asheville – Every February for the past 35 years, arts and crafts collectors and bungalow owners from across America have journeyed to the historic Omni Grove Park Inn overlooking Asheville, North Carolina. For three days, starting February 17th, the National Arts & Crafts Shows will feature antiques and contemporary items, seminars, workshops, historic house tours, and demonstrations celebrating America’s only truly original style. It is always an exhilarating show, bringing many visitors to the area.
There is so much to choose from—so many fascinating exhibits, demonstrations, tours, workshops, and educational seminars—that one really needs to plan ahead to be sure not to miss their favorites. As Director Emeritus Bruce Johnson says, “In just three days, you will see more, do more, and learn more about the American Arts and Crafts movement than you could anywhere else in an entire year.” It is a dazzling show well worth attending.
Collectors and enthusiasts alike can expect to discover vintage antiques as well as handcrafted contemporary items in the Arts & Crafts style, including new and antique jewelry, rugs, furniture, pottery, tiles, artwork, furniture, and metalware, all showcasing hand craftsmanship and simple yet elegant designs. Thousands will be shopping in the booths on the 8th and 11th floors of the Omni Grove Park Inn. Some have traveled from afar to bring their stunning items to the show, such as Dard Hunter from Ohio and Jack Pap from Connecticut or others, such as Rachelle Davis and Amy Brandenburg, are part of the Southern Highland Craft Guild and create their pieces in this area year round. Throughout the weekend, there are kickoff parties, receptions, and fun events for all to attend. This is an educational conference focusing on the American Arts and Crafts Movement. It includes three separate shows: the Antiques Show, the Contemporary Craftsfirms Show, and the Books, Magazines, and More Show. Renowned authors will be there to sign the stunning tabletop books. People come to this conference not just to buy but to learn, so the educational focus of the conference takes precedence over everything else. The Arts & Crafts Conference includes six seminars, walking tours, demonstrations, small group discussions, and the popular Pre-Conference Workshops.
The pre-conference workshops provide students with the chance to demonstrate and participate in the “head, heart, and hand” philosophy and learn from a Roycroft Master Artisan. Making their return to instruct for their workshops are Laura Wilder, Frank Glapa, Natalie Richards, and Ron Van Ostrand. All instructors are Roycroft Master Artisans. Wilder will return with her popular “Arts & Crafts Printmaking” class and Glapa with his “Coppersmithing: Arts & Crafts Style” class. Natalie Richards will once again instruct those at the beginner and intermediate levels in embroidery, while experienced instructor Ron Van Ostrand will teach techniques in the production of art metal items. Be sure to sign up early, as some of these specialized workshops get sold out early on.
There are a number of other arts and crafts activities to consider away from the hotel. On Saturday, February 18th, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m., the staff at the Asheville Art Museum will hold a behind-the-scenes exhibit on the drawings of Douglas Ellington and Richard Sharp Smith, two of Asheville’s most prominent architects. The Asheville Art Museum’s architectural drawing collection has more than 4,900 drawings and approximately 2,000 other records and ephemera. Registration is required at ashevilleart.org or by calling 828.253.3227 x124.
A fundraiser for the Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County will take place on Saturday, February 18th, and Sunday, February 19th, from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. Tickets for this are $35 each. Five homes will be open to the public. This year the Arts and Crafts Home Tour will include historic homes in the Grove Park neighborhood that are examples of design principles and construction practices of the early 20th century. Participants should be able to walk several city blocks and negotiate stairs and public walkways. Docents will be available in each home to answer questions. The tour will happen rain or shine, so be sure to bring a raincoat or umbrella as needed. Information can be found in the conference packet, or call (828) 254-2343 for more information.
The A&C Conference shows at the Omni Grove Park Inn are open on Friday, February 17th, from 1:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.; on Saturday, February 18th, from noon–6:00 p.m.; and on Sunday, February 19th, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Adult admission for all three days is only $10; student admission is $5, and there is no charge for children under the age of 14. Outdoor parking at the Grove Park Inn is free, as are the first three hours of indoor garage parking. For information on these and for additional information, go to www.Arts-CraftsConference.com or call the office of the National Arts and Crafts Conference at (828) 628-1915.