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Dig into North Carolina’s artisanal roots for inspired indoor and outdoor living
Mountains In Bloom Garden Festival
You don’t need a green thumb to appreciate this blossoming festival, but you may want to break out the camera and put those photography skills to good use. For the past 12 years, the Mountains In Bloom Garden Festival has brought together locals and visitors from all over the region for a weekend that celebrates the natural beauty found in the Highlands mountain resort community.
The multiple-day event features a medley of garden activities that will make plant-lovers bloom with excitement. Visitors can look forward to a flower show and photography competition, a home and garden market, and a flower-themed lecture by New Orleans author Beverly Reese Church, to name a few. Want to harvest ideas for your own garden? Then grab a ticket to the Garden Tour and visit five private mountain landscapes of the Bowery Road area. Each property has its own special theme along with a variety of plantings and hardscapes, from shrubs and perennials to waterfalls and gazebos.
While you’re there, be sure to visit The Bascom, a visual arts center on a stunning six-acre campus that will benefit from the weekend’s activities. —Evans Craddock
Times vary. $65-$80. www.mountainsinbloom.com
The Western North Carolina Craft, Architecture, & Design Expo
June 25 & 26
Whether you’re a design buff, into one-of-a-kind furnishings, or simply like to snoop through other people’s homes, look no further than HandMade: The Western North Carolina Craft, Architecture, & Design Expo. Held in the hands-on handicraft town of Asheville, the expo features artists, designers, architects, and other pros who are sure to inspire.
Attend one of the many workshops available during the two-day event—from a “how to” on budgets and contracts to “Crafts in the Landscape”—or join one of the guided tours to explore a variety of unique abodes. Each visits three locations with signature handmade style, and most of the homeowners are on site to share their personal experiences. —Evans Craddock
$15 single day; $25 both days; $25 tour. www.designexpo.handmadeinamerica.org
Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands
The Asheville Civic Center never looks more becoming (on the inside, mind you) than when it’s adorned with creations by Southern Highland Craft Guild members during the biannual craft fair. The quality and craftsmanship of the pieces shown by more than 200 artists attract collectors, museum buyers, and gallery owners. Novices get a crash course in Appalachian art in its many forms and a chance to invest in regional culture. In its 63rd year, the craft fair is the quintessential representation of handmade designs in clay, fiber, leather, metal, paper, wood, mixed media, and jewelry. Demonstrations by artists and live mountain music performances bring home the experience. —Rita Larkin
Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. $7; children under 12 are free. www.southernhighlandguild.org
Penland School of Crafts Benefit Auction
August 13 & 14
Considered one of the most important craft collecting events in the Southeast, this annual benefit auction features the sale of more than 200 works in metal, clay, letterpress, and more. Scout your favorite pieces during the Friday night cocktail party, exhibition preview, and silent auction, and return to the historic school on Saturday to have coffee at the studios with Penland’s resident artists and rev up for the lunch and live auction at Penland Gallery.
$200 Friday, noon-11 p.m.; $250 Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. $375 weekend pass. www.penland.org
August 20-September 12
So you’ve already seen the interior of America’s largest residence? How about its ever-evolving landscape, particularly summer’s spectacular flower carpet? Located on the South Terrace for the third year, the one-of-a-kind botanical area rug will cover 14,400 square feet in a John LaFarge stained-glass window-inspired design with more than 100,000 plants and flowers. And be sure to revisit the house, as newly restored rooms have reopened and specialized tours have been added.
$55, $65 night tours, children under 17 are free; reservations required. www.biltmore.com
Toe River Studio Tour
June 11-13, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Unless your particular superpower is teleportation, you probably aren’t going to see all of the 150-plus artists showing and selling their handiwork during the Toe River Studio Tour. No matter, you wouldn’t want to skip the scenic drives that crisscross Yancey and Mitchell counties, revealing contemporary and traditional art treasures at every turn. To start your road trip, check in at the Spruce Pine TRAC gallery to grab a map and see a sampling of works by participating artists.
River District Artists Studio Stroll
June 12 & 13, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Reborn from manufacturing plants that fell on hard times, the River Arts District is now an inspirational melting pot for dozens of artists working in a variety of media. Step into the creative process during the district’s 15th annual self-guided stroll through the repurposed warehouses along the banks of the French Broad River. Watch as a canvas fulfills its destiny, witness an enormous metal sculpture come to life, or simply shake hands with a local art icon. If you find a piece you can’t live without, buy it. After this stroll, you may just become a collector.
Downtown Boone Art Crawl
First Friday each month, 5:30 p.m.
Kick off the first weekend of every month with an art crawl through the quaint town of Boone. Peruse works ranging from traditional crafts to paintings and photography.
Art in the Park Series
June 12, July 17, August 14, September 11, & October 2
Now in its 48th year, Art in the Park showcases pieces from local and regional artists. Enjoy downtown Blowing Rock while you shop handcrafted jewelry, pottery, photography, and paintings from more than 90 artisans.