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History of Arts and Crafts in Western North Carolina

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American Arts & Crafts Live On Here in WNC

When visiting our gallery, visitors are often surprised at the range of mountain arts and crafts that we have on display. When they say, “You have some really good artwork in here…”, we always respond, “That’s because we have some really great local artists.”

Currently Mountain Made is proud to present the arts and crafts of 150 artists!

Asheville and the surrounding WNC region is “slightly” famous for our professional art communities because  the arts and crafts movement  has a long and rich history that can be traced back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

During early 20th century Western North Carolina was experiencing serious economic and social changes as it underwent a transition from farm-based communities to more industrial society.

Many traditional craftspeople and artisans found themselves struggling to adapt to these changes and to find ways to support themselves and their families.

In response to these challenges, a group of artists, craftspeople, and educators came together to form the Penland School of Craft in the Blue Ridge Mountains of near Bakersville, NC.

The school, which was founded in 1929, is dedicated to preserving and promoting traditional crafts and to providing education and training in a range of artistic and craft disciplines:

“Penland School of Craft is a national craft education center dedicated to the creative life. Penland offers total-immersion workshops in sixteen beautifully-equipped studios along with artist residencies, a gallery and visitors center, and community programs.”

Over the years, the Penland  has played a key role in revitalizing, training and promoting various types of arts and crafts in and around the region.

It has also attracted students and instructors from all over the world and has become a national hub for the production and sale of American handmade crafts, including pottery, textiles, woodworking, and metalworking.

Today, the arts and crafts movement in Western North Carolina is alive and well, with a vibrant community of professional artists and craftspeople who are dedicated to preserving traditional techniques and styles and to producing high-quality, handmade crafts for sale to the public in galleries like Mountain Made.

If you are interested, we invite you to come by and check out all the locally made arts and crafts in our gallery in downtown Asheville.

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