It is the time of the year where American made crafts and handmade crafts are honored by states and cities with the celebration of the ‘American Craft Week’. I had a chance to attend one of the craft festival organized in Asheville, called “Art in the Park”. This was an opportunity for the local artists to exhibit their creative work, learn about the intricacies of designing the craft items, and have a chat with them on the time it takes to make a handmade item and bring it to the market.

The timing was perfect – it is the fall season, the city is buzzing with tourists hailing fromasheville different states and cities to view the wonderful display of leaves changing colors among the mountains, valleys, and waterfalls.

The Art in the Park, though small, was well organized to allow people to stroll leisurely through their favorite stalls, stop by for a chat with the artist and buy their products. The uniqueness of this event compared to the others were that these were juried handmade products that spoke of a detailed process. For example, the art of etching on a tile, embroidering on a handbag or a pillow cover, hand-sewing tissue paper box covers, purses and slings, the art of jewelry making, the carvings on wooden items, hand-knitting stoles and sweaters and scarves for the winter season etc. All around, there were smiling faces of shop owners who welcomed everyone to their stall .

I was particularly attracted by a smiling  woman of 70+ years who made hand-woven handbags, pillow covers, trivets, pot holders, shawls, and scarves. Her display of goods was simple, yet the products had a touch of elegance, one that is achieved by several years of expertise in handmade products.  I liked the way she talked about her work and the enthusiasm to make more handmade things.

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Lessons well learned, on how you can choose to pursue what you like to do and achieve it. I admire the spirit of the artisans and the “American Craft Week’. Wishing all the artisans a great “American Craft Week”. 

Blog contributed by: Arthi Sridharan, Marketing Professional, North Carolina

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