The Show Promoters Blog
Click for news and show updates.
Small Beginnings :
The Mountain Artisans Art &
Craft Shows started in Macon County in 1987.
Only 8 artisans exhibited at the first Christmas craft
show in Franklin. We never imagined that, down the
road, we were headed to the wonderful Ramsey
Center on the Western Carolina University campus in
Cullowhee, North Carolina!
It is just a dream come
true. As the years have flown by, more and more artisans
wanted a good place to sell their hand work and
So many of our small
businesses have been sent overseas but there are no
imports here. The southern craftsman is alive and
well in this area. Many of the heritage crafts
were necessary for everyday survival .
pine needle baskets, blacksmithing, clay art, folk
dolls, corn shuck flowers, broom corn brooms, wood
toys, and primitive furniture
now enrich our lives.
.You will find it all here.
Art and Crafts Shows provide a
marketplace for customers and artisan to meet. It is an amazing
collection under one roof. You would have to visit dozens
of shows to
find what I have gathered at one place.
Cullowhee, North Carolina is home
to the Western Carolina University. On the campus is the Ramsey
Center arena that boasts 18,000 square feet of climate controlled
comfort for everyone. A great set up crew makes this big event
happen for me two times each year.
Quaint Cullowhee Valley nestles off Highway 107
that runs up to Cashiers, North Carolina from Sylva. It is a
stop off the Southern
Highroads Trail highway.
All around are big, soft mountains. A foot bridge crosses the Cullowhee Creek to get
to the show from the far\parking lot. It is peaceful to your soul to be here.
Every year, I buzz around
visiting many of the areas craft shows (sometimes three or four a day!) to find these unique artisans. I hand out information and get to know as many
as possible. Not every craft is right for this area but I feel
confident each exhibitor selected is outstanding in their field.
Christmas is coming !
The 26th annual 'Hard Candy Christmas '
arts /crafts show is just a memory . It was the best
show yet . I am gathering the signs from the road and sorting
out the store- away room for the winter.
It is time to prepare for the Christmas
seasons in the mountains .
It brings to mind the celebration of Christmas in our big family that included a stocking
with apples, oranges and hard candy. A true "mountain Christmas
tradition ". The best gifts were handmade with love. I have
brought this spirit to life again with the finest local
and regional artisans at our shows this year.
I am leaving up the story of the 'Hard Candy
Christmas ' until the 'Summertime ' show begins to fill up
99% of the artists are in the building's main
arena but a few exhibitors prefer to be outside.
Outside Exhibitors for
'Hard Candy Christmas'
The sidewalk leading up to the big Catamount door entrance
has a sample
of the quality artisans inside. Look for:
BREAKING NEWS: The glass blowing teacher from the
Southwestern Georgia University ,Charles Wells , will be
demonstrating and educating us on the art of glass blowing ! The
children will be enchanted as he shapes a ornament before their
eyes ! His creations will be for sale .(Tadashi Torii (master
glass artist ) graduated from this school ,will be inside with
his collection . )
- Doreyl Ammons, Catchthespirit who will be demonstrating pastel paintings,
preparing some new creations for this year's show. Look for
small limited edition fine art prints under non-reflective
glass on a stand. The art includes details from
her new mural: trillium, larkspur, butterflies, birds, horses
and groundhogs. There will be townscapes, landscapes
and even Santa's!
- Wesley Angel's
blacksmith creations will be on the corner. His
hand forged candlestick twists are favorites for the holidays. He
has added mirrors and nature designs in candle holders too. He will be showing some of his skills as he
demonstrates this vanishing heritage craft.
- His daughter, Colleen Angel ,is
very talented too. She will be showing off her painted
cheese boxes, and furniture. Look for her
personalized/dated wood Christmas ornaments!
- Right beside them is Ken Di Rico's Smoky Mountain
delicious kettle popcorn. (I sample popcorn from
many places and his is "tops").
- John Bauknecht BearNecessitieswill be back with
his chain saw carved bears. He has designed them
and signs. He has walking sticks, too. Brother
Fred will be
demonstrating carving and always sells whatever he is carving
at the show. (Listen for his boom box playing out favorite
- Flo Smiley's Wild Mountain Crafts
is new this year with
her rock candles. They add a warm glow and rustic touch with
no drips. Her dream catchers really do catch bad
dreams so check them out.
- John Bowen's
personalized home signs that set on little piers
were popular last November. Get ready to order more for
your second cabin or hard-to-buy-for friends.
- The Kim Carswell family will be
bringing a good display of wood crafts . (A lantern made
from a canning jar?)?
- Shari Reaves is new this year with
the corn bags that can be micro waved or frozen for relief
of pain. Her mother will be making handmade scarves.
- Let's see what Kathy and Keith Cirka BackwoodsBakey will be cooking up to take home and enjoy.
They have nutritious breads and cookies. They use the
finest organic ingredients .Look for them on facebook.com/BackwoodsBakeryandCakeworks
- Jennifer Clem makes whimsical
jewelry from vintage items .You are going to like her
- Michele Allen's dried apples
and orange ropes will be back .She sold out on Friday last
year and promises to have enough for both days .
- Jim Gunter is an artisan who takes
the natural rocks of the area and carves them into works of
art ..Welcome Jim.
- The Hiland family will be selling metal
art .They are bringing stick down Christmas theme reindeer,
trees and more! See for yourself at
- The talented Alger family will be
coming. Son ,Micah , is building barn wood tables and rustic
candleholders and accessories !
Inside Exhibitors :
The entrance tunnel has some exciting
First artisan inside the door is favored potter, Sue Malsnee. She has many area collectors of her work. They will be glad to find
her newest designs and original glazes.
Larry Haskett and Evelyn
working overtime shaping lots of fresh mountain greenery
wreaths to sell at this show. They weave holly, mistletoe and creeping pine found up
on the mountain into each one. He is going to have swags
and table arrangements ,too. Larry's tree farm,
A&E, provides the
"Hard Candy" Frasier Fir tree that we enjoy in the
Update : The tree has been chosen for this
year's show. My daughter and I spent a beautiful fall morning at
A&E tree farm in Little Canada . I wanted them all
but we finally picked the right one . It will be delivered
to the building to be tenderly decorated .It will set the stage for the show ! )
note :When I was growing up , our tree was a
cedar from the roadside or bramble field across the branch .
Only' rich' folks had a 'bought' tree . I will never forget the
smell of that heavenly tree . Or, the first string of bubble
light s my oldest brother brought back from 'the war' . We
had paper chains glued together with flour and water paste. And
the popcorn ropes took days to make but were traditional .I
remember when cranberries made the A&P store . We had red ropes
that year everywhere ! Back to the upcoming show:
- No one makes folk art like Bobby
Bearden, creator of
kerosene can creatures and other recycled inventions. He will
be bringing his newest garden art.
- Dogwood Crafters , from
Dillsboro, will be selling samples from their unique shop.
They feature handcrafts from the mountain area, also.
- Anita Walling's Clay
Alchemy has clay and
porcelain pinch pots. (You are going to love her
- A new talent in our area is Joshua
Grant from Whittier. This young man makes and plays
handcrafted banjoes! Wait! The banjos are made
from... gourds ! You are not going to believe
this ! If you ever thought to learn, here is your chance.
- Harold SimsCatman2will be taking
donations for his famous no kill cat shelter . Each year he
adopts many homeless felines to good homes .Please donate
- On the corner is Ken and Martha
Campbell's place. We just heard that Martha has passed
away after a sudden illness. All prayers and cards
are appreciated for Ken. But ,he will not miss
this show . He will
be exhibiting his trivet key keepers and fold down
- Ornament collectors , you have
come to the right place :
- You may have
seen the two snowmen buddies
riding in the little wagon on our promotion ads. This is
part of my private collection of poly clay sculpture of
artist Diane Nunn Small Wonders Clay. She was an
exhibitor with us before the show moved to Cullowhee. I
am so happy to have her back as the featured artist this year. She will have a good selection of ornaments, pins and
miniatures. Welcome to Cullowhee, Diane!
- Another holiday favorite, who
only comes in November, is Linda Barton with her felt
ornaments. She will have school themes as well as other
- A fine mountain artisan is Debbie
Trantham Fiber Dream Santa's. She raises
Cotswold sheep. Their unusual wool looks like curly beards
that end up on her life size Appalachian
Father Christmas dolls and ornaments . There will be a
spinning wool demonstration at her booth, too. (Last year, I purchased two of her hand knitted tams for some special girls.
They wore them all winter!)
- Barbara Keyes is a Georgia
artist and long time friend. Her creations are
have talked her into coming with her Christmas ornaments
and little paintings. Welcome, Barbara!
- Lori Cagle ,an artist who tole
paints ornaments, will be adding rag rugs to her
display this year.
- We finally found a Christmas
decorations maker! She is Valerie Holden. Her
table pieces and wreaths will make your house so festive. Welcome Valerie to Cullowhee.
- Another wreath maker from
Rutherfordton County is Susan Thomas. She has all year
designs, not just Christmas.
- Ashley Saunders makes
hand "marbled" Christmas
ball ornaments. They make the perfect office gift.
- Remember Vikki Tabor's big lighted,
wrapped Christmas boxes a few years back ? If you missed
getting one, she will be back with a bigger
- David Teachout is an egg
sculpture extraordinaire .He uses goose eggs for
Christmas to carve the nativity scenes .He will be
demonstrating his craft and selling his ornaments; the
likes you have never seen !
- Good live holiday music puts
everyone in the spirit!
- There will be live guitar
music floating from the fingers of Macon County's
Ronnie Evans. He will be playing old
and new holiday
tunes and selling his cds.
The pottery section includes :
- Mike & Cindi Hart's
Stoneware Pottery with
the pinecone imprints will be here. Collectors will not
have to drive far to add to their collection.
- Jo Lynn Matthews is a talented
potter coming over from Bryson City.
- Kim Ross has hand built and
wheel thrown pottery.
We have a good selection of
specialty foods and sweets :
- Kathy Nash Serendipity will be back with her
heirloom nut brittle goodies. It is a fast seller.
- Terri Cook's Delightful Dips
was a hit last show and will be back with her homemade dips, mixes and
southern meat rubs. (I noticed lime chiffon pie mix on
her web site).
- A new
food vendor from Tennessee is House of Douglas Bakery. Linda will be bringing Scottish and Irish breads,
and scones to take home.
- Betty Davis' Cranberry Hollow
dips and mixes are new this show. I have a packet of
Garden Bacon to stir into sour cream. It smells
- Does blackberry jelly and strawberry
jam sound good? Robyn Brechbill Mountaincreekcreations
is bringing fresh
jams, jellies and pickles picked from Tusquittee
Farm where she lives. She will have hand made soaps and
other inventive products.
- The doggies of the family will not be
left out this Christmas! Sherry Kobilis
Whisker Biscuits South make handmade
dog treats just in time for Santa. Wait
until Spot gets his own stocking stuffed with yum yums!
- Scotty Ellis Cold
Mountain Toffee maker will be bringing
his lovingly made, surprisingly soft and delicious
- candy. It is from an old family
recipe with 7 flavors.
- Remember the jams and pickles
from Jessica DeMarco Copper Pots and
Wooden Spoon last year?
- You will be glad she is coming back
with a new crop of fine preserved foods for your table.
- Some of our heritage crafts are:
- Good news ! We have a pine needle
basket maker coming !
- The Indians made the first pine
needle baskets 9,000 years ago. Al Graves has
learned the art well. His needle baskets are
finely crafted. You are going to be impressed.
- Dan Donaldson - Broom Brothers is
coming back with his
almost famous corn broom creations. He will have web sweepers,
functional and decorative styles. The whole family will enjoy watching
a broom being made from scratch
- Corn shuck flowers date back to the
early settlers. Betty Cabe is preserving this
heritage craft .She will demonstrating and selling her colorful
bouquets. (I hope some shuck dolls and angels ,too).
- Bill Reed Freedom Farms
is making his
milk soap like crazy to have enough for the Christmas customers.
- Carmen O'Dell's Made by
Willing Hands soap is made
for delicate skin. She will be here only once a year so
stock up at this show !
- Elly Davey is a perennial
favorite folk artist with her whimsy folk dolls. She adds new creations
- Jerry Spears Wool Junction
is a wool artisan who has a different
slant on wool hooking. She will be selling her rug
hook kits and art wools that may be draped as shawls.
- Laura Schnelker
threebagswool is a wool hooker artisan who will have
rugs, pillows ,ornaments and felted wool pins .
- Laura made the pin I wear each fall
on my sweater .You can get one similar to it for your
- Tennessee mountain sculpture,
Billy Reynolds, will be back with unique pieces for
those who collect his work. (He had a horse sculpture at
the last show that was blue ribbon quality ).
- Another talented Tennessee artisan
Mike Malak with his popular antler art and lamps.
- Jennifer Hayden Out on a limb
is a metal artist from the piedmont area .She
makes those beautiful leaf branches and other things. Welcome Jennifer!
- Darlene and Frank Marker's Marker Mountain Herb and Flower Farm is
coming back with soy candles, spices and various teas
- Lori Wright Moonshine
Mountain Candles make handcrafted
soy candles and rustic furniture.
- Tommy Hill from Hendersonville
will be returning with quality leather craft. Replace
that old wallet with a new one for the new year.
- Phil Feinberg Rockin' One
Knives makes pieces of art handmade
kitchen knives. (They will be visiting family for the
holidays and decided to exhibit their fine wares while
here). Welcome to Cullowhee .
- The glass category is well
- Tadashi Torii is a master
glassblower artist .We are honored to have his vibrant
creations at our show .He will have a nice collection to
choose from .
- Janet Anderson Wild Fired
Glass Art is an
artisan of the highest acclaim. She will have a good
selection of fused
ornaments and lamp worked jewelry for all her
- Another fine glass artisan is Lori
King Carey Casual Creations. She has fused jewelry and slumped plates and
- Welcome also to Lynn Kirby
Splendor in the Glass. She will have wind chimes,
wall art, masks, and night lights.
- Returning Katie (Did It) Kopp, also a glass artisans of 3d glass pieces.
- Cyndi Gorskey Artistic Bottle
Art is new this show
with etched and painted bottle art.
We have attracted some wonderful
fine artists and painters for this show such as:
- Alan R Young ,will be back with
his award winning wildlife
- Jeanne Mack , a popular
southern artist, will be back with originals and giclees.
She is a cat lover/rescuer also.
- The most original art I have found
anywhere is Robin Lumpkin's tin roof barn art. She creates
wonderful designs from rustic throwaways perfect for
your cabin. Welcome Robin !(Click Folk Art tab on her
web site to see samples )
- Macon County's own watercolorist, Michael
M. Rogers http://www.sharethebeauty.tv will be bringing his annual gallery open house
presentations to our show! He was one of the first artist
who started this show with me in 1987. He is an avid hiker of
the trails of our beautiful area. Come with him as he
captures waterfalls, flowers and views on canvas and video. You will be able to take a piece of
mountains back home with you
- A western Carolina photographer, Elaine Haskett will be presenting her framed and matted shots. See
the mountains in a whole new light.
- Another new artist is Christine
Bernard. She has wonderful note cards, and
- Carolyn Cordell is a mixed media artist. She will be back in her little gallery with metal paintings,
mobiles and jewelry.
- A new artist this show is unique, Georgia
artist, Michele Alcock, Micheles Garden Girls.
With dried flower petals and things found in nature, she creates
dainty garden ladies. See her on facebook.com/micheles
- The fabric art category is looking is
looking good :
- Susan Kennedy: quilted designer
purses and hubby Mark's photography.( I heard they were
visited by a bear this year! )
- Gretchen Branning:
purses each one created from a man's neck tie.
- Norma Jean Corhn:
18' inch doll dresses and holiday ornaments.
- Have you been thinking that it would be
nice to have that new grandchild a satin Christmas stocking
not made in china ? Margot Dale
Emley Crafted has the perfect one. She sews heirloom Christmas stockings and
felted wool trees Welcome Margot.
- Also new this show is Tracy Duncan with
fine sewing arts: purses and accessories.
- Martha Shanks Nozama Hats makes
felted hats. This is your opportunity to have one or two at
- Sharon Petersen Looziefloozie doll
maker is coming back !
- Her talented friend, Tara Melton
Miller will be sharing her space. Tara makes mixed
media art. Her wire trees are taking off !
- Wood Craftsmen at
this show are some of the best around:
- I have looked everywhere for a wood
toy maker. I remember how much my young boys
enjoyed their push cars and trucks. They are hard to find .
But here comes David Hedrick . He has a good
assortment of unfinished vehicles for under the
tree or to stuff that Christmas stocking .
- AW Ruff from Flat Rock is coming back with mountain toys and cutting boards priced to afford two!
- Welcome Michael and Sue Litaker ,
- Dennis and Judy Wilkey: wood craft gifts and jewelry,
Smith Canterbury Cobblers: designer cutting boards &
- Ron Thompson: wood
turning, (He is sure to have those apple wood bowls I love)
- Ken Rudd: furniture, trash bins, priced right.
- Steve Simonelli: fine wood furniture.
Wife, Colette, will be bringing her own redecorated Christmas accessories Let's
see what this is ! .
- David Pruitt makes little log
houses to scale. (They may hide a clock) Sylvia will bring
her special wreaths, too.
- Welcome back Gary Morris with his
scroll saw art .He make the hard to find puzzles and other
- William and Debra Dinschel are new
this year with refurbished furniture with bark and other
accessories. Welcome Dinschel family.
- Laura DeWeese will have the
natural bark edge cutting and serving boards again.
- Ross Bridges , the cowboy
craftsman, is coming back with his Western themes .
- And we have unique artisans who make
of a kind crafts :
- Dora Reynolds is a hit each show
with her bright colorful fabric plates and bowls. Look for
Christmas and winter bird themes this time.
- Animals from recycled railroad spikes ? Yes, a
whole farm from Rich and Rhonda Peters. Coppins
Critters You will
love these little creatures! They were a hit in the
summer show and you can get more if you missed someone on
the gift list !
- Mountain lady Christy Edwards is
working after teaching school each day to make her
stuffed sheep from old quilts and chenille fabric.
- Lauren Faulkenberry is a print
maker and book artist. What talent !
- Mom Cathy Faulkenberry tattersall
dolls will be sharing her booth. Cathy has been
making the Southern belle, Charleston Flower Lady and the
bride and many more since 1995. Welcome to the Faulkenberry
family to Cullowhee.
- If you are a collector of William H
Roy's folk art, you will want to know that he is
retiring and taking life easier. He will have his creations
at special prices at what might be his last show with us. Look
for him on the left in the arena .
- The knitters are in vogue right now:
Tolotti, Laura's Butterflies scarves .
- William T. & Nancy Smith, shawls, yarn, pins and accessories.
- Johnetta Heil ,The Plaid Sheep:
weavings for the home and wear.
- Joan Naylor was here last year with
her hand made scarves. She is coming back
with even more selections.
- Ann Eastabrooks, Scarf Lady of
WNC hand weaves beautiful scarves. She will only be here
for this show.
- Mary Jo Brown, Molly's Attic
crochets some sensible
mittens, gloves, warm hats and baby booties.
- We have some of the most skilled jewelers
from our area and far away:
- The Ledbetters are coming all the way
from Alabama with their silver spoon jewelry collection.
- Joy Whitney, Nature, Beads
and Wire: nature beading and
- Ellen Speed, makes
amazing accessories from soda cans. What fun!
Bohanan makes ladies and children fun jewelry.
- Donna Rainey, Artworkzstudio
a fine wire wrapper. She is coming a long way to bring her
Thank you for buying
art and crafts from our
American artisans. You can be proud to give handcrafted
gifts from this show .They will be cherished .
The 2013 "Hard Candy Christmas" show is full.
After your turkey is eaten , bring your
company down to Cullowhee. Have we got a show for you .
you there ! Can't wait .