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Arts & Crafts conference returns to Grove Park Inn in Asheville

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2/17/2011 - Arts & Crafts conference returns to Grove Park Inn in Asheville
by Bill Murphy

Asheville, North Carolina is home to many artistic elements. From artsy bungalows to crafty cabins, architecture is one of the more noticable feartures. But behind those walls are many other treasures to find.

In a city known for its Arts & Crafts structure comes the 24th edition of a conference celebrating the architectural style.

The 24th National Arts & Crafts Conference and Antiques Show at the historic Grove Park Inn will unite the public and conference attendees with offerings of more than 130 antiques dealers. Also available to them will be contemporary crafts firms making new works in the Arts & Crafts style and book and magazine publishers, including American Bungalow, Style 1900 and Old House Journal.

Included in the three-day $10 admission are educational displays on American art tiles, Biltmore Industries woodwork and Gustav Stickley's Craftsman Farms, plus demonstrations on woodworking, furniture restoration, metalsmithing and jewelry-making.

"Asheville is noted for its Arts & Crafts architecture and heritage," conference director Bruce Johnson said, "from our bungalow neighborhoods like West Asheville, Norwood Park and Kenilworth to the more eclectic Albemarle Park, Kimberly Avenue and Biltmore Village.

"Our historical 'mountain crafts' made the easy transition over to Arts & Crafts by combining hand craftsmanship with artistic designs inspired by nature, hence the name 'Arts & Crafts.'"

The conference combines the afternoon sales shows with educational seminars, small group discussions, demonstrations, a silent auction, workshops and walking tours of both the Grove Park Inn and nearby Biltmore Industries. Exhibitors will be bringing both antique and new Arts & Crafts furniture, art pottery, tiles, rugs, artwork, metalwork, jewelry and books, all from or inspired by the 1895-1939 Arts & Crafts era.

At the show, the new website for Arts & Crafts collectors, www.ArtsandCraftsCollector.com, will be giving away an 18-inch, matte green glazed floor vase commissioned from the Brown Pottery in Arden. Modeled after a similar 1904 Grueby Pottery vase, eighth-generation potter Charlie Brown and his wife Jeannette accepted the challenge of making a monumental floor vase that will be given away in a free drawing during the conference.

In addition, the Asheville-Buncombe County Preservation Society will be offering a three-hour Saturday and Sunday afternoon house tour for both conference attendees and area residents. This year's selection of buildings will focus on Richard Sharp Smith, Asheville's most prolific and influential Arts & Crafts architect of the 20th century.

For information on the house tours, call the society at 254-2343.

The shows are open to the public, but if you'd like to enroll in the conference, it's $145 and includes eight seminar presentations, entry to the shows, daily small group discussions, the 80-page conference catalog, a canvas tote bag and the conference poster. Register by calling 628-1915 or going online at www.Arts-CraftsConference.com.

Want to go?

What: 24th National Arts & Crafts Conference and Antiques Show.
Where: The Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa.
When: 1-6 p.m. Feb. 18, noon-6 p.m. Feb. 19, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 20.
More: Arts-CraftsConference.com.
Cost: $10 adults; $5 students; no charge for children younger than 14 (ticket good all three days).

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