Where to Buy

When you purchase the work of a North Carolina craft artist, you contribute to the artistic and economic vitality of the community. Here are some of the places where you can buy unique, one-of-a-kind craft made by local or regional artists for any occasion and during any season. In addition, you’ll find special events throughout the year including kiln openings by area potters, giving local residents and visitors a chance to choose from the artists’ latest works, and gallery openings or “studio crawls” that are also family-friendly events. The Penland School of Craft’s annual benefit auction including works created by instructors and resident artists, and Pocosin Arts’ annual benefit dinner and auction —  Steamed Blue to Red-Hot Lively — are other ways to meet artists and support their work.

Penland Gallery
The Penland Gallery

Craft Guilds
For craftspeople, membership in a guild means that juries of established artisans have validated the quality of their work and its adherence to traditional styles and methods. For members of the public this affirms that work viewed or purchased is of the highest quality of material and craftsmanship. In Cherokee, Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual guarantees that the one-of-a-kind basketry, pottery, weaving, carving, sculpture and other works of art featured in its gallery are handmade by individuals of Native American ancestry. Piedmont Craftsmen’s shop and gallery in Winston-Salem features juried works in clay, fiber, glass, jewelry, leather, metal, mixed media, photography, printmaking and wood. The Southern Highland Craft Guild in Asheville operates the Blue Ridge Parkway's Folk Art Center, featuring one-of-a-kind works in clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, mixed media, natural materials, paper, wood and jewelry. The Stecoah Artisans Guild in Robbinsville displays the work of 40 members and associate artists at the Stecoah Valley Artisans Gallery, which features paintings, pottery, weaving, wood-turned items, glass works, photography, note cards, jewelry, soaps, quilts, books and more.


Piedmont Carftsmen's Fair
Piedmont Craftsmen's Fair

Fairs and Festivals
Throughout the year across the state, you’ll find fascinating opportunities to meet artists up close and in person, discuss how they make one-of-a-kind works in clay, fiber, glass, leather, metal, mixed media, natural materials, paper, wood and jewelry, and watch them in action. The weekends before and after Thanksgiving bring a host of major annual events, including the Seagrove Pottery Festival, Celebration of Seagrove Potters, the annual Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair in Winston-Salem and the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Fine Craft and Design Show in Raleigh. The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands is held every July and October in Asheville. And there are numerous annual open studio tours, held typically in fall and summer that open up hundreds of artist studios to visits by members of the public for conversation, socializing and sales. See a complete list of open studio tours here [link].


Mint Museum Uptown
Mint Museum Uptown, Charlotte, NC

Museum Shops and Stores
North Carolina museums often reflect their holdings with a range of locally made craft in their gift shops. The Hickory Museum of Art, noted for its collection of folk art, features 50 local artisans in its “Galleria.” Included are Hmong crafts, hand-turned wood bowls, handmade pocketbooks, scarves, pottery and more. Charlotte’s Mint Museum Uptown features glass, wood, jewelry, metal and pottery from regional artists, along with N.C. pottery books and artist catalogues. In Raleigh, the N.C. Museum of Art has commissioned exclusive pottery, jewelry, bags and other items from N.C. craftspeople, and the N.C. Museum of History features handmade N.C. pottery in its store along with one-of-a-kind jewelry, textiles and decorative arts. For a complete list of N.C. art museums and galleries, visit http://search.ncarts.org/museum_gallery_search_local.php.


The Barns at Penland School of Crafts
The Barns at Penland School of Crafts

Artist Clusters
If you’ve only a day or a weekend to experience North Carolina craft, there are places to visit with high concentrations of artists, maximizing your opportunities to see and buy their work. Seagrove has enjoyed a pottery-making tradition since the 18th century and is now home to families of potters going back nine generations. With 100 pottery studios in the area, you’ll have plenty to choose from. At the Penland School of Crafts, you can visit The Barns housing full-time resident artists, explore six independent studios in the immediate vicinity which are generally open to the public, or contact more than 100 professional craftspeople in the area who may be visited by appointment. Take a walking tour of Asheville’s numerous downtown galleries such as Blue Spiral 1, or visit the River Arts District where 80 or more galleries are open on Fridays and Saturdays, with many also open during the week. HandMade in America’s website features a guide to small towns in western N.C., including nearby Bakersville where craft artists can be found, as well as a searchable resource for locating artists working in particular media. With more than 500 listings, its book The Craft Heritage Trails of Western North Carolina is a guide to find handmade crafts, artists’ studios, galleries, bed and breakfasts, inns, historical sites, special attractions and notable restaurants in the mountain region. In Murphy, Appalachian Heritage Crafters is a cooperative representing craftspeople in and around Cherokee County whose goal is to preserve the heritage of quality, handmade Appalachian crafts. Here you’ll find locally made baskets, wood, fiber, jewelry and more.


Caldwell Arts Council
Caldwell Arts Council

Local Arts Councils
In addition to selling crafts made by area artists throughout the year in their galleries and gift shops, many local arts councils sponsor annual sales where their works can be purchased as holiday gifts. Explore the offerings at the Caldwell Arts Council (Lenior), Transylvania Community Arts Council (Brevard), Cabarrus Arts Council (Concord), Community Council for the Arts (Kinston) and a host of others listed in our Directory of North Carolina Local Arts Councils.





The North Carolina Arts Council is a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
Susan Kluttz, Secretary; Pat McCrory, Governor