Plans and Deadlines for Our 30th Anniversary

I didn’t take any little journeys to any exotic lands this past week, as we have a rapidly approaching deadline for the catalog for the 30th National Arts and Crafts Conference and Shows to be held February 17-19 at the historic Grove Park Inn.

The 88-page catalog serves as the guidebook for everyone who attends the three-day conference here in Asheville, which really feels more like a three-day celebration of the Arts and Crafts movement, style and lifestyle. And this year – our 30th – will be even more exciting, as we add to our already packed schedule several drawings for items donated by our exhibitors, the Omni-Grove Park Inn management and myself, including more than $5000 in weekend conference packages and gift certificates to be used at the shows.

Our line-up of seminar speakers and their topics has been set for several months, as the presenters spend a great deal of time in research and preparation. I selected the topics this year with a combination of new approaches to familiar names — Frank Lloyd Wright and Gustav Stickley — along with names you might not yet be as familiar with, such as Oscar Onken and the Shop of the Crafters. This year our speakers will cover a wide range of genres, from architecture, furniture and lighting to art pottery, literature and art.

And we’ll toss in a Friday night preview of an upcoming major film documentary, plus a Saturday night movie for you, complete with popcorn and complimentary champaign.

But this past week I have been concentrating on my favorite aspect of the Arts and Crafts Conference — the daily Small Group Discussions. These are informal gatherings held in meeting rooms around the Grove Park Inn where five to twenty-five people will spend an hour sitting around tables talking, listening, sharing ideas and proposing theories on more than twenty different topics.

This year attendees can choose from topics such as native plants and landscaping; tips for beginning collectors of art pottery, woodblock prints and furniture; starting an Arts and Crafts society; women in the Arts and Crafts movement; house remodeling projects; philosophical aspects of the movement; literature of the era; table runners and textiles; restoration projects; lifestyle decisions; hammered metalware; and many, many more.

And what makes each discussion really exciting is when you bring to it not just a question or an opinion (but those do help!), but photographs of your own. Or, if it is not too large or fragile, an actual item. This year one of our Small Group Discussions will be called “What Is it? Unmarked Mystery Pieces.” Attendees will bring photographs or actual items to be passed around the room in hopes of learning who made them and when. I already have one of my cheap green pots and a copper vase with an unusual shopmark picked out to bring.

And we might still have room for a discussion topic you have in mind.

To learn more about the upcoming Arts and Crafts Conference, simply click on the link below to our website. There you can see your options for registration, lodging, hands-on workshops, free daily demonstrations by artisans, antiques dealers and contemporary craftsfirms who will be exhibiting, walking tours, and much, much more.

And if you have any questions, you can email me personally at [email protected] or call during business hours at (828) 628-1915.

For as the New York Times declared, “this is the most important weekend of the year for Arts and Crafts collectors.”

Until next Monday,

Make this an Arts and Crafts Christmas.


PS – And, yes, we can help you give a conference registration as a Christmas gift! Email me at [email protected] and we can plan it together.