The National Arts and Crafts Conference Schedule

by Kate Nixon


This week, the 33rd National Arts and Crafts Conference and shows return to Asheville’s own Grove Park Inn, a historic arts and crafts paradise where you’ll find vintage and contemporary designs in furniture, pottery, textiles, metalwork, jewelry, prints and artwork and all the other fields of the Arts and Crafts Movement along with its revival. There’s so much happening this weekend so here’s a master list of all events happening this weekend for attendees and exhibitors!


Wednesday, February 19:
Pipe & Drape and Table Setup
8:00am – 8:00pm
This is an early arrival day for many of the exhibitors and attendees. If you have never had the opportunity to explore funky downtown Asheville, tour the famous 1895 Biltmore House and Estate, taste our award-winning craft breweries, drive the winding Blue Ridge Parkway, walk our Arts and Crafts neighborhoods, or soak in the world-class Omni Grove Park Inn Spa, you should consider coming early and making this a real vacation.
Thursday, February 20:
Exhibitor First Setup Session
8:00am – 7:00pm 
With more than 115 exhibitors — including antiques dealers, contemporary craftsfirms, magazines, non-profits, historic sites, and book publishers — it takes nearly two days to get every truck and van unloaded and every booth filled to the brim with the best the Arts and Crafts movement has to offer. But by 1:00pm on Friday, they will all be ready for you.
Arts and Crafts Registration Check-in
8:00am – 6:00pm
Come see Kate and Stephanie, our dedicated registration mavens as we deliver conference materials to our Arts and Crafts Conference attendees and exhibitors.
Part one of the 2020 Pre-Conference Workshops 

2:00pm – 5:00pm 

Each year we offer a series of hands-on workshops for those of you who have arrived early. These are limited in size and the classes fill up quickly. For the following workshops, please arrive early so the check-in process can go smoothly for you.
Coppersmithing with Frank Glapa
Printmaking with Laura Wilder 
Embroidery with Natalie Richards 
Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms Reception
6:00pm – 8:00pm
Begin your conference weekend with the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms’ Reception in the Omni Grove Park Inn’s Skyline Room from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Local craft beer, light hors d’oeuvres, and watch exclusive film footage of the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms from the documentary Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman and meet the film’s director Herb Stratford. In addition to seeing exclusive footage before the screening on Saturday and getting an up close discussion with Stratford, you’ll be served craft beer and wine and light food in addition to seeing several well known collectors and organizations in the Arts and Crafts Community!
Friday, February 21

Exhibitor Final Setup Session

8:00am – 1:00pm
Part two of the 2020 Pre-Conference Workshops 

8:00am – 11:00am

Small Art Metal Project with Ron VanOstrand
Coppersmithing with Frank Glapa
Printmaking with Laura Wilder 
Embroidery with Natalie Richards
Walking Tours of the Historic Grove Park Inn
Hourly (except 11am)  9:00am – 4:00pm
Join a Grove Park Inn historian for an informative 45-minute walking tour that will take you to places you might not have found on your own, and will provide you with fascintaing stories about the famous — and infamous — guests, from Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald to presidents from FDR to Obama. A tour not to be missed!
Walking Tours of the Historic Biltmore Industries
10:00 – 11:00am(Repeats on Saturday and Sunday.)
No, not the 1895 Biltmore House, but the 1905 Biltmore Industries, which George and Edith Vanderbilt supported. Founded in 1905, Biltmore Industries was one of the longest lasting Arts and Crafts cottage industries, making and carving furniture, bowls, bookends, trays, picture frames, and much more. In 1917 the workshops were moved onto the grounds of the Grove Park Inn, where the Arts and Crafts buildings have been restored as a museum, gallery, cafe, and artisan studios. Step back in time on one of these daily one-hour tours.
Small Group Discussions: Session #1
11:00am – Noon
One of the most popular aspects of the conference are our daily Small Group Discussions. Here you will have a chance to select a topic to sit down and discuss with other attendees. No advance registration is necessary. These discussions are lead by volunteer attendees.
All Three Selling Shows Open
1:00pm – 6:00pm
This will be your first opportunity to see and add to your collection some of the finest antiques and new works in the Arts and Crafts style. Our exhibitors save their best pieces for this weekend, so take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity.

Silent Auction:  First Session
1:00pm – 6:00pm
Known as the largest and finest Arts and Crafts silent auction, this two-day event serves as a fund-raiser for the non-profit Arts and Crafts Research Fund.
Arts and Crafts Demonstrations
2:00pm – 6:00pm (Repeat on Saturday and Sunday.)
Peg Morar of Asheville’s Peg Morar Studio will reveal the process of tilemaking in her demonstration “The Making of An Arts and Crafts Tile,” bringing her decades of expertise to the conference as she’ll show the basics of tile making, meant for observers of all experience ranges. As an experienced teacher, she creates an easy-to-understand process of tile carving and designing, showing a tile mold in different staging and showing examples of glazed and non-glazed pieces with her standard blue and green glazes. David Van Epps will return to the Grove Park Inn to teach attendees about mortise and tenon joinery and will bring plenty of examples to show. Known as the strongest joint in woodworking, a mortise and tenon joint connects adjoining two pieces of wood or other material through a mortise hole and a tenon tongue. David’s informal demonstration will be designed for Arts and Crafts woodworkers as well as collectors with furniture that have mortise and tenon joinery.

Arts and Crafts Book Club Discussion

4:30pm – 5:30pm
The Ladies of the Canyons by Lesley Poling-Kempes
Opening Remarks by Bruce Johnson
8:00pm – 8:15pm
An Evening with Frank Lloyd Wright portrayed by Bob Gleason of the American Historic Theatre
8:15pm – 9:15pm
On Friday, February 21st, Historical portrayal actor Bob Gleason will present his rendition of the iconic Frank Lloyd Wright, the american architect, interior designer and responsible for some of the most innovative spaces in the country. The American Institute of Architects named him the “greatest American architect of all time” – Wright’s seven decades of experience brought about a style of his own that would last a lifetime.
Saturday, February 22

Speaker Ellen Lippert

Seminar: “George Ohr: Sophisticate or Rube?” by Ellen Lippert

9:00am – 10:00am

The life and times of George Ohr returns to the conference in a talk given by art history professor Ellen Lippert. An experienced presenter on Ohr, Lippert will reveal a comprehensive study of the Mad Potter of Biloxi covering his personal life, his professional works, and his under-appreciated tokens and oddities.
Seminar: “Bert Hubbard: The Forgotten Son Who Saved Roycroft” by Robert Rust
10:00 – 11:00am
Most collectors know of Elbert Hubbard, but what about the trials and tribulations of an important Hubbard family member? Historian Robert Rust will present “Bert Hubbard: The Forgotten Son Who Saved Roycroft” and will reveal how Bert saved the Roycroft Campus after his father’s death in 1915 aboard the Lusitania.


All Three Selling Shows Open

Noon – 6:00pm


Arts and Crafts Demonstrations

Noon – 6:00pm


Preservation Society House Tour

1:00pm – 5:00pm

The Preservation Society of Asheville and Buncombe County is pleased to offer unique historic homes for the February 2020 National Arts & Crafts Conference Home Tour. All homes are located in National Register listed Norwood Park which offers an eclectic mix of houses mostly built between 1912
and the 1930s.  For more information, please visit
Silent Auction
1:00pm – 6:00pm
Those of you getting off the tour bus of leaving a Small Group Discussions will have time to stop by the Silent Auction to check on your bids — and your bargains!

Special Small Group Discussion:  “Behind the Scenes: What Really Goes On at Craftsman Farms” with Vonda Givens, Exec. Director at the Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm


Walking Tour of Historic Biltmore Industries 

3:00pm – 4:00pm
Arts and Crafts Book Club Discussion: The Wayward Muse by Elizabeth Hickey
3:00pm – 4:00pm
Small Group Discussions: Session Two
4:30pm – 5:30pm
“Asheville, Tourism, and the Arts & Crafts Movement”
The Asheville Art Museum
Saturday  5:00 – 7:00pm
Asheville is brimming with tourists, but it is not a new phenomenon. In 1880, just before the arrival of the Southern Railroad, Asheville’s population was 2600; in 1900, it had increased to 14,600; and by 1930, it had exploded to over 50,000. Many of these newcomers had first been tourists drawn to the area by the temperate climate, scenery, and wealth of tourist amenities. Where were these folks staying and dining? What souvenirs and postcards did they take home? And what did they buy for their new homes in this booming town? Join panelists Lynne Poirier-WilsonWhitney Richardson, and Terry Taylor for a discussion of Asheville during the Arts & Crafts Movement and beyond.Join us early to explore the new Asheville Art Museum! Our newly reopened and expanded landmark building on Pack Square features the best of American art of the 20th and 21st centuries, with a special look at art of Western North Carolina and Southern Appalachia.

Please click here to register for the event:

The Saturday Evening Film
8:00 – 10:00pm

Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman
Directed by Herb Stratford
Saturday evening brings the highly-anticipated special screening of the documentary “Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman” to the Grove Park Inn’s Heritage Ballroom. The feature film will examine the life and work of Arts and Crafts movement pioneer Gustav Stickley. Work on the project began in 2015 and has included filming in five different states and in over nine cities and numerous locations, including such iconic locales as Craftsman Farms and his Columbus Avenue home in Syracuse. The team behind the film has also interviewed numerous individuals related to the Stickley story including family members, historians, and collectors, as well as filming objects from the history of the Stickley legacy. Director Herb Stratford will introduce the film, revealing the behind-the-scenes process of making the film. This will be a premiere you won’t want to miss!
Sunday, February 23
Seminar: “Beating Swords into Ploughshares:  World War I and the Arts & Crafts Movement” by Ryan Berley
9:00am – 10:00am
Historian and curator Ryan Berley will present his research on the little-known subject of handcrafted items made by soldiers in the wartime trenches and how VA hospitals and sanitariums trained wounded and gassed soldiers to make items in the Arts & Crafts style – such as Asheville silversmith William Waldo Dodge, who was first trained in silversmithing at the Asheville VA hospital. The positive and therapeutic effects of crafting during the turbulence of wartime will be covered in Berley’s talk.
Seminar: “Storybook Style: The Bungalow Goes to Hollywood” by Douglas Keister
10:00 – 11:00am
Author/writer/photographer Douglas Keister has carved out a career traveling the world documenting historic architecture. In the late 1980s and early 90s he was the photographer for the popular “Painted Ladies” books on effervescently painted Victorian houses. In 1995, he collaborated with architectural historian Paul Duchscherer to produce the iconic series of books on bungalows: The Bungalow (launched at Grove Park in 1995), Inside the Bungalow and Outside the Bungalow. Douglas Keister returns in 2020 to show the development of the Bungalow in glamourous Hollywood in the 20’s. Keister’s image-packed lecture will give attendees a look behind the scenes of how Storybook Style came to be known as the “architecture that makes you smile.”

Speaker Douglas Keister

All Three Shows Open For the Final Session
11:00am – 4:00pm
This IS a selling show and by Sunday you’ll see plenty of these SOLD signs. You know the old adage, “He who snoozes, loses.” At this show, anyone who hesitates often loses. Sunday of the conference is a hectic day, regardless whether you are in the Antiques Show or the Contemporary Craftsfirms Show, as people realize this is their last opportunity to take advantage of the largest and finest Arts and Crafts show in the country. Our biggest regrets are always those things we didn’t buy….
Arts and Crafts Demonstrations
11:00am – 4:00pm
David Van Epps will teach attendees about mortise and tenon joinery and will bring plenty of examples to show. Known as the strongest joint in woodworking, a mortise and tenon joint connects adjoining two pieces of wood or other material through a mortise hole and a tenon tongue. David’s informal demonstration will be designed for Arts and Crafts woodworkers as well as collectors with furniture that have mortise and tenon joinery.

Small Group Discussions

12:30pm – 1:30pm
Preservation Society House Tour
12:30pm – 5:00pm
Walking Tour of the Historic Biltmore Industries
1:00pm – 2:00pm
The 33rd National Arts and Crafts Conference will come to close promptly at 4:00pm.
Have fun this weekend!