CCCD Exhibition Highlights International Designer-Maker Movement in Western North Carolina

ASHEVILLE, NC , August 27, 2015 Made in WNC  is the first exhibition to examine how studios in Western North Carolina are participating in the international designer-maker movement. Curated and organized by The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design's Assistant Director Marilyn Zapf, the show will open Friday, September 4, 2015, and run through January 9, 2016. The exhibition features work by twenty-four regional textile, ceramic, and furniture studios and four regional artists.
Since 2008, the designer-maker movement has established itself as new form of creative entrepreneurship defined by small-batch or limited-run scale of production, combining craft-based practice with new technology, and marketing to a design-based consumer. The studios and artists included in Made in WNC exemplify how designer-makers in this region are not only participating in this movement but at the forefront of innovation in new business models combining craft, design, and industry.
The included studios offer some of the trendiest and most desirable textiles, ceramics, and furniture for young consumers locally, nationally, and world-wide. Through lifestyle marketing strategies made possible by the Internet and social media, these regional designer-makers are able to reach a much wider audience than ever before.
For example, outdoor furniture company Blue Ridge Chair Works sells markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Netherlands. Asheville-based leather artisan and jeweler Billy Moore's label Cause & Effect can be found through vendors such as Jack Spade and Club Monaco. Alex Matisse of East Fork Pottery recently collaborated with Calvin Klein Home on a series of large ceramic vessels.
"The rise of entrepreneurial studios run by designer-makers conjures a rarely-told story about craft's role in the region. These studios are intelligently engaging with the craft and industrial legacies of the state to forge fresh creative businesses," says CCCD Executive Director Stephanie Moore.
Made in WNC considers how the region's legacy of craft and industrialization informs an international movement on a local level. While most designer-makers are educated first in design and acquire making skills in order to develop and produce their products, the studios in this region often start with a making background and cultivate design and business skills to compete in a design-based market.
While locals may be familiar with some of the studios included in the show, this exhibition offers the opportunity to reflect on how the practices that are developing fit into a wider context. "We are in a unique moment in history where the effects of deindustrialization combined with the rise of the Maker movement puts craft in the distinct position to readdress some of the longstanding craft-based binaries such as craft versus industry," says exhibition curator Marilyn Zapf. "The rich history of this region in both craft and industry has created an ideal incubator for designer-maker studios to speak to this machine versus the hand paradigm, and re-envision how the two could relate in the future."
The exhibition will also feature a series of rotating installations commissioned from North Carolina-based artists Libby O'BryanDaniel JohnstonNava Lubelski,  and  Tom Shields. Like the studios, each artist has a unique and intimate connection to local industry. These installations provide critical context for understanding the themes of the exhibition and the connection between craft and industry more broadly.
Kicking off Labor Day weekend, the exhibition opening will be held on September 4, from 6 - 9 pm. In conjunction with this event, local craft-brewery Burial Beer Co . has created a special Made in WNC Belgian Table Beer made with local malt from Riverbend Malthouse and local pears from Stoney Hollow Farms to be released at the opening. Local instrument fabricators, Make Noise, will be showcasing their synthesizers by providing "musical furniture" throughout the event.

Appalatch (Weaverville, NC), Blue Ridge Chair Works (Asheville, NC), Bow + Arrow (Asheville, NC),  Cause and Effect (Asheville, NC),  The Circle A Brand Mfg. Co. (Asheville, NC),  Claire Minihan Woodworks (Asheville, NC),  East Fork Pottery
(Marshall, NC),  Element Clay Studio (Asheville, NC),  FEHLŌ (Asheville, NC),  Hudson's Hill (Greensboro, NC),  Iron & Ash (Asheville, NC),  Lightheart Gear
(Arden, NC),  A Little Weather (Leicester, NC),  Melissa Weiss Pottery (Asheville, NC),  Mudtools (Bat Cave, NC),  New Colony Furniture (Bakersville, NC),  Nick Moen (Asheville, NC),  The Old Wood Co. (Asheville, NC),  OUTRA (Asheville, NC),  Overlap Sewing Studio (Asheville, NC),  Raleigh Denim Workshop (Raleigh, NC),  Shelter Collective (Asheville, NC),  Sketchbook Crafts (Marshall, NC),  TSUGA
(Boone, NC).

Bernhardt Design & Bernhardt Textiles   (Lenoir, NC), Capricorn Bicycles   (Marshall, NC)
Libby O'Bryan   (Asheville, NC), What is it Worth?, September 4-26, 2015
Daniel Johnston   (Seagrove, NC), 783-804, October 1 - 29, 2015
Nava Lubelski(Asheville, NC), EmblematicNovember 5 - 28, 2015
Tom Shields (Penland, NC), Parts and Pieces, December 4, 2015 - January 9, 2016

Location:  Benchspace Gallery & Workshop at The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design, 67 Broadway Street, Asheville, NC 28801
Admission: Free
Exhibition Dates: September 4, 2015 - January 9, 2016 (see details below)
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm
Opening Reception: Friday, September 4, 2015, 6 - 9 pm

For more information, call 828-785-1357 or visit
This project was supported by the NC Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources.
In-kind sponsorship provided by  Burial Beer Co. (Asheville, NC),   Smoke Signals Bakery (Marshall, NC),  Hickory Nut Gap Farm (Fairview, NC),  Roots (Asheville, NC),  French Broad Chocolates (Asheville, NC), Biltmore Wines (Asheville, NC) and  Greenlife Grocery (Asheville, NC).


Founded in 1996, The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design is a national 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the field of craft through fostering new ideas, funding craft scholarship, and backing the next generation of makers, curators and critics. CCCD has developed a strong national reputation as a significant resource for artists, museums, academic researchers, university students and arts organizations. Each year, CCCD administers over a quarter million dollars in grants to those working in the craft field.

PRESS IMAGES (c ontact for hi-res images)

Photo: 7 Ton Design and Letterpress Co.


Amber Jensen, Sketchbook Crafts,
Portfolio Backpack , 2014, waxed canvas and vegetable tanned leather,
12" x 4" x 20". Photo: Amber Jensen

East Fork Pottery, mug, 2013, wood-fired stoneware, 3.5" x 3.5" x 7.5". Photo: Tim Robison

Zac Lopez-Ibanez, FEHLŌ,
Albers Chair, 2015, American walnut, hard maple and linen, 27.5" x 19.25" x 23". Photo: 7 Ton Design and Letterpress Company

Lauren Pelletier
Marketing and Development Coordinator
(828)785-1357 x103