Monday, October 27, 2014

Major craft event this weekend in Dillsboro

Seagrove isn't the only town in North Carolina that touts and salutes artisan pottery, and Asheville's Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands isn't the only notable clay-focused fall event.

The Western North Carolina Pottery Festival celebrates its 10th year on Nov. 1 with more than 40 master potters from across the eastern United States.

The event, staged in Dillsboro, has grown in attendance  as well as recognition: It's on the November list of attractions compiled by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The festival usually spotlights one featured potter, but this year they're pointing up two: Richard Aerni of Rochester, N.Y. and Nick Joerling of Penland. Both will join other exhibiting potters at the Saturday event in demonstrating their techniques throughout the day.

Joerling has maintained his studio in Penland, since the mid-1980s. He holds a master of fine arts in ceramics from Louisiana State University and has taught in craft programs in the United States and abroad. His work can be found in numerous public and private collections.

Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Admission: $5; 11 and younger, free. Attendees will each get a ticket for a day-long raffle; there will also be a silent auction that  benefits a local charity that provides meals to families.

Dillsboro is a picturesque town near the Tuckaseegee River, south of Cherokee, just under three hours west of Charlotte and off U.S. 23/74.

Be aware that a  preliminary event takes place Friday. The sixth annual WNC Clay Olympics competition is 1 to 5 p.m. Friday: It pits 20 potters against one another to see who can make the largest cylinder, widest bowl, etc.

Friday, of course, is also Halloween, and there's downtown Dillsboro trick-or-treating from 5 to 7 p.m. You'll also find hayrides and more.