School House Gallery at STARworks STARworks’ glass studio may be located in a tiny town near the center of the state, but it’s known nationally for its artists’ intricate, handblown
STARworks’ glass studio may be located in a tiny town near the center of the state, but it’s known nationally for its artists’ intricate, handblown creations. Come December, classic glass ornaments take center stage, and thousands of the dangling decorations in every color, shape, and size — each handmade by a STARworks artist or intern — hang in the gallery for the Holiday Ornament Sale. “Some are more textured than others, and there are plenty of nice jewel tones to pick from,” says Gallery Manager Jamie Carter. “We have a color and a texture for everyone.”
100 Russell Drive, Star, NC 27356
(910) 428-9001, starworksnc.org
What started as a small collective of local artists almost 60 years ago has exploded into a gallery of nearly 400 artists in Winston-Salem’s arts district. The perfect gift for Christmas morning? The coveted Piedmont Craftsmen mugs made by the group’s eclectic mix of artists. “It’s a really good heirloom gift,” says Gallery Director Chris Asuncion-Haynes. “A lot of people get them from a parent or older relative and then pass them on.”
601 North Trade Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
You’ll find everything from handmade birdhouses to linens to jewelry at this gallery’s gift shop in historic downtown Hillsborough. Former co-manager Joanne Ivey says that the hand-painted silk scarves, made locally, are an especially thoughtful gift during the holidays. “They are works of art,” Ivey says. “Absolutely exquisite.”
102 North Churton Street
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Just steps from the Scuppernong River, this gallery and fine-craft teaching studio features works that reflect the natural beauty of eastern North Carolina and the surrounding Inner Banks. During the holidays, enameled vessels made by metalsmith Harlan Butt — who studies national parks and surrounding natural areas to create his art — are especially prized. “What makes the gallery special is that most of the artists represented have a close relationship with the space,” Executive Director Marlene True says.
201 Main Street
Columbia, NC 27925
Don’t miss the stained-glass Arabian stars at this regional artists’ gallery and visitor center located inside the old 1926 Stecoah School in Robbinsville. Plus, learn about the area’s original artisans at the Cherokee history exhibit on-site.
121 Schoolhouse Road
Robbinsville, NC 28771
This more than 125-year-old craft shop on the Blue Ridge Parkway — located inside the Folk Art Center — is the oldest of its kind in the country and has been an Asheville tradition for generations. The shop also is home to a western North Carolina holiday staple: colorful glass ornaments handblown by Jason Probstein, a local artist and member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. When viewed in the right light, they seem to glow. “People come in and start buying them as gifts,” says Shop Manager Beth Renne. “But they usually end up leaving with a bunch for themselves.”
382 Blue Ridge Parkway
Asheville, NC 28805
The country’s oldest Native American cooperative, founded in 1946, is dedicated to preserving the rich arts and crafts traditions of the Eastern Band of Cherokee. Find authentic baskets, pottery, and wood and stone carvings, plus beautifully detailed beadwork: Colorful symbols are woven onto barrettes and earrings, belts and ties, and sewn with painstaking care, one bead a time.
645 Tsali Boulevard, Cherokee, NC 28719
(828) 497-3103, quallaartsandcrafts.com