Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared in the August 2014 issue. For current information on the Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair, visit yanceychamber.com.
What happened was that I started drinking coffee out of a handcrafted, powder blue mug. After a week, matte-glazed pottery became the texture of my mornings. Now something peculiar happens when I walk out the door: I can hear an artist exhale when the weathervane on my neighbor’s rooftop whirls. I blink, and everyone driving, or waiting, or riding to work becomes part of a Norman Rockwell scene. It seems the scales have fallen from my eyes. Art is everywhere.
This new sensibility hit a real height when Ginger Johnson, director of the Yancey County Chamber of Commerce, started describing the Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair. I saw Burnsville’s town square burst with Americana: green grass, friendly potters, a bandstand under the shade trees.
Here, men and women sold coffee mugs and kitchen chairs, paintings, and lawn art. There was local artist Gene Albritton, who paints images of the mountains using mud from the mountains themselves. Albritton is one among the largest concentration of artists in the country — an assemblage of Yancey and Mitchell counties — who breathe life into our daily arts. Who make us think of mountains in mud-strokes and skies in paint while we go about doing what we do every day.
This is how it happened: A craftsman created a powder-blue mug, and in a quiet fusion, he mingled art with everyday life. Good mornings were cast as craft.
Mt. Mitchell Crafts Fair
(828) 682-7413 or yanceychamber.com