Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beautifully Dyed Merino Roving from Handcrafts - Shopping Local Artists in Asheville, NC

Over the last few days I've been sharing some of my finds while shopping local artists in downtown Asheville, NC. When I found myself with a couple hours, I knew exactly where I wanted to go first, a store called Homecrafts. I found it on a brochure in my hotel. I was walking through the lobby after breakfast and passing by one of those huge hotel brochure racks. I stopped to grab a local map and there it was, a brochure entitled "Fabric Fiber Bead Trail" It's like they knew I was coming! In one handy pamphlet, all of the places I search for in a new city. Thank you!

The description read, "A very special shop! Choose from the handiwork of over 70 local artisans, or buy supplies to create fiber arts yourself. Handmade quilts, handwoven baskets, handknitted hats and scarves, handspun and unique yarns, knitting supplies and much more!" Now to you understand why it was my first pick?

Homecrafts is located downtown in a place called the Grove Arcade. The first level is filled with shops showcasing the work of local artists. I also remember there being a wine bar and a couple other little places to eat or get treats. Above the ground level there are offices and then above that, luxury apartments. I took a moment to fantasize about living one such apartment. Then I snapped out of it and found 1 Page Avenue, the home of Homecrafts.

I don't even now how to begin to describe Homecrafts. The proprietors, Marie Hendrix and Judy Bryson Quinn have created an atmosphere overflowing with unique treasures so much so that you start to feel a little overwhelmed. Where should your eyes rest first? I remember an entire wall of felt hats. No two looked alike. According to a handout from the store, many of the hats and scarves are made with the fibers Marie spins from her family's flock. Judy designs and weaves the beautiful baskets sold at Homecrafts. All around were one-of-a-kind, handmade quilts by local quilters. All in all, you can find the work of 70 local artists. Amazing!

To get my balance, I headed for my comfort zone, the fiber. Along the back wall hung skeins of all natural handspun yarn. Just imagine having a store like this to sell your yarn. I wanted to bring the whole place back to Arizona, brick, mortar and all! There was also a lovely section of dyed fiber. Even though I have a studio stuffed full of roving, this is where I picked out my souvenir. I bought 3.8 ounces of merino blend roving made by Lisa Mackey of Mackey's Acres. I had to have something to remember this wonderful store. So when I spin my merino, I'll think of my afternoon at the Grove Arcade in downtown Asheville and especially Homecrafts.

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