When it comes to goods handcrafted in WNC, there are seemingly as many wares as there are scenic mountain vistas. From artisanal food + drink products to outdoor gear + pottery, there’s simply no shortage of products from local makers. So how do you know which ones deserve your attention — and more importantly — your hard-earned cash money?
Well, that depends firstly on what you’re in the market for. We’re producing both a local foods guide and a cold + flu-bustin’ products guide in the coming weeks, so you won’t find any of them here. Instead, I’ve rounded up nine of my favorite locally made products that will enrich your life and make your home look like something out of a magazine. Each of these products is also a homage to the long-standing arts tradition we have here in WNC.
Full disclosure: some of these items are totally splurge-worthy and some are more everyday, so there’s a variety of price points, making them appropriate for every budget.
Glass wares I Image by @terraneglass
Want to build the bar of your dreams? You’re gonna need something to imbibe from, so you need to check out Terrane Glass Co. Based in nearby Spruce Pine, they crank out positively dreamy glassware, snifters, decanters + more. These functional and gorgeous blown glass pieces bring an undeniable elegance to your home and elevate any beverage you want to serve in them. Pro tip? You can also find them at Atomic Furnishing & Design.
Cloth napkins I Image by @thehighfiber
Fact: everyone uses and needs linens. So why not make sure they’re lovely and sustainably made? From napkins to kitchen towels, these organic linens bring a bit of color + whimsy into your abode — plus they’re hand-painted with non-toxic, solvent-free inks. Find their wares online at their Etsy shop or around town at places like the North Asheville Tailgate Market and Marshall Handmade Market.
Shoes I Image by @opieway
Made by Asheville natives, these kicks (choose from sneakers or moccasins) check off the most important factors when it comes to shoes: 1) they look good, 2) they feel good, and 3) they were built to last, meaning they won’t wear out and fall apart after a season. They’re also sustainably crafted with vegetable-tanned leather (as opposed to chrome-tanned) + repurposed vintage canvas for minimal environmental impact. Available online only.
Shoes I Image by @astralfootwear
WNC is a hotbed of outdoor activity — and since 2002, wilderness athletes have been hitting up Astal for their award-winning, water-ready footwear (even flip flops) and durable performance + safety gear (like lifejackets) that will carry them from one adventure to the next. Astral produces products in the lowest impact way, so you can feel great about patronizing them. Added bonus? They make beds + lifejackets for dogs.
Mugs I Image by @motylpottery
I take my morning coffee very seriously. I expect the vessel I drink java from to be visually appealing, generously sized, and feel good in my hand. The mugs Burnsville-based clay artist Tori Motyl make fit the bill. Motyl also makes decorative vessels + bowls to beautify your space. Find her works online and in stores like Embellish Asheville. You can even take classes from Tori and learn how to work with clay yourself.
Candle I Image by @elderandco
Inspired by the country’s most majestic parks + trails — like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Appalachian and Mountains-to-Sea Trails — these hand-poured, small-batch candles not only smell divine, they’re long-lasting. Plus, they’re made with natural fragrance oils, lead-free cotton wicks, and 100% soy wax made from American-grown soybeans. Best of all? A portion of proceeds benefits the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
Bag I Image by @dawnrentz
If you have to schlep your things around, you may as well do it in style. Asheville-based artist Dawn Rentz’s generously sized, durable canvas + leather clutches, totes, and cross body bags are hand-printed with patterns by hand-carved blocks or screen print. Find Dawn’s works online and in shops including Bette Boutique. Also cool? The former full-time painter also creates mixed-media paintings.
Skincare I Image by @candcnaturals
With our extreme temps and whipping winds, life in the mountains can dull + damage even the healthiest skin. Get your epidermis into excellent shape with C & Co. Skincare, whose plant-based cleaners, serums + moisturizers are all made without common irritants like synthetic preservatives, detergents, petrochemicals, GMOs, or fillers. And it’s not just for the ladies — their line also includes products for the face, body, and baby.
Pie servers I Image by @marshallhandmademarket
Whether you want a cutting board, a lazy Susan, a pie server, or a clock, the decorative + functional pieces made by Marshall-based woodworker Connie Molland will complete your mise en place. Crafted using both local and domestic hardwoods and exotics, her works often feature a contrasting inlay for a distinctive look — plus, Molland’s designs (including purse, heart, and attache shapes) are delightfully unusual.
This list is by no means exhaustive, y’all, and now that I’ve shared my favs, I’d love to know about yours. What local makers do you love? Leave your comment here. ⬇️