Yesterday, we drove to the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway. From Charlotte, you drive north on I-77, then west on I-40 towards Asheville. The place is actually off the Blue Ridge Parkway, mile 382. There's free parking and free admission. We'd been there before, years ago, before we had all 3 kids. It's a two-story building dedicated to art from the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The Guild is dedicated to preserving craft traditions in the mountains of North Carolina, and expanding creative works.
Sarah seemed enthusiastic about the art, especially the quilts ('blankies', as she called them). Her favorite piece was one of a huge moose made of metal (?!). She loved the wooden dolls and spinning wheels, and the hand-knitted clothing. Of course, when we were in the gift shop, she made a beeline for the stuffed toys. Sorry, sweetie; we don't need a huge stuffed moose in the house.
I grabbed several photocopied-and-stapled guides to the various materials that were used in the exhibits. There are six categories: metal, wood, glass, clay, fiber (both natural and man-made) and natural materials (including plants, gourds, pine cones and seeds). The guides had lists of specific jargon for the mediums (like faille, ikat and trapunto for fiber art) and a brief history of the various techniques. Very interesting, especially since the only one that I've done a lot of is clay.
We had an adventurous (if somewhat hair-raising) journey on the Parkway and down to Marion, NC. It was raining off and on, and thick mist shrouded everything. Visibility was limited to just past the hood of the car. We made it safe and sound, though, and got back to Charlotte in one piece.
If you're ever on the Parkway on the NC side, stop by the Folk Art Center. It's worth the trip.