Friday, November 25, 2011

Arts and Crafts of Western North Carolina

These pictures were taken in Asheville and Waynesville, North Carolina in the mountains of Western North Carolina. This area is known for its fine crafts. Originally crafts were essential to the early mountain settlers who were isolated by the rugged geography of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Clay was plentiful and accessible to make dishes, pots and jugs. Reeds and gourds from the local plants were used for baskets and other home uses. Hardwood could be carved into furniture and tools. The mountains gave to those who were creative enough to make use of her gifts. Life was hard, but these people were tough. They survived harsh winters, disease, and poverty.
To read more about the area and the history of the mountain people I recommend reading Cattaloochie by Wayne Davis. It is a book about the creation of the Smokey Mountain National Park. The families who had settled they land, lived there for generations, were displaced and forced off the land.
There is also a movie I would highly recommend by the name of Song Catcher which is about the discovery of original Elizabethan music in its most pure form brought over by the early settlers. The rugged topography of the mountains kept the culture of the mountain people isolated and unchanged for generations. In the early 1900's a female music professor came to the mountains to visit and rediscovered the untouched beauty of early English music. She set out to research and record the music she was hearing. The story is about the difficulty of gaining the trust of people who did not welcome outsiders Another interesting area to investigate is about the Cherokee Indians who once had their own nation in the Blue Ridge, Smokey mountain area.

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