Mountain Artisans

presents the 31st Annual

"Hard Candy Christmas"

Art and Craft Show

New Date: Saturday, December 1 and Sunday December 2

located in the (WCU) Ramsey Center, 92 Catamount Drive,  Cullowhee, N.C.             

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Sharon Blaine Turner is an award winning Doll Artist from the Foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in upstate South Carolina. She comes from a long line of mountain Artist and craftsmen who have left her with a rich heritage :one in which she had developed into her own unique style.  I can not remember when I wasn't creating something ".  A lifelong fascination with marionettes and colorful, whimsical elves is what inspired Sharon to start creating Art dolls 17 years ago.

We are proud to have Sharon as our Featured Artist for the 2018 'Hard Candy Christmas  Show "



Many people have asked me "WHAT IS A "HARD CANDY CHRISTMAS" anyway.  It is a Mountain Christmas Tradition.

 Christmas was always celebrated in a big way in the mountain area where I grew up.  Even if the year had been tight, each

child  got a stocking with an apple,  orange and a stick of hard candy; peppermint being the favorite.  The best gifts were hand made with love and thoughtfulness. Our first Christmas tree was a cedar

from  the neighbor's field.  Store bought, fancy trees were unheard of . .   I remember the year my brother brought  a strand of bubble lights home from Michigan. It was truly magic. 

 I was sure I heard angels singing in the cold, night skies.  My sister and I decorated our plain farm house with greenery,  pinecones and holly.  We turned a thorn shrub into a  glistening Gumdrop Tree with some white spray paint  It was a portent of things to come.

 I helped my mother bake special cakes we only had that time of the year: fresh coconut ,black walnut fudge and the crowning glory: an English Fruit cake.  It was tenderly wrapped in cheesecloth soaked in spirits to age..  I remeber the year of the stack fruitcake for daddy.

The joy and happiness of that time never left me.  I feel it every year when I start planning this show.  It gets stronger when the big tree is brought down from Little Canada into the truck

   tunnel and Larry brings out his wreaths.  The fresh pine aroma says Christmas is coming again.

I bring out the apples from Barber Orchard to share on the ticket table and dump wrapped peppermint pieces in the the family

candy jar to pickup . The show is almost ready to open.

The most exciting time for me,  is  set up day. Each exhibitor brings out their  creations they are selling.  It is a lot of

work for all, but well worth it.

After they have gone home, I love strolling  around and seeing the amazing talent in each booth. It is like the night before Christmas;  waiting ,

  waiting 'till morning.

On opening day, "early bird' customers rush in for the first pick of the show.    It is so satisfying for shoppers to return each year for

 that handcrafted gift for someone special . Some say the Christmas Spirit of kindness and sharing comes at that time.  I sure hope so.

The "Hard Candy Christmas" is hand crafted gifts, fresh mountain greenery wreaths and  gingerbread ornaments. There is nothing like it anywhere!



Current Show Exhibitor List


Small Beginnings :
     The Mountain Artisans Art & Craft Shows started in  Macon County in 1987.  Only 8 artisans exhibited at the first Christmas show in Franklin, NC. 
We never imagined that, down the road, we were headed to the wonderful Ramsey Center on the Western Carolina University campus in Cullowhee,  North Carolina!
     It is a dream come true.  As the years have flown by, more and more artisans wanted a good place to sell their hand work and  joined us.  So many of our small businesses have been sent overseas, but there are no imports here.  The southern craftsman is alive and well in this area.  Many of the heritage crafts are handed down from the older generation. 
The quilting,  blacksmithing, clay art, folk dolls, corn shuck flowers,  and primitive furniture were inspired from past generations. 


You will find it all here.

     Mountain Artisans Art and Crafts Shows provide a marketplace for customers and artisans to meet.  It is an amazing collection under one roof.  You would have to visit dozens of  shows to find what I have gathered at one place.

     Cullowhee, North Carolina is home to the Western Carolina University.  On the campus is the Ramsey Center arena that boasts 18,000 square feet of climate controlled comfort for everyone.  It is home to the Catamount's basketball games but two times each year, they move over for our craft shows.  A great set up crew makes it all look easy for me. 

     Quaint Cullowhee Valley nestles off Highway 107 that runs up to Cashiers, North Carolina  from Sylva.  It is a stop off the Southern Highroads Trail  highway. All around are big, soft mountains. A foot bridge crosses the Cullowhee Creek to get to the show from the parking lot.  It is peaceful to your soul just  to be here.  Click on the map to see how to get to Cullowhee NC from Asheville, Cherokee, and Atlanta.

In loving memory of Dr David Belcher (WCU ) Chancellor,  who passed away this year. He and Susan always supported the artist and crafts community . Each year they 'shopped 'till they dropped' for Christmas.  He will be missed but not forgotten. Thank you, David and Susan, for all you did.

Also, we are sad to announce the passing of Julia Thompson.  Beloved wife of Mountain Artisan Craftsman, Ron Thompson.  She had many friends who loved her more as they saw her kind heart. She sang like a songbird  from heaven where she is now.  She will be missed until we see her again.  Bye for now, Julia.



       Outside Artists: The sidewalk and surrounding area leading up to the big Catamount door entrance has a sample of the quality    artisans inside.  Look for the following :  

  • Woodcraftsman, Jerry Stanley NC Mountains Outdoor Furniture handcrafts Adirondack chairs, swings, birdhouses (for real birds) and more.  He  constructs all  with Western Red Cedar, stainless steel nails and blue ribbon quality. 
  • Jan Kleinrath Jan's All things Canvas will be back with her Hats, Travel Purses and more. She is
  • staying home for this show instead of heading south. Look for her inside instead of her usual outside space .
  • Ed Hudgin's Sawmill Tables are favorites. If you missed getting one last year, here is another chance.
  • I expect Kathy Cirka Backwoods Bakery will be on the corner with Gingerbread Men. I can't wait for tins of peanut butter  cookies, Pfeffernusse, and Sugar Plum treats to dream about. New, this year is strudels and  turnovers.

        Just heard that Barbara St Germain and Margaret Suddreth will be back with their  fun Snowman wreaths and more.

      The aroma of cloves and cinnamon says Michelle Leigh's Dried Fruit Ropes and more  are back.

       New this year is Stephanie Ramsey  and Steve Coleman with  stick Reindeer made from laurel branches! They are adorable and sure to be a hit ! I want one for under my tree and on the porch with a wreath around his neck! You will too.

       The Colonial Wagon Wheel Metal Yard Art folks are bringing  fun metal accessories for your yard ,garden and patio!

      Here comes Mom and Pops Carnival Eats .The Mecklenburgs are bringing Kettle Korn and other delightful treats for your enjoyment .          Welcome to Tracie and Robert to  Cullowhee.


  •      Come inside. The  entrance tunnel has some exciting exhibitors:  If you are wanting a fresh mountain greenery wreath and swags for your house ,Larry Haskett and Evelyn Sanborn
  • from A&E Tree Farm and Awe Natural  will be bringing  fresh wreaths and garlands for your house. Their tree farm provides the big 'Hard  Candy Christmas' 'tree that starts the Christmas holiday spirit each year.


  • Sue Malsnee is a favorite potter who has many area collectors. She will be returning next year 's 'Summertime Show, June 29-30 2019 .
  • In her place is Regenia Ford Mountain Memories  painting on Antique Windows, barn wood, saws and Ornaments. 




  • Neal Hearn Boxes by Neal will be moved inside the arena with his Christmas collection of his unique boxes.
  •  Dogwood Crafters will be back with samples from their Dillsboro shop.
  •  Featured Artist Tom Livingston's Piece by Piece  Intarsia will have a gorgeous Christmas collection.
  • Once upon a time I lived the hectic life of a mother with 3 children. My darling  neighbor was 9 years old and visited me often to see what I  was  painting, drawing or inventing. She was impressed and wanted to be an artist when she grew up. Guess what ? She is a guest exhibitor at this year's 2018 show ! Meet Sandy De Niear of Franklin. I am so proud of her work. You will like it too. Welcome Sandy!


  • Good live music brings cheer!  There will be  live  guitar music floating from the fingers of  Macon County's Ronnie Evans.   He will be selling his CD's to enjoy all year. He brings  some of the music  we grew up with.
  •  He will be signing copies of his new book 'Frankie -A Life Interrupted" . A true story about the unsolved death of his beautiful cousin in 1963. It happened right in my neighborhood in Franklin, NC. Has he disclosed the killer?

        The pottery section includes :

       Milton's Mugs  Face Jugs and more at it's best!

  • Kim vonHedemann Critters by Kim  are coming back for Christmas  Adorable lady bugs, cats and bears  and more on big and small trinket boxes. You are going to collect these!
  •  Ann Suggs Stonehouse Pottery We welcome Ann with her Christmas  luminaries and snowmen.
  • Wendy Converse Converse Creations  is a clay artist with some exciting creations . Welcome Wendy!  I saw her display at another show and she is talented with a capital T.
  •  Leah Walker Pisgah Creek Essentials is bringing some handsome Coffee Mugs.
  • Just in is Rowan Leona FourthBranchStudios with her MagicalCreations. Find her on Instagram FourthBanchStudios.

      Specialty foods and  sweets:

     Terrie Cook Delightful Dips and More is coming with Cheese Ball Mixes, Homemade dips and Rubs.

      Betty Davis Cranberry Hollow has her customers who love her Dips and Mixes, too.

      Tim Trescott Beelite Candles features only genuine Beeswax Candles and this year's Mountain Honey.

  •  Scotty Ellis Cold Mountain Toffee is back with Peppermint Bark  just 'n time for Christmas giving and eating!
  •  Lin Johnson Mimi's Mountain Mixes is Beer Baking Mixes . Who would have thought ! Stock up while they are here.
  • Kelly Allred Wildflour Blue Bakery specializes in decorated Christmas Cookies and other goodies.
  •  Jessica DeMarco Copper Pot Traditions features Strawberry Preserves, Crispy Pickles and more.

        Heritage Soap:

  • Bill Reed Freedom Farms is coming back with his popular Goat Milk Soap and his personal grooming accessories.
  • Laura Craig  Shade Tree Farm soap maker, will have some new, delicious new flavors.
  • Donna Grant /Kim Lusk 'Nothing Fancy " All Natural Body Care products, Soaps and herbal based good stuff.
  •       Doll Makers:
  • BREAKING NEWS : Betty Cabe is recovering from a hip injury this summer . She will not be at this show but look for her at the 'Summertime ' show in 2019 !  Get  well soon, Betty .
  • Corn shuck flowers date back to the early settlers. Heritage Artisan, Betty Cabe, is preserving this vanishing  craft.  She will demonstrating and selling her Colorful Bouquets and Dolls. I bet there will be Smoky Mountain Bears, too. New, this year will be
  • Vintage Santas and let's see what else she has dreamed up for you.
  • Mary Jo Gayer will be demonstrating  Triangle Loom weaving and will have her winter creations: Hand woven Shawls and Handspun Yarns.
  • Belinda Slate will be returning with her Old World Santas and Christmas Characters.
  • Heritage Folk Artist Elly Davey BirdinHand has been charming collectors for years with her tiny dolls with Hickory Nut heads ! She will be sitting out  this show to recover from some health challenges. Look for her  Christmas collection and Whimsies in 2019 . Meanwhile reach her at home at 828 293 9083 .
  • In her space will be Donna Persinger HeartRoots with Encaustic Art and Diane Winuk with Original Jewelry.

    Other special crafts :

   Roberta Brown Roberts Pressed Flower Art has the  flowers of summer drying for her framed pictures...Her garden has produced pansy, roses and daisy blooms for new dried  Petal Paintings.    

  •  David Pruitt  Another Place In Time  is working on  little white churches for his customers. Also, nativity Scenes. Wife, Silvia Pruitt will have  her handwork.  
  •  Roy Owenby is coming with his mountain stories and his latest Novels.
  • Denny and Bonnie Wallace Greasy Branch Crafts  are bringing their Christmas collection of  Wreaths and lighted Boxes .Denny's  Turned Vases are one of a kind.
  • Connie Gregory  Cat's Meow Pinecone Creations  are going to be back .Also fabric and wood items.
  • Suzanne Summers Original Suzanne Art delights your eye with her explosion of color.
  • Tonya Vannoy is a craftwoman  in TinArt . Look for Tonya's Tins on Facebook. Her Luminaries are special.
  • Renee Hockensmith Hockensmith Mountain Art has her Christmas  collection of Alcohol Ink, Resin, and Polymer Art. Welcome Renee.
  • Wendy Griffith hand paints  art on wood and glass. She will be back with her Christmas  collection  of Animals, Birds and Flowers.
  • Bayley Rewis is working right now on her line of Soy Candles  in delicious scents .
  • Mike Wilson Wilson Knives .When you get a Wilson knife ,you are getting a lifetime of fine craftsmanship.  Made
  • one at a time .
  • Keith Mathews Leather by Veterans will be coming with quality leather products. Look for
  • belts for adults and children and hand tooled wallets.
  •  Frank and Darlene Marker Marker Mountain is back with their mountain farm organic  products: Candles,
  • spices, Teas  and Herbal delights.
  • Judy Gunter Christmas Floral . Let's see what surprises Judy has dreamed up for us this year .
  • John and Christine Massie have framed Metal Art.  You are going to like their unique style. Welcome John and Christine. 
  • Renee Biggs is bringing soy  candles  with  delicious fruit in the base.


  • Fabric and Fiber category includes :
  • They are back ! Susan and Mark Kennedy has been out with a wrist repair for Susan.
  • Let's welcome her back with good sales for her Hand Quilted Purses and Mark's Photography!
  • Bev Borchardt has a following who watches for her latest Quilted Wall Hanging ,Quilts and accessories.
  • Linda Levy is coming to this year's show with her Quilted Hangings, Baby Quilts and more.

      Ginger Rutland Gingerbread Land features hand quilted holiday decorations . Customers love her original table runners, wall hangings   and ornaments.

  • Look for Debbie and Larry Bennett Out of the Drawer Quilts, who  specializes in neck purses, to be at next year's "Hard Candy Christmas ' Show . An unexpected medical situation has occurred to keep them from this show .Look for them back in 2019!
  • Dora Reynolds  Designer Tableware is a hit each show with her bright, colorful, Fabric Plates and bowls.  She will have her summer collection  of winter birds and  Christmas  themes.
  • Knot Just Country Nina M Hutchins is a fine seamstress  duo who will bring baby items, kitchen accessories, bears and dolls.
  • Donna McCarthyAlpaca Tierra will be back with Alpaca socks and Fiber art.
  • Barbara Quinn J&C Crafts Towels ,Aprons, fabric bowls; great, practical, gifts.
  •  Nancy and Thomas Smith JeNan Wood and Fiber hand  make  a variety of items for knitters, spinners and fabric artists.
  • Look for project bags for the perfect gift .
  • Jim Boxerman Jim's leather Craft will have a wide variety of hand tooled leather goods. Gun holsters, purses and more.

     Linda and Ed Barton creators of Felt Ornaments are coming back with a wide variety of your favorite school colors!

  • Brenda Fuqua Lindsay'sLoft is coming back for Christmas! The Grandchildren will love this play area at Grammy's house.
  •  Sue Dial Fiber Artists has wool  products and recycled items.
  • Ann Eastabrooks Scarf Lady has been hand weaving ladies accessories for many moons.  I am so thrilled to have her back with her
  • winter collection. Welcome Back, Ann!
  • Darla Friedrich Cold Mountain Crafts handcrafts Wearable Fiber Creations.     
  •  Other Artists :
  • New this show is Grail Hall Stillmomentsart . His Santa art is presented in prints and  paintings. He is capturing renditions of the Christ. Welcome Grail. "Finishing Touches"  by Grail Hall .
  • BREAKING NEWS : JENNIFER AND DAVID are sick . They will be back next 2019 Christmas show . Get better soon! The Alger Family has Jennifer's snow paintings and neat rustic Birdhouses . They also raise Goldendoodle  dogs. They have a special edition of new puppies about to arrive if you are interested  call 828 369-6319.
  • Diane Rachel Orcutt has poured acrylic  originals and prints and more.
  • We are in for a treat: Jenean Hornbuckle  is a Cherokee artist,a WCU Art grad and loves painting her beloved Smoky Mountains. She has limited prints of local area like Deep Creek Falls, Occonaluftee River and BRPW showing her original paintings . Welcome Jenean.


  • Dorothy Owen Grandmas Dot's Critters has found her talent :Lions, bears .elephants, and whimsical pigs  will make you smile and make great gifts.
  • Dick Covalinski/Wil Baker .This talented duo dazzles with stained glass sun catchers and ornaments
  • Monika Hoerl's  Rosemaling is so special. She is working right  now on traditional plates, ornaments and plaques.
  •  Bill Radford LittleFeather has genuine Cherokee art. Carvings on jewelry and knives make special gifts. 
  • Leah Walker PisgahCreekEssentials is new this year with her handcrafted Pottery and personal beauty products.


  •  Sam Robertson Kairosartistry his an artists eye for capturing the mountain's beauty. New this year.

      Jason Rizzo Jason Rizzo Photography Art  always has interesting pieces for you.

       Michele Schwartz  MyDivineLandscapes Mountain Photography at it's finest.


     The wood craftsmen at this show are some of the best around:

    John Benton Wesley's Wood Art will be  demonstrating  small item wood turning. He has hard to find Pepper Mills as well as his Wood Art  and bowls.

     New this year, is craftsman James Rials with Wood Art, Cutting Boards and Serving Trays .Welcome, James.

  •  Ken Rudd  sells his Tables, Potato Boxes and Trash Cans as fast as he can get them up here. Hardly any woodcrafter makes solid wood  products, anymore.
  • Steve Waldroop will be back with his cowboy theme wood craft. You can hardly find Quilt Racks anymore. He specializes in Essentioal Oil rack holders.
  • I have found a new woodcraftsman who makes amazing children's toys, models and more. You are going to be impressed with
  •  Mike Holden AWC  Woods has some handcrafted Toys and Models that you are not going
  •  to believe ! He will have rocking horses  for Christmas giving.
  • Another form of 'painting with wood' is MarquetryBeth and Allen Woody make small, decorative wood turning pictures that are wonderful.

    Dennis and Judy Wilkie bring fine wood turned  Writing  Pens, Ice Cream Scoops, Seam Rippers and more that sell like hot cakes.

     Tonia & John  Cannon  Balsam Mountain Woodworks will have new Wood  Art items for your house.

      Chris Privette turns throwaway roots into Lamps, Pedestals and accessories. Welcome Chris to Cullowhee!

   Rickie and Benita Lemons2ndTimeAround believes wood ought to have another chance to shine! He has cheese boards, cutting boards    tables and more.

       We have some of the most skilled jewelers from our area and far away:

      Janet Anderson Wild Fired Glass is a holiday favorite with her Fused Glass Ornaments.

  • Angel Hudgins Hudgins Designs is a coming with Hand Stamped  Jewelry in  cool designs.
  • ing back is Jacolyn Campbell,  Master Wire Wrapper .She will have chain maille styles, also.
  • Billy and Lavada Anderson BornAgainJewelry  creations  from vintage silverware. 
  • Becky Smith Silver Work and Design won Best of Show at Mountain Heritage Day (last Year )

        Her original designs will be here. 

  • Marleen DeNardo LittleWoodLander has cool Leather Jewelry; hand stamped.
  • Shelia Bowers Wire wrapping and neat Folk Painting.
  • Kelli Perry Wintersun Fused Glass Jewelry.
  •  Janette Franich Designs by Janette has Handcrafted Metalwork : Lovely, dainty art, I think.
  • Just in is Sarah Martinko with fun earrings for the 20something crowd. Her paw print design is going to be a hit with the students that will be here this year.


The 31st 'Hard Candy Christmas " Arts & Crafts Show is full for this year. I am proud of each booth that it has something to offer you as shoppers and faithful customers who want gifts with the human touch on them. God bless us all. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year ! Doris Hunter, show producer 

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