Judy had the idea to start Asheville Home Crafts because she admired the crafts of many local artisans she knew, but saw few opportunities for them to sell their work. She and Marie opened the store with their own products and those of 25 other artisans in the smallest space available at the Grove Arcade because they weren’t sure if the business would work. They immediately sold out.11 years later they have continued to expand over the years and now over 100 artisans and their crafts are represented in the store. All artisans are from Western North Carolina and some of them have been perfecting their craft for over 50 years. Judy’s greatest pleasure is providing a place for artisans to market their crafts, but she is also a basket-maker herself and has won multiple blue ribbons at the Mountain State Fair. She grew up in a family where fiber arts were an important part of life. Her mother and grandmother made quilts, sewed, and embroidered for the family’s needs and made quilts to sell. Judy learned handwork from them and still quilts and knits now. The basket making all started when she took a class and fell in love with it. She says she gave them as gifts until her friends started to say, “oh, another basket from Judy”. Now that she and Marie have the store, she doesn’t give them as presents anymore except to her mom and daughter.
Marie decided to start Asheville Home Crafts with Judy at a time when Marie was in between stages of life and trying to decide what to do next. Marie hand spins wool from the sheep on her family farm. She also knits many beautiful products and teaches classes at the shop. Her favorite part of the business is meeting all the people. The artisans and customers have become a whole new family for her.
Marie learned to spin and knit wool by way of her children’s 4H activities. She and her husband’s children are the 4th generation on the family farm. Their daughter Kim got involved with raising and showing sheep and won at the Raleigh State Fair several times. Marie had to figure out what to do with all the wool and first learned to do hand-spinning and then learned to knit. She says she took classes here and there for 16 years, and now she is winning her own blue ribbons at the Mountain State Fair.