By Katerina Spasovska
For the past five Saturdays, Sylva’s Farmers Market has had an addition, the Jackson Art Market.
Joshua Murch, a glass artist who has been living in Jackson County for the past 10 years, is one of the initiators of the event and brings many local artists and vendors to display their products and show how they work.
Last Saturday there were about 20 artists and vendors selling soaps, scented candles, chalkboards, fuzzy bunnies, interesting mixes of teas foraged in the mountains, jewelry, glass pipes and more.
“We are bringing the arts community together to create an experience for Jackson County and Western North Carolina,” Murch said. “The art community here is relatively big and diverse.”
There are several arts programs in the area and the Green Energy Park bring artists to the area.
In the chilly afternoon, it was quite warm close to his and Emily Powell’s torches as they molded a glass into an art object.
2020 was different and trying in many ways for the local artists. They had to find different ways to display and sell their art and this is just one way to be together, outdoor and show their skills and products, Murch said.
Among the artists there were a few for whom 2020 was their first year to start the business.
Lucy Clemens started her Boozy Candles by recycling beer cans and vodka bottles, and using scented candles made from soy wax. Her friend, Bradley Rotenberry, designs T-shirts and other products. Both are recent graduates from UNC-Asheville’s art program.
Doug DeGood is a woodworker and retired art teacher from Charleston, South Carolina, who moved to the mountains 14 months ago to get away from the hurricanes.
The market is a good way for him to meet people and the community, he said.
Jackson Art Market will continue every Saturday afternoon, weather permitting, in downtown Sylva in the small parking lot next to the Sylva Herald building where Murch’s studio is. More photos and information about the market are available on the Instagram page @jacksonartsmarket.
Katerina Spasovska, Ph.D., is Associate Professor and Department Head of Western Carolina University’s Department of Communication.