Shop Local: The North Carolina Crafts Gallery

April 28, 2010 at 4:00 am (Shop Local)

The North Carolina Crafts Gallery

You never forget your first… your first kiss, your first love, and for me (and professionally probably as profound as my first kiss) my first gallery.

Before I started actually selling my work, my friend and mentor Irene Semanchuk Dean advised me to calculate my costs, set my wholesale price first, and then use a multiplier to set my retail price. She advised me that whether I intended to wholesale my work or not, that setting my wholesale price first would prepare me to field wholesale inquiries from galleries. Although the very thought of a gallery carrying my work was the furthest thing from my mind, I took Irene’s advice anyway and followed her pricing formula to a tea.

It’s a good thing I did. At my first show in 2004 (Centerfest), Sara Latta Gress, a young and enthusiastic gallery owner from Carrboro, decided to purchase my Ephemera Collection for The North Carolina Crafts Gallery. Gress had just purchased the gallery months before and was seeking out new North Carolina talent to fill the shelves.

The North Carolina Crafts Gallery was established in 1989 by Sherri Ontjes. An artist herself, and former teacher, Ontjes wanted to bring some of the rich tradition of North Carolina craft to the area. She travelled across the state meeting artists and craftsmen, visiting their studios, and purchasing their wares. After 15 years, Ontjes was ready to retire and Gress, who had began working at the gallery part time, was ready to take the reigns.

“Owning a gallery is something I never thought I’d do, but it is exactly what I should be doing,” says Gress. “I have kept true to selling only handmade items (still made in NC).” [Notes from the Handmade Highway Blog]

Today, The North Carolina Crafts Gallery carries the work of over 500 North Carolinians, including mine and Asheville artist Irene Semanchuk Dean’s. The Gallery features contemporary and traditional pottery, blown glass, turned wood, jewelry, toys, fiber art, metalwork, garden items, folk art, weavings, stained glass, baskets, and some furniture.

In addition, the Gallery hosts two shows a month. Shows begin the first of each month, and customers are often able to meet the featured artists during the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Art Walk, which takes place the second Friday of each month.

It’s true. You never forget your first. The North Carolina Craft Gallery was the first gallery to carry my work and the first gallery to exhibit my Beyond Neverland collection. More importantly, and now twenty galleries later, Gress was the first gallery owner to take a vested interest in me and for that I am in truly grateful.

The North Carolina Crafts Gallery is located at 212 West Main Street in Carrboro, on the corner of West Main and West Weaver Streets. The Gallery is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and on Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.


Ron Philbeck, April Featured Artist, The NC Crafts Gallery

Bob Palmatier, April Featured Artist, NC Craft Gallery


1 Comment

  1. Cameron Pottery said,

    Numerous galleries and folk art centers showcase pottery, textiles, paintings, musical instruments, metal work, jewelry, and wood carvings. Cameron Pottery


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