Julie and Paul Latos make pottery. While their styles are very different, their artwork complements each other and “blends together,” Julie said.
One of Michelle McDowell Smith’s paintings for sale at the Avery Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival.

Julie and Paul Latos make pottery. While their styles are very different, their artwork complements each other and “blends together,” Julie said.
One of Michelle McDowell Smith’s paintings for sale at the Avery Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival.
SUGAR MOUNTAIN — This year’s second Avery Fine Art and Master Crafts Festival took place from Friday to Sunday, Aug. 12 to 14, at Sugar Mountain Resort and drew in quite an array of different artists and vendors.
Raleigh Avery of Avery Knifeworks is a local vendor that attended the festival. Avery learned blacksmithing at summer camp when he was in high school, and once he got home he built a forge. In 2020, after the pandemic disrupted his second semester at App State, Avery dropped out and decided to do knife making full-time.
“I immediately started to look here in Banner Elk for a place to open up,” he said. “My grandparents have had land on top of Beech since 1979 and I’ve been really attached to the area my whole life, so I wanted to start the business here so I could bring my life here.”
Vastly different from knifeworks, Bob Schamerhorn sold prints of his wildlife photography at the festival. Typically, Schamerhorn takes pictures of birds, but his work displays an array of animals, including deer, foxes and bears.
“It’s actually a lot of behavioral science and research involved,” he said. “Putting myself at the right place when the timing is right, whether it’s because of a food source or migration habit.”
Schamerhorn prefers the animals in his photographs to be engaged in their environment, and he rarely keeps a photo where an animal is looking straight at him, he said.
Rather than photographing foxes and bears, Michelle McDowell Smith paints them. Smith creates layered pieces with acrylic paint and collages. Her art is the product of many small details coming together to become one, so a closer look at her paintings almost always uncovers new discoveries.
“From far away, you’ll just see subject matter, but then when it pulls you in, there’s all these tiny little details and vignettes that add to it,” she said.
Her husband, Toby Smith, writes poems to pair with each of her paintings. Recently, they created a children’s book out of their combined artwork.
Another couple who attended the festival together was Julie and Paul Latos, who actually met at an art show a few years back. They are both potters, and while their pieces are very different, they complement each other well, Julie said. The pair shares a studio and has each other to bounce off ideas.
“We’ve been married for four years, and so now we’re in North Carolina and I’m doing things I only dreamed of being able to do,” Paul Latos said.
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