We are publishing this blog post from the 2013 Foothills Craft Guild Show since the 2014 show is coming up soon: November 14-16 at Chilhowee Park, Knoxville, TN. Can’t emphasize enough the quality and uniqueness of the creations for sale by these juried artists! Make time to treat yourself to the area’s finest artists and craftsmen. You’ll be so glad you did. For more information, click here.
It was mostly what we’ve come to expect from this annual Fine Craft Show in Knoxville by the Foothills Craft Guild: unique, one-of-a-kind, artistically crafted items displayed tastefully by some of the nicest artisans you would ever hope to meet. But this year, the event held November 15-17, offered the unexpected: humor!
That’s right — many of the artists and craftspeople showcased their whimsical creations much to the delight of the hundreds of patrons and visitors who packed the Jacob Building and gathered ’round the best of the best. Although all — and we mean all — of the booths held quality pieces, we found several artists and creations that spoke to us in new ways.
We met Charles at the Webb School art show last fall and purchased a pair of earrings he named Going to Mr. Bennie’s. (Pinckney’s jewelry is frequently created with a story in mind.) As a guest of the Foothills Craft Guild, Charles brought his one-of-a-kind pieces fashioned mostly of silver and other fine metals. (www.charlespinckney.com)
Linda’s finely stitched fabric collages bear looking at closely. The strength of color and composition are marvels in themselves, but when you get close, you can’t believe the tight rows of tiny stitches that add texture and artistry.
Jeri Landers returned this year with more of her signature scherenschnitte (scissor cuttings). But she was also autographing her illustrated books featuring a rabbit of her own creation: Hopalong Jack — just one of her many endearing woodland animals. Click here for her website featuring more of her work and upcoming projects.
Clay pieces from Mary Curtin generally feature hand-cut flower motifs with delicate openings lending an airiness to the bowls, baskets, and plates she produces. This rich red floral arrangement complemented an earthy clay basket that stood out against the black background of her booth.
We couldn’t resist picking up the hand-turned bowls, vessels, and plates by Bob Klassen and learning more about the woods the artist uses for each piece. This is art you want to touch.
A member of Foothills Craft Guild for many years, Beryl told us that she began her career making gathering baskets, one of her early “loves” and, today, still one of her favorite things to make.
But she also offered something tiny to her fans and patrons: miniature woven baskets — some not any bigger than a thimble — made of string, thread, and natural pieces like bark or feathers.
Hugh and Barbara Webb
For many years, Hugh and Barbara have brought their tiny hand-cut, hand-painted wooden pins and boxes, but this year the couple branched out with other surfaces like gourds and driftwood. People love to examine the detail on these miniatures and ask them repeatedly, How can you do such tiny work?
When we turned the corner of one of the aisles, we spied familiar work — the photography of Clay Thurston — and the first of many pieces for sale that made us smile! We loved a trio of pictures based upon an old pick-up truck bearing trees, etc. But it was Clay’s title that brought it to life: Long Term Parking. Clay brought something new to the show this year: photographs on canvas with the same high quality resolution that we’ve come to expect from him. Beautiful!
Wooden spoons and bowls are generally utilitarian pieces — something every kitchen and every chef needs. But in Karen Davis‘s hands, even the simplest spoon can be fun. Doesn’t this little smiley face make you want to smile back?
Speaking of smiles, a man who cheers us up with almost every column he writes for the Knoxville News-Sentinel visited with fans and signed his books filled with local color and Southern humor. Sam Venable is known in “these-here” parts as someone who can find humor in just about every phase of life. He even makes writing sound easy — like fallin’ off a log! Bill Landry (WBIR’s Heartland Series host), Jim Johnston (historian) and Dr. Bill Bass (author and noted UT professor) joined Sam in the Author’s Corner, and there’s just no tellin’ what laughs they stirred up!
Some of the artists and guild members volunteered to share their secrets right out in front of all of us. And you could see most visitors smiling and pointing and calling other people over as they watched the craftspeople demonstrate what they do best.
In our category of “Most Original” was the work of three artists.
Kitty fashions what she calls Castaway’s Sculpture out of cast-off pieces — like doll heads, seashells, metal parts, and antique toys. Just one look at these examples should make you move closer to your screen to examine the compositions, but if you want to see more, go to Kitty’s website: www. CastawaysSculpture.com. We overheard one lady remark, These ought to be in the The Smithsonian! And maybe someday, they will be!
The big pink flying pig drew us in to the booth of Allen Hampton, a metal artist from Chattanooga. As if that weren’t enough to add whimsy to a garden or sunroom, the whole booth was filled with creatures meant to withstand the elements and give a garden or patio a lighthearted touch! (www.allenhampton.com)
Without a doubt, my favorite piece of the whole show was Eloise, a sculptured clay birdhouse that attracted a lot of attention. Maybe it was the smile. Or the kinky hair. Or those retro glasses. Whatever it was, it was fun — and I almost brought Eloise home! I think I could even hear the birds laughing in my backyard, if Eloise were there! ( Jane’s website: www.smokymountainmud.com)
And so, the Fine Craft Show for 2013 wraps up with even better artistry and humor than before. If you missed this year’s event, put it on your calendar for next year. In our East Tennessee region, it’s one of the best (we think!) and this year, possibly one of the most whimsical craft shows around!
Foothills Craft Guild
Aleex Conner, Foothills Marketing Director: firstname.lastname@example.org