Arts Council Craft Show turnout most impressive to dateBy Lacy Hilliard
The annual Arts Council Craft Show was held at the National Guard Armory in Mountain City on Saturday, November 23. The cars lining Highway 421 and the shoulder-to-shoulder foot traffic through aisle upon aisle of handcrafted goods was a testament to the impressive turnout at this year’s event. Arts Council members agreed that this years Craft Show had the most impressive number of patrons thus far and many attendees were able to get all of their holiday shopping done in just one day.
The Arts Council Craft Show can easily boast an eclectic mix of everything patrons could have imagined and some things completely unimaginable. Renee Proffitt of Rocky Knob Crafts & Such offered wares the easily fall under the ‘unimaginable’ category. Her best seller was Christmas Tree ornaments made out of shotgun shells. Primitive it may sound, but the talented Renee Proffitt was able to bring a bit of country chic to the unexpected.
Sharon Springer of Soulshine Soap Company, Tia Thomas of Sweet T Photography, and Jean Ann Savery of The Jewelry Workshop were just a few of the local artisans present at this years Arts Council Craft Show. Perhaps gaining the most attention of the day was eleven-year-old Matthew Denny. The bright-eyed entrepreneur handcrafts pens using local and exotic wood. “I like working with wood and working with my hands” said Denny of his mini masterpieces. The talented youngster begins with just two blocks of wood and utilizes a lathe and pen kits for the inner workings and metal components of the pens. Each pen takes about 30 minutes to complete and the extensive knowledge Denny possesses about his product is almost as impressive as the pens themselves.
Arts Council Member Andy Wright is responsible for starting the Arts Council Craft Show 20 years ago. Over the years, the show that began in Wrights’ living room has evolved from three stay-at-home mothers looking to make extra money for the holidays to a sizeable show that the National Guard Armory can barely host. In fact, if every vendor that applied had been given a space the show would have literally outgrown the venue. While there are talks of expansion, there isn’t a heated venue large enough in Johnson County to host all interested parties. Andy Wright attends each year, selling her culinary creations and sewing crafts. She says that the show has become a sort of family reunion with vendors new and old coming together to provide quality crafts and support shopping local.
Another member of the Arts Council, Faye Bowman also spoke of her excitement to attend the event each year: “The enthusiasm contagious and the vendors look forward to this show every year. Many of them tell me this is their favorite show. It really gets everyone into the Christmas spirit.” Arts Council President Temple Reece, Faye Bowman, Andy Wright and other members of the group are looking to recruit new members. The Arts Council is a volunteer organization that has provided countless services to the community. This year alone the organization is responsible for providing funding to the Musical Heritage Mural Project and children’s art programs. If you’re interested in joining the Johnson County Arts Council, please contact Temple Reece at Johnson County Bank.