By: Lacy Hilliard
Tomahawk Writer/Photographer

The Johnson County Arts Council (JCAC) held their annual Christmas Craft Show on Saturday, November 15 at the National Guard Armory in Mountain City. Crowds of noteworthy proportion have flocked to the JCAC Christmas Craft Show in droves each year and the 2014 show was no different.

JCAC 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 accommodate. In fact, had 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.

From handcrafted wares to culinary delights, the 2014 JCAC Christmas Craft Show offered something for everyone. Many vendors return every year like Sharon Springer of Soulshine Soap Company was in attendance offering her full line of natural soap including new products for the 2014 holiday season. Tia Thomas of Sweet T Photography also returned this year with various fine art photographs for sale as well as a 2015 calendar that features landscape photography from scenic areas throughout Johnson County. Harold Shoemaker of Wood Butcher Wood Works was also in attendance selling a variety of driftwood art. All the driftwood Shoemaker harvests comes from the banks of Watauga Lake and because the original piece is crafted by nature, each work of art is unique. Dattie Phipps was also a vendor at the 2014 JCAC Christmas Craft Show, offering a variety of wares including handmade nativities carefully crafted from clay pots. Sandy Moore, a retired art teacher from Kingsport made her presence known at the craft show by offering a unique array of dichroic glass pendants, many of which were crafted by layering several pieces of dichroic glass to create a rainbow of colors that change as light passes through them. Matthew Denny of Matthew’s Pens, a crowd favorite last year, was also in attendance at the 2014 show. The young Denny handcrafts pens using local and exotic wood. Each pen takes about 30 minutes to complete and it’s clear through his enthusiasm that Denny is passionate about his craft, “I’m happy to be back again and I love what I do,” said Denny.
The Johnson County Arts Council is comprised of several individuals that dedicate their time to keeping the arts alive in Johnson County. JCAC Member Misste Phillippi took on the lions share of arranging the 2014 Christmas Craft Show and thanks to her careful planning, the show was well organized and set up so that shoppers could easily move in and out of the dozens of displays.

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