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Local artisans meet gift needs of community at show

By Lacy Hilliard
Christmas was in the air on Saturday, November 17, at Mountain City National Guard Armory. The armory was overflowing with eager holiday shoppers that have all been excitedly anticipating the arrival of the annual Arts Council Craft Show. Not only was the main room of the armory filled with dozens of vendors, the foyer and many side rooms were filled to the brim with handcrafted wares. With the bounty of handmade and artisan crafted goods, it’s doubtful that anyone left disappointed.
The Arts Council Craft Show has grown each year and has nearly outgrown every venue the county has to offer. It’s hard to believe that a craft show of this magnitude began in the living room of Arts Council member, Andy Wright. Then a stay-at-home-mom, Wright launched the show 19 years ago. She was inspired to start the craft show as a way of helping other stay-at-home-moms earn an additional income by selling their crafts. She hosted the show in her living room for the first two years but it wasn’t long before a larger venue was necessary. The third year the show took place at the First United Methodist Church and from there moved to the Welcome Center and the Senior Center. Year after year, the show outgrew its former home until the armory was the only venue large enough to accommodate it. Wright works as an educator for gifted students within the Johnson County School District and though her profession keeps her busy, she always finds the time for her sewing projects and culinary creations. Wright looks forward to the craft show each year and the reunion of vendors past the goes along with it.
Many of the vendors at the Arts Council Craft show were selling holiday themed items such as Christmas tree ornaments, wreaths, and holiday goodies like peanut brittle and pumpkin cheesecake. Patricia Widener was in attendance selling many whimsical Christmas themed decorations like her glass gift boxes which contained shining white Christmas lights inside. The boxes gave off a soft glow and would make a wonderful addition to any mantle at Christmastime.
To read the story, pick up a copy of this week's Tomahawk.