Information Revolution
Info Crafts 01 Hand Crafted Broom Info Crafts 02 Bear Carver Info Crafts 03 Pottery Demo Info Crafts 04 Quilting Demo Info Crafts 05 Making Glass Info Crafts 06 Glass Exhibit


Many traditional crafts such as woodcarving and furniture-making, basket-making, and pottery-making continue to thrive in Tennessee. 
Early decorative works were hand-pieced quilts, handwoven -cover-lets, split oak baskets, and other items necessary to daily life. The Southern Highland Handicraft Guild helped spread craft arts through marketing and education. 
As a result, these new craftspeople changed crafts from “necessary” to more artistic. Today, craft pieces tend to be more decorative. For example, a hand-pieced quilt would never be used to keep warm, but rather as a decorative item in the room.
Modern craft artists also use improved technology. Woodworkers can use power saws and planers while potters might use electric wheels.

Contemporary craft artists also use free-form, unusual shapes. Tennessean Akira Blount’s dolls are obviously made as contemporary decorative pieces, not toys for children.
The Appalachian Center for Craft near Cookeville teaches Tennessee Tech students craft techniques in clay, fibers, glass, metals, and wood. They also hold exhibitions and workshops for local residents.
The Tennessee Association of Craft Arts (TACA) helps promote its member artists through craft fairs and competitions. The 2007 TACA fair, held at Centennial Park in Nashville, attracted more than 45,000 people to view and purchase crafts made by 180 craftspeople.
The Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee, is a living history museum of frontier life in the Southern Appalachians. They also feature craft exhibitions of folk art, pottery, quilts, and other crafts.
Tennessee has a wealth of craft artists such as potter Sylvia Hyman, furniture craftsman Alfred Sharp, and basket-maker Maggie Murphy. Their work is collected by museums throughout the United States.

Craft artists produce beautiful objects. However, they also remind the public of the value of past traditions and the skill and artistry required to create many handmade objects. 

Picture Credits:
  • Photograph of a man hand-crafting a broom. This photo was taken in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 1998. It shows craftsman Wayne Ogle making a broom. Other completed brooms are also shown in the background. Tennessee State Musuem Collection, 1998.113.6.
  • Photograph entitled, “Bear Carver.” This photo was taken in Gatlinburg, Tennessee in 2007 by photographer Cliff Dix. It shows a man using a chainsaw to carve sculptures of bears. Completed and partially completed sculptures are also shown in the photo.
  • Photograph showing a pottery demonstration. This photo was taken in 2008 at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville by photographers Brent and MariLynn. It shows an artist at the Volunteer Village of Arts and Crafts using a potter’s wheel to craft a jar.
  • Photograph of a quilting demonstration. This photo was taken in 2008 at the Tennessee State Fair in Nashville by photographers Brent and MariLynn. It shows an artist at the Volunteer Village of Arts and Crafts making a quilt.
  • Photograph entitled, “Making Glass.” This photo was taken in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee at the Dollywood amusement park in 2005 by photographer, “Old Shoe Woman.” It shows a man making glass using a glassblowing technique.
  • Photograph of a beveled glass exhibit. This photo was taken in 2007 in Nashville at Centennial Park at an event for the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists. It shows a woman artist surrounded by her beveled glass designs. A man is also shown sitting in the photo.
  • Pop Up photograph:  Red Bud Figure Vessel doll sculpture made of wood and paper.  This doll was made by Akira Blount.  It shows a female figure rising up out of a wood vessel. Tennessee State Museum Collection, 2003.23.5.

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