Annual Celebration of Craft set for April 14 at TTU's Craft Center

Trees are budding, birds are chirping and flowers are blooming — that can only mean the annual Celebration of Craft is just around the corner.

The Appalachian Center for Craft, a satellite campus of Tennessee Tech University, hosts its ninth annual Celebration of Craft from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, and admission is free.

Visitors can watch narrated demonstrations in all the Craft Center’s studios, including glass blowing, woodworking, weaving, blacksmithing, ceramics and metalsmithing.

“The studio demonstrations are a great opportunity to see the kinds of work that our students and workshop participants are involved with throughout the year,” said Gail Gentry, workshop and event coordinator. “Visitors really get a broad sampling of the programs and experiences available through the Craft Center.”

Live musical performances will be offered throughout the day, starting with Two Mandolins at 10:30 a.m.

The duo will be followed at 12:15 p.m. by Live Music in America, and The Cluster Pluckers, a regional favorite, will round out the afternoon with a performance beginning at 1:30 p.m.

Another popular component of the Celebration is the children’s hands-on craft activities.

“These fun, creative and educational projects are a perfect way to introduce kids to a variety of unique arts experiences,” Gentry said. “The hands-on offerings this year will include handbuilding with clay, photograms, copper lanterns, origami books and tiny-tot necklaces.”

The TTU Visual Art Society, a student organization, will have its annual spring sale during the Celebration. Work will range from jewelry, pottery, hand-blown glass, woven work and more.

“It’s such fun to see what the students will have available during their sale at the Celebration,” said Jane Dudney Roberts, promotions manager at the Craft Center. “The work is exceptional, and so are the prices — it’s a shopper’s paradise.”

In addition to the VAS sale, the Celebration offers more chances to acquire one-of-a-kind fine craft at auction and discounted prices.

The event’s silent auction offers a wide selection of work by Craft Center and regional artists. These pieces are donated and all proceeds from the auction go directly to support the Craft Center’s educational outreach programs.

“This year, there will be a preview exhibition of the silent auction items from April 11 through 13, but bidding doesn’t begin until the Celebration on April 14,” said Gail Looper, gallery manager.

The Gallery offers a 10 percent discount of all merchandise, including contemporary and traditional fine craft, art supplies and books. For TTU employees with a valid Eagle Card identification, the discount is 20 percent.

Also available will be commemorative event T-shirts, hand-marbled silk scarves and other merchandise at the Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft tent. All proceeds of these sales also go to the outreach programs that serve more than 3,500 school children in the Upper Cumberland region annually.

The walkway café, the on-site restaurant at the Craft Center, will be open during the Celebration and serving sandwiches, burgers, hotdogs, treats and more.

“Celebration 2007 is a project funded in part under an agreement with the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Arts Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts,” Gentry said.

The Craft Center is located approximately six miles from Interstate 40 at Exit 273 (Smithville/McMinnville). Go south on Highway 56 and turn left immediately after crossing Hurricane Bridge. This drive leads to the Craft Center.

For more information about the Celebration and educational outreach programs, call Gentry at 931/372-3051 or visit www.tntech.edu.