Craft Center's annual Holiday Festival set for the weekend following Thanksgiving

For this year’s holiday shopping, go over the river and through the woods to the Appalachian Center for Craft’s annual Holiday Festival, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 24, 25 and 26, the weekend following Thanksgiving.

In addition to sales of one-of-a-kind craft items for any budget and hand-made ornaments, the event includes craft demonstrations, showcase exhibitions, live music and more.

Best of all, admission is free — and Tennessee Tech University employees who present valid Eagle Card identifications will receive a 10 percent discount for purchases in the Craft Center gallery during the festival and throughout the year.

“This year’s Holiday Festival is going to be bigger and better than ever,” said Gail Looper, gallery manager.

“We have some gorgeous work available for purchase in the exhibitions, more craft demonstrations than ever before, live music by acoustic guitarist Jim Olsen and, of course, the wide range of contemporary and traditional craft available in the sales gallery,” she said.

Craft demonstrations will be presented from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. — unless otherwise noted — each day.

Friday features Jim Wiley’s woodcarving, Cheryl Ludwig’s weaving and Charlie Patricolo’s doll making.

Saturday’s demonstrations include glass blowing by Curt Brock and his students from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and wheel throwing traditional Appalachian face jugs by Jim Sullivan, in addition to Ludwig’s weaving and Patricolo’s doll making.

On Sunday, Thomas Spake will demonstrate glass blowing from 9 a.m. to noon, and Gail Gentry will demonstrate silk scarf marbling, in addition to Patricolo’s doll making.

This year’s festival showcases an exhibition and sale by the Craft Center’s fibers department in Gallery One.

A variety of decorative and functional works will be featured in the show, including hand-printed and –dyed fabric, handmade paper and books, pillows, purses, silk and wool scarves, holiday cards, felted accessories and more — all wildly colorful.

The fibers artists participating in the exhibition are students, faculty and current and former artists in residence.

“This exhibition and sale is a wonderful opportunity for students to gain experience in creating work for sale, using marketing basics like presentation, labeling and pricing, and interacting with potential customers,” said Jeanne Brady, associate professor and head of the fibers department.

In Gallery Two, experience an exhibition and sale of work in a variety of media — clay, glass, wood, metal and mixed media — by Craft Center faculty, students, artists in residence and alumni.

“Visitors to the Holiday Festival can have a stress-free holiday shopping experience with the Craft Center’s ample parking, relaxing atmosphere and knowledgeable, helpful staff,” said Jane Dudney Roberts, promotions and development manager.

“The festival is a perfect opportunity to see what happens at the Craft Center, as well as shop for one-of-a-kind gifts ranging from jewelry, pottery and hand-blown glass, quilts, traditional children’s toys, sculptural and functional housewares and so much more,” she continued.

The Craft Center’s gallery and exhibitions will close for holiday break at 5 p.m. on Dec. 23, so anyone who misses the festival will still have time to shop.

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

For more information about the Holiday Festival, call gallery manager Gail Looper at 931/372-3051, e-mail her at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it or go online to www.tntech.edu.

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