Kick off spring with Celebration of Craft

The 10th annual Celebration of Craft is the perfect way to embrace the spring season.

Set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, at Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Center for Craft near Smithville, the day-long open house event invites visitors to enjoy a variety of activities, entertainment and shopping opportunities while supporting educational outreach programs for children in the Upper Cumberland.

Admission is free to the event, which is sponsored by the Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft of Tennessee (FACCT), and it will be held regardless of weather conditions.

“It’s hard to believe that we’re approaching the 10th Celebration of Craft,” said Gail Gentry, workshop and event coordinator at the Craft Center.

“We’re pleased that the celebration has grown to be such a popular regional event. People come from all over to enjoy the craft demonstrations, live music, shopping, exhibitions and kids’ hands-on craft activities,” she continued.

Demonstrations in the craft studios range from glassblowing, blacksmithing, ceramics, weaving and dyeing, woodworking and fine metals. The craft demos are presented by Craft Center students, faculty and artists in residence.

Musical performances start at 10:30 a.m. with Live Music in America, featuring Carissia and Co., performing jazz and blues selections. Regional favorites, the Cluster Pluckers, take the stage from 1 to 4 p.m.

“The Celebration offers visitors several unique shopping opportunities,” said Jane Dudney Roberts, promotions manager at the Craft Center. “Our Gallery offers a 10 percent discount on all merchandise including contemporary and traditional fine craft, art supplies and books. For TTU employees with a valid Eagle Card, the discount is 20 percent.

“The TTU Visual Arts Society, a student organization, will have its annual spring sale during the Celebration, with work ranging from jewelry, pottery, hand-blown glass, woven work and more,” she continued.

“And FACCT’s silent auction, located in Gallery One, offers a wide selection of donated work by Craft Center and regional artists. All proceeds from the auction support the Craft Center’s educational outreach programs,” Roberts concluded.

A silent auction preview exhibition is set for April 1-5, but bidding is open only during the Celebration on April 5.

Also, the annual artist in residence exhibition, representing a variety of craft media, will be on display through April 8 in Gallery Two.

Other items that will be available during the event are commemorative T-shirts, hand-marbled silk scarves, tote bags and aprons. Merchandise is provided by the Friends of the Appalachian Center for Craft and can be purchased at the FACCT booth, with proceeds going to the Craft Center’s outreach programs.

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

Gentry said, “Our creative, fun and educational hands-on crafts are an excellent avenue to introduce young people to a variety of unique arts experiences. For this year’s celebration, we’re offering projects in paper marbling, photograms, clay handbuilding, hand-made kites and tiny tot necklaces.”

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

The Celebration of Craft is a program funded by the Tennessee General Assembly and administered in cooperation with the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts and the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

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 the Craft Center’s educational outreach programs, call Gentry at 931/372-3051 or visit www.tntech.edu.