Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Let The Good Times Roll

  Every Tuesday, from 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., you will find a happy group of folks that have one thing in common.  WE LOVE TO WEAVE!!!
  And, you might wonder....how did this come to be?  Good question!
Way back in the late 1960's, President Johnson had declared a war on poverty.  Grace Foster and Sarah Starr thought that one way folks in this area could benefit was to start a Community Craft Co-op with the mission statement of "For our souls and pocketbooks."  They found an old store front on the highway next to the Museum of Appalachia, and set up a shop to sell handmade Appalachian crafts.  The Museum loaned them an old barn loom, and they had three other looms for weaving.  A pottery workshop was also set up in the building, as well as space for piecing and quilting quilts.  Their claim to fame was the only handicapped accessible outhouse in East Tennessee.
  Carol came to the CCC in 1980.  The new shop was built in 1987.  Somewhere along the way the name was changed to the Appalachian Arts Craft Center....but the mission has stayed the same:  Support arts and crafts in Appalachia through education, sales and community involvement.
  Now days, we are blessed with a good sized retail space upstairs (although we would love to have more room.)

  You can find our placemats, rugs, scarves, shawls and other woven items that are produced downstairs in the studio.
  You'll also find beautiful pottery, jewelry, wooden items, photographs, paintings and quilted items throughout the rest of the shop.

As part of our mission, we have continued to offer beginning weaving classes here at the Center.  Sometimes folks (like ME!) continue to come back Tuesday after Tuesday.  The weaving that we do in the studio not only benefits the Tuesday Weavers, but part of the purchase price goes to the Center.  As most weavers know, we are life long learners...there will always be something new to learn.  One of the best parts is that we learn from each other.  Carol gets us started on the road to weaving....and we drive the rest of the journey.

  One of our signature items is the "Ellen's Pattern" placemats.  Ellen was the first weaving department chairman, and she came up with this crammed and spaced threading for our placemats.  The original ones used a white warp in 8/4 cotton, and five strands of natural 8/4 for weft.  Now....you are already thinking....let's try a another strand of color!  Sure, why not!!!  The possibilities are endless, aren't they!  We have found the white and natural combination a sure bet for folks buying for gifts....keeping it neutral!!!  We buy 8/4 in large quantities for lots of different projects.  You can see part of our stash on the shelves behind Tina and Linda.  And, that's an Ellen's pattern in black 8/4 on Linda's loom.

Carl is weaving on the original barn loom that was loaned to the CCC to start their weaving department.  Yes...we are still weaving lots of rugs!
  Behind Marie, you can see some of the other threads we keep stocked for other projects.
  In addition to the profit from sales in the shop upstairs, we do two shows a year to raise funds for the weaving department.  We have been able to add some new looms to our inventory.

  We are a wee bit crowded....maybe one day we'll get to add on to this building.  But, for now, we just keep on helping each other learn more about weaving.  It's a safe atmosphere to learn to weave and test your wings.  (I didn't even go into our fantastic library of weaving books!!!  It is such a wonderful resource to have at hand!)

  So, since I couldn't be in New Orleans for Fat Tuesday, the weaving studio in Norris, Tennessee, was the perfect place for me!

Happy Weaving!

1 comment:

Tina J said...

This post plus the Facebook video really give a good glimpse into our Tuesdays, thanks LouAnn!