The wish to “buy local” can present a challenge for holiday shoppers, but the Johnson City Area Arts Council is offering an easy — and beautiful — solution.
In celebration of the holiday season, Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, State of Franklin Chapter, will be exhibiting original works at the Johnson City Area Arts Council Gallery through Dec. 19. This exhibit will include unique handmade crafts such as pottery, sculpture, fiber, jewelry, woodwork, ornaments and more.
This is an opportunity to buy gifts made by regional artists, all members of the local TACA chapter, which includes Washington and the seven surrounding counties.
According to Suzanne Burik-Burleson, executive director of the arts council, this is the third year they have hosted the TACA exhibition and sale, but, since she is new to the position, it is her first year.
“One the enjoyable facets of hosting this show is meeting the artists when they come in and hearing the stories they tell about their work,” she said. “It gives the pieces a soulfulness you wouldn’t find without purchasing from an artist.”
As pieces are purchased, TACA will replenish the exhibit until it closes Dec. 19. The artists whose works are represented are:
• Kara Bledsoe. Bledsoe of Johnson City calls herself a “freelance advocate for creativity.” Her primary medium is clay. After construction of a piece, while it’s still in the wet state, she coats the piece in a white clay slip, which gives her a ground to carve designs into. This technique is called sgraffito. The pieces are glazed and fired in an electric kiln on her back porch.
• Bonnie Boochard, Kingsport, is a member of Overmountain Weavers Guild. Her work is in the collections of B. Carroll Reece Museum, Georgia College and State University, Arizona State University and the Southern Graphics Council. Her hand-knit fine wearables are on exhibit and available for purchase.
• Linda Bryant. Bryant works as a potter, metalsmith, painter and printmaker. She graduated with a masters in studio art at Marshall University in West Virginia, majoring in ceramics, and completed a metalsmithing program at Haywood Community College. She maintains Stones Throw Studio in Jonesborough and Erwin.
• Aleta Chandler. Chandler, of Johnson City, is a member of Piedmont Craftsman Guild and the current chapter president of TACA. Though she enjoys working with many types of media, she is foremost a potter. Chandler received a bachelor of fine arts in metalsmithing and a master of fine arts in ceramics at East Tennessee State University.
• Reneau Dubberley. Dubberley, a wood turner, combines two lifelong hobbies in his work — nature studies and woodworking — using downed trees or trees that otherwise would end up in the landfill. He employs natural defects in the creation of his work, including natural markings created by Dutch elm disease, insects, spaulting caused by mold and bacteria in decaying wood, the contrast between sapwood and heartwood, and a tree’s natural burls and branching
• Nancy Fischman. Fischman, of Johnson City, is a freelance graphics designer and editor. She also is a ceramics artist. Fischman concentrates on pieces made in slump molds or over hump molds with added slab rims or coiled edges. Her pieces are usually fired in a gas kiln, but occasionally she uses soda firing and wood firing.
• Debra Foster-Brunst. Foster-Brunst has had a lifelong interest in creating objects from wood. Drawn to the beauty of wood, she took classes in woodturning, curious to see what was under twigs and bark. Her fine writing and desk implements are included in the exhibit and sale.
• Phil Homes. Homes of Piney Flats owns Pine Hill Pottery. Trained as an architect, he has focused on creating with clay for decades. He has long admired the strength and serenity of the Japanese object, and that admiration is reflected in his work. He says he is “by choice committed to the vessel” though bits and pieces of earlier interests remain.
• Mary Barton Nees. Nees works in various media, from monotypes with mixed media to gestural landscapes using Chinese ink and watercolor. Her inspiration comes from the natural realm, Biblical scriptures and her own poetry. Nees has been an adjunct member of the art and design faculty at ETSU. She was trained at Cornell University, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Barnes Foundation before earning her MFA in printmaking at ETSU.
• W. Lynn Perry. Perry is owner/operator of Corona Art Glass in Kingsport, creating fused and stained glass objects, including jewelry. Perry a retired chemical engineer from Eastman Chemical Co., has been a stained-glass designer and craftsman since 1980 and a fused glass artist since 1996.
• Netta Shepherd. Shepherd lives in Johnson City. She began making jewelry using beads and gemstones, which eventually led her to make her own glass beads using lampworking techniques. To set her work apart, she incorporated her glass beads with hand-formed copper wire work. Shepherd uses only recycled copper and other metals in her art and jewelry.
• Ken Yearwood. Yearwood makes wire wrapped gems and stones and beaded necklaces. He is retired from the medical field. He started wire-wrapping after taking his wife to some classes. Though she didn’t care for the technique, he fell in love with it.
The Holiday Show will be open to the public during regular business hours Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The gallery is located in downtown Johnson City in the King’s Centre, 300 East Main Street, Suite 102.
For more information, call 928-8229 or visit www.arts.org.