Goingback Chiltoskey, known as G.B., was born on the Cherokee Qualla Boundary in 1907.  He learned woodcarving from his brother Watty and then participated in the woodworking program during high school in Greenville, SC.  In the later 1920s and early 1930s he completed high school and studied carpentry at the Haskell Institute in Lawrence, KS, now the Haskell Indian Nations University.  He went on to attend the U.S. Indian School, later known as the Institute of Ameircan Indian Art, focusing on jewelry from 1933 - 1935.  Throughout his life, Chiltoskey continued to study crafts at Penland School of Crafts, Oklahoma A and M Univeristy, Purdue University, and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Between 1935 and 1940, Chiltoskey taught woodworking and carving at the Cherokee HIgh School.  He also tutored his niece, Amanda Crowe, who eventually became a nationally recognized wood sculptor.  During World War II, Chiltoskey became a model maker for the Army Research and Development Laboratories in Fort Belvoir, VA.  After the war he continued making models for movie sets and architects and then returned to the Qualla Boundary to teach veterans.  From 1954 to 1966 he continued model building for Fort Belvoir.

Chiltoskey joined the Guild in 1948 and participated in fair demsontrations, exhibitions and booth sales from the 1950s through the 1980s.  He was the first active tribal member of the Guild.  He served on the Board of Trustees and the Standards Committee and demonstrated at the Folk Art Center.  He received Life Membership to the Guild in 1972 and continued active participation until his death in 2000.  Chiltoskey was one of the founders of Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, Inc., the tribal craft cooperative and gallery.

Cherokee heritage was important to G.B. and his wife, Mary Ulmer Chiltoskey.  Mary wrote several books on Cherokee culture, language, and storytelling as well as native plants.  She taught mathematics and social studies and was the librarian at the Cherokee School from 1942 to 1967.  Mary also taught the Cherokee language and the alphabet.  Goingback and Mary were fluent in Cherokee.  Goingback was also a tribal blow gun champion.

Goingback used native woods such as cherry, buckeye, walnut, holly and apple in his carving.  He carved significant tribal images such as the Eagle Dancer and the tribal seal.  He also created numerous animal figures including geese, howling wolves, cougars, bears, weasels, dog, giraffes, birds and buffalo.  He received commissions to create many wooden emblem plaques for government agencies, a scale model of the battleship North Carolina, a bust of Zebulon Vance, and Lady Justice for Campbell University.  Chiltoskey also continued to create jewelry, particularly silver rings with stones and belt buckles.  He made Mary's wedding ring and a special brooch for her.

Chiltoskey received the North Carolina Art Society Purchase Prize in 1953 for his carving, the Great Horned Owl.  In 1974 he accepted the Western North Carolina Historical Association Achievement Award.  He acquired the 1982 award for service to the North American Indian Women's Association.  He received an Honorary Live Membership in the International Wood Collector's Society.      

Fannie Rebekah Mennen was born in Riga, Latvia, in 1903, child of Rabbi Ephraim Mennen and Naomi Atlas Mennen.  She arrived in Chattanooga, TN, at eight months old when her father was asked to lead the oldest synagogue in the city.  When she was a year old she contracted polio and suffered multiple surgeries in her youth leaving her disabled.

Mennen attended George Peabody College for an education and music degree in 1929.  In 1945 she completed studies at Columbia University to receive a Master's degree in art teaching.  She studied art in night school and summer sessions at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and the University of Cincinnati.  She was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship in 1953 to travel to Haiti.  She taught art in public schools in Chattanooga for thirty years, then retired in 1961 to pursue her own craft.

She moved to her Plum Nelly home, two log cabins joined by a dogtrot, and acreage on a rocky bluff of Lookout Mountain, Georgia, on the southwestern edge of Chattanooga in 1934, buying land over time with her teacher's salary.  It took years to remodel her home.  She based the home's name on the expression "Plum out of Tennessee and Nelly out of Georgia."

Mennen practiced print making and was well known for her block printed trapunto pillows with images stuffed and quilted adding a three-dimensional effect.  She gouged and cut both woodcuts and linoleum blocks and mixed her own dyes preferring black, brown, orange and green.  she also produced note cards, wall hangings, and tote bags.  Her designs included wildflowers, trees, and Appalachian animals.  She also used Mimbres, the cartoonish black animal figures on white pottery from Pre-Columbian Southwestern Indian pottery.  Her love of paper compelled her at times to print on up to twenty varieties of paper.

In 1947 Mennen and sponsored the Plum Nelly Clothes Line Art Show at her home.  The show attracted over thirty fellow artists in painting, jewelry, wood carving, print making, pottery, weaving and other arts.  It was staged on her property, up a winding road in grassy meadows and under tree branches, with trails of wood chips.  Over 18,000 customers attended the show which continued for 27 years into the 1970s.

Mennen became a member of 12 Designer Craftsmen, a cooperative gallery in Gatlinburg, TN.  Her work also sold through her sister, Mrs. Celia Marks, at her Plum Nelly Shop in Chattanooga.  Mennen entered the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1959, often demonstrated at the Craft Fairs, and became a life member in 1983 until her death in 1995.  She also demonstrated print making at Callaway Gardens, GA, in 1976 through Guild sponsorship.  Mennen voiced her love of teaching and sharing art, "I discovered I could bring art out of other people."       

Isadora Williams at the October 1965 Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands

Born in 1884, Isadora Williams lived at her grandfather Benajah Williams farm in Pickens County, SC, near Easley.  She attended a public pay school three to seven months per year in Liberty Township and attended high school through the ninth grade.  Typical for teachers of the times, her first teaching job from 1903 - 1904 was in a two-teacher school in Anderson County while she lived on the family farm.  Between 1904 and 1908 she attended Winthrop College in Rock Hill, SC.  After college, Williams continued to teach in southern Carolina primary and secondary schools until 1918.

Following a decade of Populist pressure, the Smith-Lever Extension Act passed in 1914 creating a national Agricultural Extension Service for rural residents.  Federally sponsored state colleges of agriculture extended programs into the countyside educating men in farming and women in home economics and housekeeping.  The Act funded 2000 Home Demonstration Agents to train housewives.  In 1919 Isadora Williams became one of the first Home Demonstration Agents and served Geneva County, Alabama.  Williams continued her work with women through Agricultural Extension at various sites in Alabama and Kentucky until 1930 when she became a Home Marketing Specialist through the  Extension office at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.

Williams' new position as a Home Marketing Specialist, which continued until 1954, inspired her to experiment with the new concept of curbside and roadside markets.  This new outlet for farm women stimulated them to create a wide range of crafts for selling at these markets.  Rural women were prepared to sell their garden produce and home canned preserves, jams and jellies, but crafts offered the opportunity to increase their income.  To fill this need, Williams taught classes in natural materials crafts, block printing, rug hooking and braiding, and tufting.  She wrote numerous agency bulletins and circulars on various "how-to" processes in native materials, home furnishings, and apparel.

Williams joined the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1943 after attending meetings since 1932.  She was elected to the Board and served from 1944 through 1947 as Secretary.  She coordinated publicity for the first Guild Fair in 1948 and exhibited many of her rugs at the shows.  Williams was awarded Life Membership in 1964.  She continued as an active member doing numerous workshops and classes until her death in 1976.

While exposing rural women to income producing crafts, Williams explored her own interest in crafts.  Through her Home Demonstration work, she taught outdoor workshops where women gathered natural dyeing materials and boiled yarn in huge metal kettles.  She experimented with rug making through weaving, hooking, tufting, and braiding.  She worked with corn shucks, pine cones, nuts, and seeds creating boutonnieres, natural ornamental arrangements,and "Woods Pretties" of which she sold thousands.  She helped establish the "Woodsy Pretties" workshop when two farm women wanted to decorate shuck hats they had made.  They gathered beech nuts, hickory nuts and peanuts, bored holes in them, and strung them into bouquets to adorn the hats.

When a rural farm woman nostalgically recalled her grandmother's shuck doll that she had played with as a child, Williams aided her in recreating it.  That doll was sold as "Mollie." In the first year "Mollie" sold in 23 states and three foreign countries.         


The members of the Martin family of Swannanoa, NC were known for their talents as Appalachian wood carvers and musicians.  Marcus L. Martin, the father, carved scrolls on violins, built dulcimers and banjos, and was a champion fiddler in North Carolina.  His wife, Callie, played the five-string banjo.  The couple had five children: a daughter named Zenobia and five sons, Fred, Quentin, Wade, Wayne and Edsel.  Fred made dulcimers.  Wayne carved.  Quentin crafted furniture and played the guitar.  Edsel and Wade excelled at wood carving.  Edsel and Wade both made great contributions to the craft community as members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.
Mountaineer Carving by Edsel Martin

Edsel Martin was born in 1927.  After being wounded in World War II he started marketing his carvings in 1946.  Edsel carved figures, birds, fish, dogs, snakes and rabbits.  His carvings were worked in walnut, cherry, redwood, white pine and maple.  His major tool was a pocket knife.  Like his father Edsel also made dulcimers, completing 175 by 1965.  He was an expert dulcimer player and made several recordings.  Edsel's wife Elsie was also a craftsperson.  She carved maple flowers, roosters and pine trees, shaving curls of wood to create petals, feathers, and tree limbs.

Edsel joined the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1962 and became a Life Member in 1991.  He maintained an active membership until his death in 1999.  He exhibited and demonstrated at the Craft Fairs for thirty years and participated at Folk Art Center special events such as Heritage Weekend occasionally.  The Smithsonian Institute selected Edsel to demonstrate at the 1968 Festival of American Folklife in Washington, D.C.  That same year he participated in the History of Transportation at Hemisfair in San Antonio, TX.  In 1965, he created a dulcimer which was presented to Lady Bird Johnson, and a collection of state birds for the Smithsonian Institute.  In 1986, Edsel provided carved gifts for the Southern Governor's Conference.  

Wade Martin served as an Army paratrooper in the Pacific during World War II.  During his service in the Philippines, he met a wood carver and borrowed his knife.  According to Wade, after borrowing the knife he went out to an old Japanese barge with a machete, knocked off a chunk of wood and started carving.  His first piece was a three to four inch hula girl.  His second carving was of his father as and old time fiddler.  He continued whittling mountain characters, including musicians, moon shiners, wood choppers, women washing clothes, hog butchers and boys fishing.  Wade's best known figure was "Lazybones," a mountaineer propped against a stump relaxing.  He also carved hounds with every wrinkle and tendons showing through the flesh.  Like his father and brother he also made dulcimers from time to time.  Wade worked in the offset printing shop at Beacon Manufacturing in Swannonoa, NC later in life.
Old Time Band Carving by Wade Martin

Wade was a member of the Guild from 1951 until 1963 and demonstrated wood carving at the Craft Fairs.  His carvings attracted numerous admirers at Allanstand Craft Shop and other Asheville outlets.  In 2000, the Guild designated Wade Martin as a Heritage Craft Affiliate member.  He died in 2005.

In 1986, Wade created a scrapbook, "Swannanoa's Wood Carving Mountaineer Style" which chronicled his family's crafts.  The book includes Wade's sketches, as well as stories, clippings, photographs, sayings and humor.  It revealed that Wade Martin's creativity extended beyond wood carving.  A play, Woodcarvers Christmas, was adapted from the book by Rebecca Williams and produced in 2003 - 2004.       

On Saturday, April 21, 2012 the 82nd Annual Meeting of the Southern Highland Craft Guild was held at the Folk Art Center.  The following people were honored during the Awards Ceremony:

Honorary Membership

Anthony Cole
Karol Kavaya
Walter Powell

Heritage Craft Affiliate

Brown's Pottery
Wayne Henderson

Life Membership

Carlson Tuttle

In Memoriam

Kitty Alcott
Garry Barker
Evelyn Brown
Phillip Brown
Joyce Cooper
Lenda DuBose
Jim Hiett
Hal McClure
Ralph Morris
Roy K. Pace
Dyan Peterson
Miriam Thompson
Legatha Walston
Sally Wilkerson

The New Board of Trustees was also announced at the Annual Meeting.  The 2012 - 2013 Members of the Board are:

Teresa Brittain, President
Oak Ridge, TN
Alan Hollar, Vice President
Newland, NC  
Freida Terrell, Treasurer
Clyde, NC
Mary Dashiell, Secretary
Meadows of Dan, VA 
Hugh Bailey
Knoxville, TN  
Sandra Rowland
Murphy, NC  
Janet Taylor (finishing out the remaining 2 years of Lila Bellando's term)
Spruce Pine, NC  
Greg Magruder
Asheville, NC  
Bernie Rowell
Candler, NC

Alice Pratt hosts a weaving demonstration at the 1957 SHCG Craftsmen's Fair

Alice Pratt: A Life of Weaving and Service

Editor's Note: This post is the second in a series called "From the Archives" - a look back at the people who served and helped shape the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The author of the series is Bonnie Krause. Bonnie works at Allanstand Craft Shop and volunteers in the
SHCG Library.

Alice Pratt was born in Covington, GA in 1899. Following in the footsteps of several generations before her, she would become a talented weaver. Her grandmother and great grandmother wove counterpanes and coverlets in the early nineteenth century. She attended Maryville College in Tennessee, taking studies in home economics and the Bible from 1925 to 1929 where she also taught tailoring. After college she took a position at Pi Beta Phi Settlement School in Gatlinburg where she worked as a bookkeeper for the weaving outreach program. Continuing in the family tradition, Pratt developed her weaving skills there in Gatlinburg. As reported in an Asheville Citizen-Times article about Pratt, "Her love of weaving is a family inheritance."

With the economic troubles of the Depression, Pratt found a position from 1933 to 1937 teaching weaving in the Works Progress Administration Women's Program in Knoxville. This was one of the many programs aimed at increasing unemployed women's skills and helping them find work to support their families. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel in 1936, nearly 1,000 women worked seven hours a day, five days a week at a sewing room on West Jackson Avenue . They created cotton dresses, overalls, infant and children's clothing. The women earned $33 a month and the clothing was distributed to those in need. Some women made quilts and others wove rag rugs, linens and draperies. They also learned additional skills in family and childcare, health and literacy. At an exhibition of products from the Women's Program, Pratt participated by demonstrating loom weaving. One of her students later wrote , "I have you to thank for one of the great joys of my life. We built a loom and began learning and have never stopped."

Following her work in Knoxville, Pratt advanced to Regional Supervisor of Handicrafts for the Farm Security Administration Homestead Project with headquarters in Raleigh, NC. The Homestead Project created new communities for unemployed and homeless families and taught new skills. From 1938 to 1940, Pratt set up craft rooms, gift shops, working 2 - 3 months at each site. She worked in Crossville and Cumberland in Tennessee, Eleanor in West Virginia, and Wolf Pit Farms and Rockingham in North Carolina. During this time, Pratt met with Eleanor Roosevelt, a supporter of crafts and new communities.

Through the late 1940s to the 1960s, Pratt taught weaving in a variety of educational settings: University of Tennessee Home Economics, Asheville College, Warren Wilson College and the Asheville Recreation Department. After studies in social work at the University of North Carolina, she served as a caseworker and therapist at the Asheville Sanatorium and Appalachian Hall. She also taught crafts for paraplegic World War II veterans at the Regional Veterans Center in Asheville.

Throughout her life Pratt attended summer school weaving classes at Penland School of Crafts. She joined the Southern Highland Craft Guild in 1942 and received Life Membership in 1978. She served on the 1945 Guild incorporation board, the nomination committee, and the craft fair exhibitions committee. She continued weaving until her death in 1990.

Alice Pratt dedicated her weaving studies to traditional work, saving weaving drafts in an album for coverlet and counterpane designs, including family drafts dating back to the 1830s. Her contemporary weaving included napkins, towels, placemats and runners. She donated numerous samples of her work as well as family counterpanes to the Southern Highland Craft Guild's Permanent Collection.

Alice Pratt looks on during a weaving demonstration at the 1961 SHCG Craftsmen's Fair

(New Member Orientation at the Folk Art Center, March 6, 2012 - shown left to right:
John Turner, Tony Dills, Greg Shaffer, JJ Brown, Simona Rosasco,
Paul Weller, Shelby Mihalevich,

Harry Hearne, Patte Vanden Berg, Lucy Gibson, Bob Gibson, Barb Butler,
Donata Jones, Beth Andrews, David Wright)

The following artists were accepted into the Southern Highland Craft Guild following the first jury of 2012:

Beth Andrews
Greer, SC

JJ Brown and Simona Rosasco
Fyreglas Studio
Bakersville, NC

Barb Butler
Sutherland Handweaving
Asheville, NC

Tony Dills
Weaverville, NC

Karen Donde
Candler, NC

Robert and Lucy Gibson
Cruso Studios
Canton, NC

Harry Hearne
Turning Point Clay Studio
Murphy, NC

Donata Jones
Bostic, NC

Alex Matisse
East Fork Pottery
Marshall, NC

Shelby Mihalevich
SMetal Designs
Waynesville, NC

Annette Romines
Pigeon Forge, TN

Denissa Schulman
Skyland, NC

Greg Shaffer
Three Springs Forge
Bristol, VA

John Turner
Reidville, SC

Patte Vanden Berg
Asheville, NC

Paul Weller
Aero Pablo Designs
Asheville, NC

David Wright
Tazewell, TN

This post is first in the series, "Book Report," which will review new acquisitions to the Robert W. Gray Library here at the Folk Art Center. The author of the series is Guild librarian and
archivist, Deb Schillo.

The Robert W. Gray Library at the Folk Art Center was able to add several new titles to the collection this month. We are keeping an eye on Lark's 500 series, since the books often include the work of Guild members. We added 500 Vases, 500 Tables, and 500 Raku. We also purchased the latest Foxfire books, so we now have all 12 volumes.

Of special interest to our membership is a new book titled Heirlooms & Artifacts of the Smokies, Treaures from the National Park's Historical Collection. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park artifact collection contains prehistoric items such as arrowheads and pottery shards, so the book begins there with a sampling of items that have been cataloged for their collection. In the 1930s and 40s collecting did not focus on Cherokee objects, leaving that field of research to the Cherokee Historical Commission and their own collections. Rather the park supervisors were interested in preserving a sense of what life in this isolated area was like for early pioneers right up to the time that people began leaving their mountain cabins.

The book is concerned with the artifacts left by early settlers in the Great Smokies region. Chapters are divided into the various occupations and needs of isolate families. For instance Farm & Field includes photos of tools used for planting, harvesting, tending livestock, clearing forests, and trapping animals - all items made by regional artisans. Crafts such as Blacksmithing, Woodworking, Spinning and Weaving, and Quilting merit their own chapters. Looking at the photographs of the old artifacts gives one a sense of the rugged, unadorned life of Appalachian immigrants. As the opening section states "To scratch with a garden hoe, day after day, in a rocky hillside cornpatch had to be exhausting work. To wear out that hoe, and start on a new one, simply taxes comprehension. This book is about the people who did that kind of work, and the tools they used to do it."

Aside from the object photographs there are historical photographs of the people who lived on this land. Nearly all of the people photographed have been identified. Former Guild members Matt and Mary Ownby are shown making rifles. Claude Huskey, a relative of current Guild members is shown working at the draw horse to shape a chair leg.

Each chapter is introduced with a brief essay about why the objects were important to their owners and how they were used. Seeing the old tools in their rough condition adds to the story and the sense of connection one feels with these artifacts. It is not difficult to imagine the isolated families and the strength it took to survive in these mountains. As Guild members, there is a special connection to the items in this book. Whether or not you grew up in the Appalachian mountains, by living here and working with crafts you help to keep the traditions and the story of mountain folk alive.

About the Robert W. Gray Library:

The mission of the Robert W. Gray Library is to collect, preserve, and make available for research materials concerning the appreciation and knowledge about traditional and contemporary crafts - particularly the craft heritage of the Southern Appalachian region.

Library materials relate to craft work from around the world and in all media with historical background as well as "how-to" information. There are also materials on regional history and development.

The collection contains over 7,000 books and exhibition catalogs, 45 current periodical titles as well as many that have been donated and are no longer available. A recent addition is an audio-visual area where visitors may choose from over 100 craft-related videos.

While the resources do not circulate, the materials are available for use on site.

The Library is open whenever the Folk Art Center is open- every day from 9-6 (5pm in winter). It is housed on the second floor, to the left of the receptionist desk. The collection catalog is available on the library's computer at all times and a librarian is present four day's a week ( T-W-Th-F ) to assist users.

Editor's Note: This post is the first in a series called "From the Archives" - a look back at the people who served and helped shape the Southern Highland Craft Guild. The author of the series is Bonnie Krause. Bonnie works at Allanstand Craft Shop and volunteers in the
SHCG Library.

O.J. Mattil
O.J. Mattil, he never used his first name Otto, was born in 1896 in Chattanooga, TN and earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Tennessee in 1920. From 1922 to 1929 as an agricultural extension agent for the University of Tennessee, he taught vocational education, agriculture and woodworking at the Pi Beta Phi Settlement School High School. His wife Francis was a public health nurse for the school. Mattil taught wood shop, animal husbandry, horticulture and poultry raising and visited rural farmers, giving advice on crop rotation and fruit tree pruning. His early visits to farmers along primitive mountain roads were on horses that he cared for at the school along with cattle. On later trips he drove his Ford, carrying the first movie projector seen in the area, showing new farming method films at small local school houses.

Mattil created the first woodshop at Pi Beta Phi School funded through the industrialist Louis E. Voorhees of Cincinnati. Voorhees would later donate his Tennessee property and buildings for the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. At the shop students constructed cabinets, furniture, mountain furniture reproductions, miniature beds and chests. He researched, searching remote mountain homes, then reproduced traditional mountain designs in his pieces as well as creating new designs. Many of the Gatlinburg, TN woodcarvers such as Carl Huskey studied and worked under Mattil and created their own woodshops and carving businesses.

In the 1930s - 40s Mattil taught adult education at the Tennessee Valley Authority Center in Norris, TN after the TVA created the lake and electrification at Oak Ridge. Many of his students were workers on the 1933 dam construction. He worked with the Civil Conservation Corp (CCC) and with young men in thirty-four east Tennessee counties.

Mattil joined the Guild at its official founding in 1932 representing his business Woodcrafters and Carvers. He participated in the first traveling exhibition of the Guild in 1933 under the American Federation of Arts sponsorship. That show with over 500 items traveled to Washington, D.C., New York, Illinois, Nebraska, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia and Kentucky. Mattil served on the Guild Board over 34 years, being President from 1937 to 1940and 1966 to 1967. He was regarded as "Mr. Craftsman's Fair" by assisting with the Guild fair from its founding in 1948 and leading its organization and set-up for 43 fairs. When the TVA founded the craft organization, Southern Highlanders, Mattil participated on the Board of Directors until it joined the Guild in the 1950s. He served on the Guild's Old Crafts Committee which supported a museum of old crafts for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park resulting in the historic farm at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center. Mattil was awarded a Guild Life Membership in 1965 and was declared "Director Emeritus" of the Guild in 1971. He died in 1976. Mattil and his woodworking were mentioned several times in Allen Eaton's Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. Mattil and his incredible volunteerism over three-quarters of the twentieth century contributed significantly to the success of crafts and craft organization in the Southern Highlands.

Oscar Cantrell, blacksmith, and O.J. Mattill, photo taken at the 1959 Craftsmen's Fair
Claudia and John work on a collaborative project at Yummy Mud Puddle.

There are many paths which lead people to settle in the mountains of western North Carolina. For Claudia Dunaway the move to Burnsville was a sort of homecoming. She grew up in Reidsville, NC and has fond memories of visiting the mountains in her childhood. For her husband, John Richards – home is where Claudia is (and, of course, he fell in love with the amazing natural beauty of the area and the thriving arts community). The artists (Claudia is a potter and John is a sculptor) form Yummy Mud Puddle – the site of two studios and one gorgeous view. Claudia creates hand thrown stoneware and porcelain fired in a gas reduction kiln. John works with mixed media and found objects to make sculptures, lamps, and jewelry.

Claudia and John moved to Yancey County in 2003. By 2005 they were both members of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. John recalls visiting the area before the move and one of the places which resonated with him, assuring him this was the right place for them was the Folk Art Center. He appreciated Allanstand Craft Shop and the exhibition galleries and their obvious support of regional craftspeople. Their work is now represented at the Folk Art Center, Guild Crafts, Parkway Craft Center and Arrowcraft.

Claudia’s attachment to the Guild was formed years earlier. Her mother was a lifelong advocate of the arts and took Claudia year after year to Guild fairs – in Gatlinburg and later in Asheville. She grew up wanting to be a member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. After her graduation from UNC – Greensboro she studied under legendary potter and SHCG member Charles Counts at Rising Fawn in Georgia.

Claudia and John have been blown away by the inspiring and supportive community in Yancey and Mitchell County. With its close proximity to Penland, the area is a mecca for talented craftspeople. The couple (who have each lived in several other art towns) notes that it is like no other place on earth – not only the quality of work being made but the amazing support that is provided by other artists and area galleries. They are both involved with the Toe River Arts Council and regularly participate in the TRAC studio tours. Claudia also regularly exhibits at the Spruce Pine Potters Market. She also plans to exhibit at the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands, perhaps in October 2012.

Spending time at Yummy Mud Puddle is an opportunity to see a couple creating not only art, but living life as an artful collaboration. As business partners they share responsibilities. For example, Claudia handles the online elements and computer-related aspects of their work, and John makes regular trips to galleries to deliver work and check in with buyers. As artists they bounce ideas off one another and occasionally collaborate for exhibitions. They enjoy their lifestyle, living moment to moment, embracing the risks and solitude afforded craftspeople, and making up their own rules as they go along.

John and Claudia will be participating in an exhibition of their work at
W.B. Tatter Studio/Gallery in St. Augustine, FL.
Artists' Reception
Saturday, January 28, 5 - 9pm