Arts are Alive and Well in Appalachia
When I first moved to East Tennessee in 2001, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began to network with other artists and woodcraft artisans. I discovered people possessing amazing skills using modern tools able to carve intricate patterns onto specialty woods. They don’t specialize in “just one thing.” Yet they are not what one would consider a “Jack of Many Trades, Master of None.” These folks are serious woodworking artisans. True professionals but quite humble.
When working with them I learn new tidbits and techniques based on years of experience spent in woodshops. One of my favorite woodworkers, now retired, demonstrated how he could recognize the tree of origin just from the smell of the wood after a fresh cut. And we’re not just talking about pine or cedar here but wormy chestnut, cherry and walnut trees, too.
I also met with various artists working in various mediums. From painters using oils or acrylics to sculptors working their artistic magic with metal and wire. These, too, are professionals in their own right. The artistic expression in East Tennessee runs the gamut as well – classic landscapes, still life, portraiture, abstract, modern, post-modern, you name it and you can find it here.
As I began to be more earnest about developing a new line of mirror frames, I needed to reach out to find sources of original barnwoods to surround the reflective glass. This is where the “sense of community” that makes this region of the country notable and shines with great love from its heritage. For these reasons and so many more, I love living in Appalachia and the people I’ve meet along the way. Somebody always knows somebody or points the way to help even when I was a stranger. Reclaimed materials are simply “AGE WITH LOVE.” I have always been interested in re-harvesting, even as far back as to my days in Kansas City, long before it was cool and fashionable. I have been very blessed to do what I do but most of all I’ve been blessed with good, hard-working friends who share the same love of yesterday.