Return of annual Arts and Crafts Show this weekend

Published 9:25 am Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Well, Halloween has come and gone in Carter County once again, and we still didn’t see the Great Pumpkin rising out of our pumpkin patches. Oh, there were plenty of ghosts, goblins, superheroes and many other frightening monsters that visited our homes wanting all of our candy corn. But, alas, no Great Pumpkin….oh, well, maybe next year someone will have that most sincere pumpkin patch of them all.

That can mean only one thing. Christmas time is near. Now please don’t forget that in between the holiday of Thanksgiving. We all want our turkey with all the dressings and an afternoon to recover as the tryptophan lulls us to sleep as we watch some football, right? Also, that so we can all rise at 3 a.m. and head out for that other holiday known as Black Friday.

Want a better idea on how to beat the masses and get a head start on your Christmas shopping list in a much more relaxed atmosphere? This Friday and Saturday, November 8-9, you can go to the 8th annual Elizabethton Women’s Club Arts and Crafts Show and shop to your heart’s content.

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Once again it will be held at the Elizabethton Parks & Recreation Center located at 300 W. Mill St. The doors open both days from 9 a.m. till 5 p.m. Admission is free.

Jo Voigt, of the Elizabethton Women’s Club, reminded everyone that this is a fund-raising event for the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The GFWC is an international women’s service organization. Voigt said that last year’s event raised enough money for the Elizabethton chapter of the GFWC to give out one $1000 scholarship to a senior student. They have started rotating the scholarship this past year, alphabetically, between the four Carter County Schools and Elizabethton High School. She continued that they had a very successful show last year and the people loved it.

This year will once again feature nearly 50 local and regional artisans, showing a wide variety of different beautifully made handcrafted items available for purchase that include: sewing, needlework, crochet, knitting, quilting, pottery, glasswork, woodworking, Christmas decorations, jewelry, leatherworking, photography, and so much more.

Rose Potter is a seamstress who has been sewing for all of her life. She is originally from Wyoming but has been living in the Bluff City, Piney Flats area for the last 35 years. Potter is returning for her fourth year to the Arts and Crafts Show. This year she is bringing “Dress shirts.”

Potter said, “What they are, are mens’ dress shirts that are fixed for a lady, that are very dressy for a lady. This is a new branch that I’ve gone out on, because I did do wreaths and things like that, but so many people were doing them, so I wanted to do something different.”

They include the dress shirt, a tank top or undershirt and leggings in the set. The “Dress Shirt” is designed to be worn year-round, but would be fabulous as a Christmas gift or a gift for any occasion.”

“I’m also doing decorative throw pillows that are new this year. They are seasonal throw pillows for fall, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and many other seasons or holidays.”

Next we spoke to Vergil McKinnon, who says he’s been doing woodworking since 1992 or ’93 while he was living in south Georgia in the Waycross area. He said, “I built me a workshop behind my house and started doing scrollwork and things like that and I’ve been doing it ever since. My work is not seasonal work. It’s year-round. I don’t make single things, I make a variety of things. I make things like birdhouses, picture frames out of barn wood and different things like that. I work mostly with hardwoods like redwood and maple and barn woods. I made a lot of things out of cedarwood. I like working with cedar, I make jeweler boxes, birdhouses and earrings. Small furniture items like tables, chairs and decorative items like that. I made my grandson a rocking chair. So, everything I make is out of some kind of hardwood.” He does all the lettering on his items by hand, “I do all my letter work in scrollwork. It’s all done by hand, I don’t do lasers. I hand carve all my lettering. I use a table saw, handsaws, bandsaw and things like that. It’s not programmed by computer, it’s all done by hand.”

When asked what got him into doing this McKinnon said, “I just love working with things like wood and different kinds of things like that. I like being able to look at things and say I made that. It makes you feel good to be able to say that. Even if you don’t sell it or give it away. I make a lot of things for  myself. It’s nice to say I made that.”

Finally, we spoke to Carolyn Tomko, who makes pottery, about what she makes and the kinds of things she’ll be bringing to the show. Tomko is also a transplant to our area originally hailing from eastern Virginia but has moved and now lives in Jonesborough. She says this is her very first year coming to the show. “I’ve heard so many good things about it, and I’m so happy that I’ve been able to move around my schedule so I could come.”

When asked how she got started in pottery Tomko said, “Well, after retiring I decided I wanted to go back to my childhood where I loved to make mud pies and make tea sets out of clay. So, here I am eleven and a half years later playing in clay just about every day and enjoying my retirement.”

Tomko when on, “All my pottery is fired twice. The first firing really just takes the moisture out of the clay. The second firing is when you put your glaze on and you fire it and glaze becomes liquid glass. That is where you come up with your pottery being food safe, all of my pieces are fired to 2300 degrees, so be careful.”

She continued, “I make all kinds of things besides my bowls and plates. I enjoy doing things working with my hands. I do now have arthritis, and one of the things that I think helps me is the moving and moving and kneading the clay. It’s almost like making bread, in the way you have to knead the clay. I love how you can mold it into anything you want to.”

Voigt reminds venders that they can enter the venue starting at 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, and asks that they finish their setup by 6 p.m. that evening.

Carolyn Tomko, Vergil McKinnon and Rose Potter are just three of the 50 very different and talented vendors who will be showing off their skills and artistic ability. They have all been creating beautiful crafts for years. So drop by next Friday or Saturday at the Parks and Recreation building and peruse these wonderful artists’ work. Who knows, you might just find that perfect Christmas present for your loved ones waiting for you there.