by Currie Alexander Powers
There lives in each of us a desire to be unique, and we express that desire through the clothes we wear, the way we decorate our homes. Our search for something that no one else has can be frustrating in this age of mass production, fads, and the imperative of manufacturers to steer consumers back under the edge of the cookie cutter. But the need to express ourselves is essential to our identity, and we are thrilled when someone gives us the ultimate compliment—“Oh, I love that necklace you’re wearing. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
In every culture, artisans have produced objects of beauty and function, developing the traditions of skilled workmanship that were largely forgotten after the Industrial Revolution. Their craft was finely honed, furniture sanded by hand, bowls spun one at a time on a potter’s wheel, glass blown that captured moments of time in their trapped bubbles and perfect imperfections. What we miss today is the hand of man in the creation of our belongings, seeing a blanket woven on the loom in front of us, not coming off a conveyor belt to be wrapped and boxed with thousands just like it.
TACA, the Tennessee Association of Craft Artists, has a mission to bring the traditions of craft to us with the second of their two yearly craft festivals held in Centennial Park this September 28–30. The non-profit, statewide organization, founded in 1965, is dedicated to encouraging, developing, and promoting crafts and craftspeople in Tennessee. With more than 200 artists who work with wood, clay, glass, textiles, and paper exhibiting at the Fall Craft Fair, they provide an opportunity for the public to interact with artisans and their work.
Liz Zinke, TACA’s marketing director, came on board for the spring craft fair and came away from the festival inspired the same way you would imagine many of the 50,000 visitors who have attended the events in the past have. “I left with several treasures from incredibly talented artists. When I look at each of the pieces, I remember the artist, their story, and the connection that instantly drew me in to take a closer look. Craft is incredibly personal—it is handmade, and each piece tells a story.”
The fall festival will mark the first to be sponsored by Regions Bank, and TACA expects the attendance to be high. As Zinke says, “I invite everyone to come to our Fall Craft Fair and find what speaks to you.”
The fair will be open Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free.
For more information on TACA and the Fall Craft Fair go to tennesseecrafts.org.