Friday, June 24, 2011

Lafayette slept here. Probably.

Did you enjoy the NC Mountain Arts Adventure Studio Tour?  I hope so.  I went to see some of the YVCG members participating the week before and it was fascinating!

The weekend of the tour, I was in Williamsburg, Virginia where I had a brilliant time invested in history and heritage tourism. There is an exhibit on clothing at the Dewitt -Wallace Decorative Arts Museum you do need to see..

The reenactors never left their time period. They used the streets and housing as sets for stages and  for a moment I thought I had met Lafayette in person. However, he still could not tell me what happened to him when he left his landing point in SC and traveled by horseback through NC to Pennsylvania during his very first visit.

My idea is that he avoided the east.  Fayetteville, formerly Cross Creek and now named for him, was a hotbed of loyalists at the time he arrived.  Did he travel through Salem, Bethabara and Bethania, home of Moravians? We know he was entrusted to the Moravians of Pennsylvania later when he was wounded.  Did he remember the Carolinas and the good care the Moravian culture took of their fellowmen?  Did he see pottery, cloth and glass, hear the music, eat the good food here?  We don't know too much because he did not speak English very well during these first travels as he only learned it during the 3 week voyage over here, but surely he made notes and wrote home to his wife in French.  The answer is probably locked up in a tower written in a letter  in France as we speak.

Well, the important thing here is that the marriage of history and craft has made a significant impact on the economy, the historic preservation and the education of people visiting Williamsburg.  It's like tourism is all they doin SE Virginia now  except for those working for the Navy and NASA.   Tourism includes storytelling, craft demonstrations and sales, food, drink, music, hotels and history.

Ironically, I learned from a weaver demonstrating there that the CRAFTS - fiber, clay, glass, iron, wood and imagery (photography sort of ) of the time were almost ALL imported from England.  People in the east were very busy with their farms.  Growing tobacco allowed them a higher standard of living and they shopped (!) instead of "making do"!!

I learned that not all homes in the east actually owned a spinning wheel.  This revelation makes CRAFT in the back-country, our region of the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild, all the more special. In its grandest form, CRAFT really is unique to the foothills and mountains.  We have something special in our knowledge and traditions.

It makes it all the more important to understand the huge sacrifice of Eastern women to give up their imported fabrics for homespun at Edenton and the sacrifice of Western women and families to tend the land primarily as subsistence farmers, carving their own wood, weaving their own baskets, fabrics and furniture, mining their own ore for iron and copper metalwork, spinning, glass blowing etc.

At Williamsburg, they even claimed the gunpowder was imported.  Little did they know a Woman (from Virginia for goodness sake), Mary Patton, made 500 pounds of gunpowder for the Battle of Kings Mountain.  Without her skill and craftsmenship, we'd probably still be at the mercy of the Queen.  I couldn't bring myself to press the reenactor on this fact in front of his audience any more than I could bring myself to press Lafayette for details of his first trip to the north.  They just don't know the story.

We have story to tell.  And it includes our arts and sciences.  They can not be exported.  Williamsburg does not compete, but compliments our story.  Their tourists can reach us in a quick, quiet trip down
I85 to I77.  This means business.

And, the true artisan is still required today.  Glass Blowers are needed at NCSU to produce laboratory glassware.  Raleigh is still dependent on craftspeople.  YVCG should continue its educational purpose as well as its merchandising purposes.

So Up and At'em as Colonel Ben Cleveland used to say. Raise a glass of fine wine for the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild on your upcoming wine tour to its bold mission to produce, preserve and promote the skills and arts of fine and heritage crafts from the Yadkin Valley watershed region. Hip, Hip, Huzzah!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Delightful nights in the Yadkin Valley

Date night in the Yadkin Valley was a lot of fun this weekend.  With just a little exploration, you can find a dozen things to do.  Friday, my husband and I attended an opening at the Welborn Gallery in Yadkinville in the new Yadkin Cultural Arts Center.   A beautiful mosaic featuring the a depiction of the Trail of Tears runs along the wall.  (TheYadkin River gets its name from the Native Americans found here who named it before the U.S. was established. )

Here are details from their website for the exhibit we saw::

Artists of the YARD and Cosmic Cow Society Artists

Fri Jun 3 - Sat Jul 9    Welborn Gallery and Uptown Gallery

YARD and COW Show
Dual Gallery Receptions: June 3 from 5:00 to 7:30 pm
Meet and greet the Artists of the Yard- resident artists of the Center's studios -  in the Welborn Gallery and the whimsical Cosmic Cow Society Artists in the Uptown Gallery.
YARD Exhibit dates: June 3 to July 9
Cosmic Cow Society Exhibit dates: June 3 to July 30 

My friend Peggy Petrocy was one of several working artists in the YARD, Yadkin Artists Residing Downtown, across from the gallery. The opening featured the work of these artists and the COSMIC COW society.  It was fantastic.

I reintroduced myself to Patty Bailey Sheets, whose art I had purchased about 12 years ago when I moved here.  That was pleasing.  An artists' colony is fully open in Yadkinville.

One of the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild weaving mentees, Patrice Bertke is also working in her YARD studio and exhibiting at the Galley.  Her textiles are drawing me to get off my computer to turn my mental art into reality.

What a happening place this is for the Yadkin Valley.  If you want to get involved, check out this next event:

"Call for Entries -- Eye of the Artist Juried Show 

The Yadkin Cultural Center is hosting an inaugural juried show of original 2D and 3D works by artists residing in North Carolina.
The Entry deadline has been extended to June 8, 2011.
The competition is open to residents of North Carolina 18 years of age or older. 
The juried exhibit will be on display in the Welborn Gallery at the Cultural Center from July 15 thorough September 10, 2011.
Cash prizes totalling $2,000 will be awarded the night of the opening, July 15th." 

BUT! Back to date night...  There was music and an open air cafe, The Thrid Branch Cafe,  across the walk from the Uptown Wine and Gallery.   It looked like everyone was having a great time, but we went to another interesting place in Yadkinville, Little Richards Bar-B-Que.  If you're from out of town, and you want  good cultural experience, this is the place for NC hospitality.   Every town in NC has its own crafted pork Bar-B-Que, which is a noun and not a verb here.  It is art.  But, it is not for calorie counters.

After the lovely evening, I called it short to attend a previously reserved Girl's Night Masterpiece Party at the Foothills Arts Council.  We had a blast and I brought home a Matisse in my own acrylic style.  It's too bad it was a copy of a Masterpiece because I believe it could win a prize if I entered it in the art show.  Well, I dunno....but I loved it!!

This morning my husband took a turn at a previously reserved river clean-up for National Trails Day on the portion of the Yadkin River which goes past the Yadkin River Greenway in theWilkesboros.  He tied up his kayak on the top of the SUV and went out to join a party of about 25 including river fans from as far away as Greensboro.  This is work in hot weather, but the river was cool and everyone had a good time.

I went by the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild to learn Make and Take at CLAYWORKS was a great success. We hold some introductory event the first Saturday of every month for the public to "get their hands dirty" and play in the arts.  This month the event was at the CLAYWORKS studio in Elkin and the visitors really did get there hands delightfully into the "mud".

Tonight, my "better half" went to the River House Country Inn and Restaurant to play hammered dulcimer at their Celtic Festival while I went with my son to a graduation party at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church..  We have a senior this year.  That is an adventure by itself.

There is just too much to do here.  Anyway, I had a lovely weekend here in the Yadkin Valley.  I hope you did too. Art, Wine, Song, Cosmic Cows and River- it's all here.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Google success.

Google shared some examples of Ad words success stories with us. Still thinking.

Real Value

Real Value, what is that? Yesterday, the Guild asked active members to reflect on the organization and new website to consider what would be the most ideal relationship between the member and YVCG.

Members can be exhibiting artists, supporters, students, or tourism-minded business and community leaders. Each member has a special relationship. What is it? What is the real value of an 18-county, regional non-profit to your life or to the communities in the Region if you ran the whole thing? What could it be?

Today, this idea of Real Value is explored in comments to an article from Fast Company magazine entitled: For Your Company to Last, The"Brand" Must Die, But Stories Should Survive.

Three keys for moving beyond branding, and into storytelling.
(So, where did this Jaguar ad come from? I could have just typed the title in here, but I used cut and paste. Since the ad has appeared and I can't seem to erase it, we should note that Jaguar has a "Design Your Own Jaguar" link in this ad. Everyone wants to be an artist and that is a good thing.)
Is the real value found with the experience of the art and not in the name or the brand of the artisan? The discussion is lively in Fast Company, so have a look. Click on the title above to go to the article.
We still need gallery photos for the webpage. Despite not being "live", the new website is already showing up in Google Search of the Yadkin Valley or the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild. Our brand is lively! Our art is expected to be lively as well if the purpose of the brand is to assure the communities outside the Yadkin Valley that experiences in the valley will be positive. (Warning! website country-like analogy on the way...) I'm going to have to let this racehorse have his head before he throws me, and then we are in for a ride.

I'm reserving my input for the next board meeting about the ideal relationship between members and the YVCG, but I have an idea I think we should pursue. We usually meet the second Thursday in the Month at 7:00 at the Gallery Store. Meetings are open to members. Please add to the discussion Come to the meeting or submit your brutally frank critiques or exceptionally positive statements about the "ideal relationship of the member and the Guild " to
Title the emails "My opinions" or I'm taking over.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Creativity means Businesses

There are too many distracting opportunities to write my report.  

1.  News for discussing the value of the Guild to our economy.

2. If you know dancers, musicians, acrobats, etc...
ArtsMarket is a biennial performing arts showcase conference co-produced by the N.C. Arts Council and N.C. Presenters Consortium. Hosted in Durham Monday, Nov. 7, through Wednesday, Nov. 9, showcases will be held in the historic Carolina Theatre, with the conference exhibit hall in the adjoining Marriott Durham Convention Center. Thirty-seven performing artists or groups will be selected to showcase to presenters through a juried process. Application fee applies.
Deadline: July 1
For more information:

3.  You can still enter the exhibits at Yadkinville and in Winston if you hurry and apply.

4. Grants for individual artists are due to Winston-Salem Arts Council ( by July 25th

Have a look at our new website and add those images !

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Google called today to offer Help!! (The Beatles were really powerful poets.)

Yesterday, I was singing the blues and the Beatles crying for help. Google called the Guild today offering help!  Isn't that cool?

If you remember about nine months ago when we started this process of e-commerce we experimented with Google Ad Words.  We were relatively successful in that the ad showed up.  I received about 1000 looks over the course of the experiment.

Searches linked to the Yadkin Valley wineries brought in hits to our old website, but not many buyers (obviously since there was no shopping cart!!)  Still, it didn't cost very much and activity was evident.

Google wants to help us design Ad word campaigns free for 30 days.  Nationwide searching for our crafts as subjects or keywords, the account rep expected us to reach 1500 clicks a day, not looks, but clicks.  IF there is product on the pages, then clicks will transfer into on-line sales.

If only 4 of 1500 people purchased products every day, we would likely double our income every month.  That is only 0.26666666666666666666667 % of the people who actually come to the website and read up on the artists, wineries and things to do in the Yadkin River watershed.

But clicks cost money.  I only offered a nickel per click in my experiment.  Google suggested $2.50 per click and decided we would need about $5000/month for the two campaigns. (Swallow very hard) When I got back off the floor, I asked him to call us back in a month.

So I've been thinking.  Of course, the rep can't guarantee the rate of buying after the click (will even 4 out of 1500 buy?) and we would need to sell to considerably more of the 1500 people per day to account for the $5000 charge, shipping, handling, manning the website and producing the art...

Still, if we consider Google as a volunteer artist getting a break in fees to run the Gallery Shop, then it really costs us less than it does now to make sale.

We can gather the stats of how many people actually walk into the shop now and how many buy.  What if we applied that percentage, divided it by 10 to be conservative, and estimated how many people would purchase something from us with that.  It will be more than 1 of every 300 people for sure.

So, if we spend $5000 to make $6,000 (after taxes and trouble)  would that be a great thing? Of course the taxing authorities would make more and that would be great for our communities.  Tourism and promotion will probably benefit and that is a great thing for those businesses, and ARTISTS would certainly make more and that is the point isn't it

Google, you take my breath away.  Here, help me up.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

HELP! I need somebody... not just any body... Please help me...yeah.

I just found Brandcamp in New York going on today while I was reading this very interesting blog called "Why I will Never Hire a Social Media Expert".  We are missing it unfortunately.  However, The Blog is more important I think.  I note what it says about communication and marketing in general ( most emphasis is mine):

Read more:

2.  "It’s about transparency. It’s about not lying to your customers, and thinking that a good Twitter apology will suffice when you’re caught. It won’t, and you’ll lose. Customers will run away in droves, because they can. They can go wherever they want now -- it doesn’t matter how loyal they were in the past.
                                        Lie to them and get caught, and say goodbye."
Read more:

3. "What’s going to do it is GOOD WRITING, END OF STORY. Good writing is brevity, and brevity is marketing. Want to lose me as a customer, forever, guaranteed? Have a grammar error on any form of outward communication."
Read more:

There is so much more here and more points which may make a difference to you, so I urge you all to go to the links and read the whole piece and then follow the author. I think he will be a good resource and perhaps one day we will be able hire him for help.

As for YVCG comments on the three points I found today...

1.   We need to be open five or more days a week. That is the biggest complaint I hear from non-members, locals and tourists alike.  If we take help from the town, region and foundations, then members must help market.   This means supporters who are not artists are also needed.  A tourism officer will do too.  We need you to volunteer and then help us find support for paid staff so artists can get back to the Everyday Work of Art .

2.  Transparency.  I need help for the ecommerce site ASAP.  I'm going to write the report for the WS Foundation funds now before our site even goes live. I'm not too happy about that, but the time has come and your input is sorely needed. 

Primarily, load your images of designs, art and products.  Let me know to send you a code to manage your gallery if you haven't already asked for one or if yours did not work. Let's try it again and let me get specifics for the web designer if we need to do so.   Email or call the YVCG. So, I'm not telling a story to you about going live, but... it hasn't happened within a week.  I will have to change the links about the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival to something else before its live and today I have to write our report. 

I know your time is limited. As for me, I had to go to an unexpected funeral late last week in the East. You know about the weekend - Thurs- Sunday. - And yesterday, I had an emergency trip to Williamsburg, Virginia and back in one day.  I have to go again on Thursday.  I made the most of it, even enjoyed it, but it was necessary for an surgery-recovering friend to whom I owe a lot for her contributions to my son's well being etc.  It takes a village, because sometimes you know, you need to ask for help. Now, I'm jumping up and down asking for help.  We are all volunteers. Even a tiny bit you can do will help.

3. Lastly,  It takes good writing ( and telephoning 10 members each day as suggested in another section of that blog).  I know I have already broken the punctuation rule and the spelling rule. AGAHHH!   Please let me know if your contribution to the Guild can be writing and commenting on the events and goings-on in eighteen counties for our blog.

- This would be a wonderful  contribution for someone who simply appreciates the craft artisans and tourism in the Yadkin Valley and is NOT an artist.  Artists are welcome too of course, but time is precious I know, so I wanted to encourage you to ask your own supporters or family members to help us market the YVCG by writing about their experiences in the Yadkin Valley and double-checking for spelling!!

As a note, volunteer hours spent contributing to the YVCG  count  twice!  First, you may get a tax deduction if you itemize and secondly, your volunteer hours help the Guild to report in-kind donations.  Your time is valuable and we know it!  Make it count in more ways than one. 

(Does your child need long-term senior project next year?? Hint, Hint, We can help with that!)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Under the Stars on Main in Elkin

Just so you know,  the Gallery Shop is opening Saturday night for Under the Stars on Main after the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival. It sounds like BIG plans.  If you are from one of the Eighteen counties surrounding the store, stop in and visit!

PS. I get lots of news from the Elkin folks, but please send your county news to me at  We want to blog about it and push it in press releases and the newsletter.  Check our website for a list of YVCG counties at  I had to check it even yesterday.  We can be a big part of the solution.  We have family we don't even know yet.

Grant workshop for the NC Arts Council's Regional Artist Project

The Foothills Arts Council reports they will be hosting a grant workshop for the NC Arts Council's Regional Artist Project Grant Program for individual artists on Tuesday, May 24 from 6-7 p.m.
The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County is seeking applications from individual artists for the Regional Artist Project Grants. These grants offer support to artists in a six-county region to help them further their professional development.  Committed, gifted individual artists and unincorporated arts organizations in Forsyth, Davie, Davidson, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties are eligible to apply.  Regional Artist Project Grants are funded jointly by The Arts Council of Winston-Salem and Forsyth County, the North Carolina Arts Council - an agency of the Department of Cultural Resources, and the National Endowment for the Arts. In the last funding cycle, a total of $50,000 was awarded in this grant category.  Deadline for applications is Monday, July 25 at 5 p.m.  Guidelines, applications, and information sessions are available online at  A workshop and information session will be held at the Foothills Arts Council building, 129 Church Street, Elkin, on Tuesday, May 24 at 6 p.m. Interested artists are encouraged to attend.

Artists from Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, or Yadkin Counties who have resided in the county for a minimum of twelve months immediately preceding the submission deadline are eligible.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Kickstart, Kickoff, Kick in the pants... GO!

I note this morning that two counties in the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild are included in the Charlotte Regional Partnership.  The CRP  was recognized in Fast Company as one of 51 bright ideas in the United States of Innovation.    So congratulations to the CRP and if you artisans in Iredell and Alexander require support from the YVCG to promote your craft, please inform us and we will help.  I claim defacto membership in the CRP through you all.

As a side note,   I see Kickstarter featured in Fast Company this morning under the design tab.  Kickstarter is "a funding platform for artists, designers, filmmakers, musicians, journalists, inventors, explorers." and is devoted to bringing new ideas to the forefront. Check them out. YVCG was introduced to Kickstarter by the Resourceful Communities group last week.

 The story goes like this. A designer couldn't find a manufacturer of his wristbands to convert the Nano into a watch until he employed Kickstart to prove the point. This is the ultimate success story, 

I know you know, but everyone needs to realize that Art is all about originality and new ideas.  Fine and Heritage Crafts are about quality and elegance.  We need Art and Fine Craft in the world to progress.

Thank goodness for Regional Partnerships and Non-profits lifting the next crazy but good thing to life.  GE better watch out. Just a plain 'ol kickstart to a creative entrepreneur will be running circles around them.  To that end, I invite you to invest locally in the Yadkin Valley Craft Guild.  Supporting memberships are just $25 at the Galley Shop or though any kind of  donation.

We specifically want support for getting our three selling venues to a self-sustaining level by testing our e-commerce site, contributing to a building fund campaign, volunteering at the store in Elkin and supporting our partnership activities with regional festivals and organizations.  Our goals are to create five more studios like Clayworks and ultimately to build a Craft Education Center on Interstate 77.  Go on, give us a kickstart.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Opportunity Knocks!

The Yadkin Cultural Center is hosting an inaugural juried show of two-dimensional and three-dimensional original works of art by North Carolina artists.
The competition is open to residents of North Carolina 18 years of age or older.
The juried exhibit will be on display in the Welborn Gallery at the Cultural Center from July 15 thorough September 10, 2011.
Cash prizes totalling $2,000 will be awarded the night of the opening, July 15th.

Click here to download a prospectus and entry form

I need pictures

The step into social media is soggy right now.  I am looking for backgrounds for this, for twitter and for our mediums on our new website.

But, this tie-dye is very happy!.  Perhaps one of Bill's marbling patterns would be most cool/appropriate/fantastic.  What do you think?