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.