Quality, Diversity A Staple Of Craft Fair

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The White Oak Craft Fair returns this weekend for its 20th year outside the Cannon County Arts Center. Over 70 artists, many of them new to the fair, will offer art and crafts in many different mediums. Furniture, pottery, baskets, photographs, and more will be shown and most of it available for purchase.

In previous years the fair was held the second week of August, "the hottest week of the year" Assistant Director of the Arts Center Mary Wilson commented. For 2009 the fair has been relocated to the shaded banks of the East Fork Stones River in much cooler mid-September. Vendors and demonstrators will be set up along the tree line and river bank.

The fair takes its name from the white oak wood used in traditional chair making and basket weaving. Many of the style's remaining practitioners are no longer able to harvest the materials they need but their craft is supported by the White Oak Timbre Co-Op -- a group of people who harvest white oak wood and supply it to local craftsmen and women. Clearly the value of these traditions remains appreciated in Cannon County. "These people become like a family," Executive Director of the Arts Center Donald Fann says, "the fair becomes a sort of reunion for them."

Great care is taken to ensure the quality and diversity of works at the White Oak Craft Fair. Admissions are juried to ensure quality and authenticity but also to keep a given medium from dominating the fair. "We don't want to have two-thirds pottery, we try to balance the different mediums," Fann says. "Some really great applicants have to be put on the waiting list simply because we have a lot of work in their medium." Artist awards will be announced Sunday at 1 p.m. for Merit, Excellence, and various staff awards.

Anywhere from 25-50% of the fair's artists are local, with the rest coming from elsewhere on the craft fair circuit. New to White Oak Craft Fair this year is an MTSU tent where university students will show their art. There will also be a special kid's tent where children and their parents can relax, have fun, and make some crafts.

The White Oak Craft Fair will be held Saturday and Sunday just behind the Cannon County Arts Center at East Fork Stones River. Fair hours are 9:00am to 5:00pm both days. For additional information call 615-563-2787 or 1-800-235-9073 or visit the Arts Center website at http://www.artscenterofcc.com.

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