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Video below Barefoot Movement, Johnson City TN band
made up variously of mostly ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music degree program students and grads

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"A Cornucopia of Free and Inexpensive Regional Delights"
now and over the past few months


Go to A Windie Town

"Nearly 300 students from schools in Washington County took part in an art show that culminated last week with an artists' reception at the Jonesborough Visitors Centers. The students' work, which ranged from self-portraits and other drawings to sculptures and plastic masks, were on display (click here for Charlie Mauk photos) at the Visitors Center throughout the month of April. Last week, the Washington County Art Educators Association hosted an artists' reception where the artists, ranging in age from kindergarteners to high schoolers, mingled with members of the community who came to admire the works of art..." -- Herald & Tribune, 5/4/10

"The Town of Jonesborough will grace the cover of the regional magazine Fun Things To Do In The Mountains two times in 2010, according to Town officials. The covers will showcase some of Jonesborough’s best assets, said Amber Crumley, director of marketing and tourism for the Town. The May cover will focus on spring and summer events in Jonesborough, while the September cover will place emphasis on the annual International Storytelling Festival.... Fun Things publishes 11 times a year and is entering its 18th year in existence. It distributes into 35 counties in Western North Carolina, East Tennessee and Southern Virginia.... In addition, both the features and the advertising about the town will help visitors to Jonesborough realize the amount of things there are to do in Tennessee’s Oldest Town – and encourage them to stay overnight, Crumley said. 'With all the activities coming up, it gives people the chance to plan a nice, packed weekend,' she said...." -- Kate Prahlid, Herald & Tribune, 4/5/10

"Tennessee was one of two states chosen this week as winners for federal 'Race for the Top' funds. Tennessee will receive approximately $500 million and Delaware $100 million to implement their comprehensive school reform plans over the next four years.... Tennessee has a bold plan that will improve public education in the state of Tennessee. Specifically, the Washington County School System will receive $1,581,560 over a four (4) year period of time. The Johnson City School System will receive $1,500,427. The Elizabethton School System will receive $760,679.... Tennessee and Delaware beat out 14 other finalists who qualified to win the first round in the competition, after applicants were initially received from 40 states and the District of Columbia.... 'This is great news for Tennessee,' said Rep. Hill, who sits on the House Education Committee and was instrumental in crafting the final product.... These reforms will ensure Tennessee students are prepared for success in an increasingly global marketplace.' Rep. Ford, who also serves as the Vice Chair of the Agriculture Committee stated, '... We worked very hard to ensure the legislation's success, and the team that put the application together did an outstanding job. Tennessee students scored a big victory yesterday.' '... I am proud that Tennessee will be seen as a leader, nationwide....' stated Senator Rusty Crowe...." -- freely distributed Kingsport Daily News, 4/2/8/10

"Jonesborough’s wastewater treatment plant and the International Storytelling Center both have been recommended by Gov. Phil Bredesen to receive Appalachian Regional Commission grants to help with infrastructure improvements. Bredesen put forth 17 different grant recommendations for local projects throughout the state, for nonprofits, local governments, agencies and governing boards. The grant for the Jonesborough Wastewater Treatment Plant is for $500,000. The money would help fund a $2.5 million project to correct design capacity and discharge standard failures of the town’s wastewater treatment plant. The grant was recommended following an application from Jonesborough officials. The International Storytelling Center grant, which is worth $270,000, would be used to construct an outdoor pavilion that will accomodate 300 people for hosting entertainment and educational activities. According to a press release, the project will benefit the area with 116 jobs, catering to 40,000 visitors annually. The total project cost is estimated at $540,000...." -- Kate Prahlid, Herald & Tribune, 4/5/10

Graphic below: Magic Colors II, by Patricia Allingham Carlson -- Click for her website, information and more artwork
Magic Colors II, by Patricia Allingham Carlson -- Click for website

A Windie Town

Over a three-day weekend, our first annual Windiefest filled some buildings and streets of Jonesborough with music, talk, and food -- most particularly chocolate. A ticket for Choccolatta Joie de Vivre entitled its bearer to discounts at venues from Earth and Sky Confections to i fancy foods to our favorite hangout, The Cranberry Thistle, and many others along Main Street and its side avenues. While savoring a homemade truffle, one could drop by the latter shop's commodious back room to hear and see regional favorites actress Rema Keen, psycho-social worker and entrepreneur Kim Bushore-Maki, prolific author/playright Jo Carson, and founder of Smart Women Julie Hellwich discuss their experiences and then answer questions in an informal dialogue. Might as well pick up a discounted dark chocolate praline decadence topped with whipped cream and chocolate bits while there also.

Smart Women Venerable and venerated speaker Jo Carson described her experiences dealing with complete loss of hearing, unremediated by any mechanical aids employed and accompanied by tintinitis, and later stomach cancer surgery and healing treatments, including chemotherapy, for that. She described how the unsought but welcome appearance at her home of friends from over many years and places for various helpful durations had made the difference between determined survival and incapable demise. When asked if she felt vibrations, for instance from music, Jo said that only those of drums affected her and were actually healthful for her heart.

Of three workshop offerings Saturday afternoon, I chose drumming on the second floor -- actually contiguous to its three-acre backyard garden park grounds -- of our artfully and comfortably designed Storytelling Center. Jessie Lehmann of Asheville NC's Boom Chix (earlier Chix with Stix), an all-woman drummer band, had arranged unfolded chairs with cushioned seats in a generous circle central to the large-windowed front room. An awesome display of drums in all sizes, shapes and colors were gathered toward a corner for our choosing. She explained briefly the differences in sound and technique expected for each type and her professional background over twelve years or so, including five months altogether in Western Africa playing with native drummers there. During some of that time she was also studying for and earning her bachelor's degree in Philosophy and now owns and directs a private company she created that presents interrelational therapies for corporate divisions and their personnel -- at least when she isn't playing with one of three Asheville bands, including also African and Samba/Salsa-style.

Susan Lachman, WindieFest founder/organizer -- Click for more info The room fills slowly with women, and one man, from teens to retirees, who each choose a drum for themselves, sticks if necessary, and find a seat. Jessie describes and demonstrates each series of beats we will follow and practice together. In some cases, as the combinations intended or remembered become more complicated, she explains them with entertaining aural sounds and hand gestures that are worthy of a video all in themselves. There's talk of her returning for lessons here monthly also. Toward the end, Susan Lachmann joins our now-full and resplendant in sound circle with a kind of native marachas composed of large nuts perhaps and we repeat a series of changing taps and beats on and on and on until it becomes at once interesting and hypnotic in a rising, self-perpetuating insistence of tonal movement that seems like its message might cross the boundaries of states and oceans and nations. Two couples join at the last with their small, pink-dressed daughters held up in their arms to enjoy it all also.

I've bought a caringly-used djembe from Jessie toward the beginning of the workshop, played it throughout, and now have it to carry several blocks down Main Street to where my car is parked. This requires some stopping at benches to just relax and recall and think about it all, while tapping lightly off and on on the djembe. One woman passerby stops staring and finally notes that she'd been a marching band drummer all through grade and high schools and college. She still has a set at home and is teaching her six-year-old son, now at her side more or less. Another young boy races and hops by imparting to me excitedly that the Easter Bunny at festivities in the park had red eyes. I'm appropriately impressed and awed. An older woman asks the price of the djembe, eyes wide at the response, and declares I've gotten a very good deal indeed.

Windiefest logo earrings Sunday's noon brunch featuring the event's creator/coordinator as speaker is moved from Old Quarters to Main Street Cafe where gourmet foods are displayed on a long armoir against the back wall and we seat ourselves at cozy round tables, joining old friends and meeting new ones. I'm lucky to sit with, amongst others cordially communicative, Kim Bushore-Maki who entertains us with well-told stories of trips, encounters and characters met, over the years with her husband to various parts of Italy -- including Sicily, Rome, Venice and the provinces, which were her favorites -- where she has relatives. Perhaps my favorite is of their first visit when she was five months' pregnant. Where that situation is greeted, she said, without special notice or rearrangement in the United States and its outposts overseas, the Italians felt and behaved very, very differently. Leaving their temporary countryside residence for city dining via taxi, for instance, in Italy the restaurant owner and their waiter insisted, after the meal was finished, that they wait, appropriately entertained and feted, until all the rest of the diners had finished and vacated so they could be safely driven back home by restaurant personnel. Kim has worked for ETSU as a counselor and professor for nine years until recently resigning to start her own business in downtown Johnson City of "alternative" healing approaches to psychological and social maladies in particular.

photograph of actress Park Overall and educator/musician/organizer Susan Lachman Following a few trips to the buffet bar and clearing of our tables, Susan stands comfortably toward the front and slides into her reminiscences. There are stories and insights from her experiences as a long-time resident, community activist, entrepreneur, musician, educator, family member and mother. Perhaps her most notable prior organizational success was the series of Good Goddess exhibits ranging from Johnson City to Jonesborough of art by women; however, she's also been an outstanding creative force in educational and therapeutic programs for children. And, of course, she's best known as being the beloved host for 14 years of public radio's "Women On Air" -- a show introducing innovative and traditional female musicians and enligtening interviews with them on their backgrounds, observations, techniques and inspirations in the course of their careers. She takes questions at the end and is finally asked by one participant to sing for us, which she does a capella (although she plays guitar, dulcimer and drums in particular and professionally). She chooses a song with which I'm unfamiliar by a Canadian songstress/musician and with a very clear and strong, perfectly-tuned voice conveys these words from "Testimony" by Ferron ....

There's godlike
And warlike
And strong
Like only some show
And there's sad like
And madlike
And had
Like we know
But by my life be I spirit
And by my heart be I woman
And by my eyes be I open
And by my hands be I whole 

They say slowly
Brings the least shock
But no matter how slow I walk
There are traces
Empty spaces
And doors and doors of locks
But by my life be I spirit
And by my heart be I woman
And by my eyes be I open
And by my hands be I whole 

You young ones 
You're the next ones
And I hope you choose it well
Though you try hard
You may fall prey 
To the jaded jewel
But by your lives be you spirit
And by your hearts be you women
And by your eyes be you open
And by your hands be you whole 

Listen, there are waters
Hidden from us
In the maze we find them still
We'll take you to them
You take your young ones
May they take their own in turn
But by your lives be you spirit
And by your hearts be you women
And by your eyes be you open
And by your hands be you whole
Readiness: quilt by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA
Graphic above: Readiness, quilt by Margaret Gregg, Abingdon VA

Following that folk/country aria, Susan set up her small laptop in a back cove so we could record our impressions and comments on the very First Annual Windiefest also. Earlier she had introduced Paula Giovanetti, a young family friend and ETSU art design student, who'd created out of Windiefest's windingly lovely logo handmade hammered-copper jewelry, earrings and necklaces in their own handmade copper-mesh bags to sell, partly for fundraising. The logo and other event festival graphics were contributed by Susan's also-talented sister Jean. photo of Susan Lachmann In a later e-mail discussion with Windiefest's creator/originator, Susan wrote in explication: "To sing that song in that space for all those reasons was a pinacle moment for me. I have met Ferron on several occasions; in person and phone interview [through her WETS 'Women On Air' series]. She has been at the Down Home, is a Mother now and I assume still living in Washington state. Native of Canada. Kind of broody. The song, 'Testimony,' stands as an anthem for its time in the women's music movement. The story of its composition is quite compelling also.... [Ferron] is a different sort of character. Pensive, introspective. Once in an interview I commented to this effect and asked if it was her intention. She answered, 'I'm Canadian,' which I took to be some reference to the landscape of chilly, grey, brooding -- all reflected in her delivery. I heard her live concert in Lexington KY back around '78; it was produced by AmberMoon Productions. There was a cricket in one of the stage plants. I heard her also at the Orange Peel in Asheville five or six years ago and sold product for her and her band after the show. Another band member, Jamie Sieber, plays electric cello. And I was backstage for her show in Charlottesville VA. At that time, Ferron's first child was just learning to walk. For awhile, Ferron was even promoted as a 'humorist'! In regard to myself, I am first a vocalist. Performing as a folk singer began at age 13. There is nothing I love like I love singing." And we are so blessed to have that vocal brilliance and instrumental facility, felicity right here in our midst. I've enjoyed seeing and hearing Susan play in quite a varied assortment of stands -- from the Reece Museum to the Cranberry Thistle to Music on the Square. If you're lucky you might catch her voice and fingers "doin' their thing" here somewhere, announced or not.

The following weekend is First Friday artwork exhibits and music in Johnson City. The Nelson Gallery is full of mostly familiar visitors, including my college-era friend from ETSU and VCU John Lyle and his long-time female companion, Carole. There's a classical violinst playing on the slightly-raised front stage with its cafe-style small tables and chairs against panoramic floor-to-ceiling windows on the street. At his feet is a small box with some dollars and I add one to it in receiving a broad and warm smile and nod. To the left of that are comfortable chairs around a circular coffee table where John, Carole and I converse briefly, as ever, about Jobo and art, sometimes Mideastern religion, in general. A tall and slender young woman with brilliantly pink hair passes by. There are toddlers as ever and an occasional art afficiando in a wheelchair. Earth Fare has again provided three varieties of garbanzo bean spread with thick-sliced bread chunks and their goozy dark chocolate bark that incorporates nuts and seeds in an unusually artistic and delicious confection. There's punch for free and wine for a suggested offering. I've studied the student sculptures on display and believe I hear a band playing down the street. I do! It's a six-piece ensemble set out in front of the bead shop with most listeners arranged on the concrete raised beds for trees and flowers on the sidewalk opposite in front of Atlantis imports. Jazzy blues fills the evening air and suddenly two young women, a blonde and a brunette, appear in unmatched mideastern costuming -- satin-type skirts to the street and halter tops all enlivened with many many sparkling sequins of different sizes and colors. A young man on trumpet joins the band and the dancers step out, barefoot of course, into blocked-off Main Street to keep the beat with their hips and bellies and arms. Huge smiles break out through the informal audience, and the drummer in particular seems especially inspired, as is natural actually. That jam goes on for what seems like a very very long, but thoroughly enjoyable and interesting duration.

A few weeks later a weekend's welcoming celebration of the season of our warmer months includes -- amongst the familiar myriad of Tricities entertainment opportunities and happenings -- storytelling at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, Culp Auditorium jazz presentations by the ETSU Music Department's combo and ensemble, and the Fifth Annual Appalachian Heritage Crafts Fair by the Nolichucky River at Davy Crockett Park in adjacent Greene County.

Although the evening musical salute includes two well-known professional guest artists, Jim Snidero and Walt Weiskopf, my personal favorite turns out to be Justin Stanton on piano -- a masters degree student now in Texas and undergraduate alumni of ETSU. He is simply outstanding and another musician who very obviously gets into what he's doing with full-bodied attention and knowledgeable enjoyment while staying in sync with and energizing others in the combo. He's a joy to watch and listen to as his fingers move in unexpected beats and combinations over the keys, solo or in syncopation with the drummer, bass and guitar players, alto and tenor sax, and vibraphone enthusiast. Their choices, not listed on the program but announced before each piece, include "Sugar," "Five Hundred Mile High," "Afternoon in Paris," "Afro Blue," and "Bernie's Tune." Director of the Jazz programs, Dr. David Champouillon, appears then dressed all in black as are all the students assembled on stage. An unusually large man, he bows and turns around for the audience, finally asking, "Does this outfit make me look thinner?" French horn professional Ray Crenshaw, a friend he introduces somewhat later as his next-door bunkmate while they served together in the Air Force band, also turns around a few times for the audience before inquiring if his black pants make his butt look smaller. Dr. Champouillon opines that it, rather, makes the pants look smaller. But they do also get down to some funky jazz. "Harlem Nocturne," "In The Mood," "Satin Doll," "Fever" with the smokily-dressed Charice Smith singing accompaniment, and "Black Orpheus (Day in the Life of a Fool)." The Culp Auditorium is very well-designed accoustically and for audience comfort, as the seats on their angle all afford an acceptable view of the stage and its participants. There is a semi-circular balcony also, so it is at once cozy and reasonably commodious. Both the combo and ensemble are perfectly professional in sound and appearance. If you close your eyes, you could be in a dimly-lit uber-metro upscale lounge or a gleamingly-bedecked concert hall anywhere in the world. Quite a number of the students are Powell and Topalian Jazz Scholars also, meaning their academics must meet and withstand the pressures and demands of their musical dedications, which are obviously quite prodigious.

Daytime for the weekend is fair time with its congenial grouping of vendor tents beyond the reconstructed one-room home of Davy Crockett and the Mountain String Band playing in the 100-acre preserve's covered wood pavilion of picnic tables and benches on a rise close above an aqua-serene stretch of the river as it bends and demarks the park's boundary line.

Jimmy Rater from Greeneville, an experienced and superb craftsman in woods, is set up first as one walks toward the cluster of folk offerings. His wares gleam with the grains of our native trees in goblets and plates and serving dishes and toys. I can't resist one of the latter, an Appalachian traditional one of blocks the shape of playing cards that unravels from either direction in seeming magic and delight. Further on, a couple from outside of Memphis have traveled cross-state to display, demonstrate and sell their handmade psaltries, described as violins without necks, and hammered dulcimers, all constructed and highly polished of native woods also. The largest one of the latter instruments sounds like church chimes when played and spoils me for all the rest. It's also pretty expensive and best left to those who've made a study of playing and caring for one expertly. Prices range from $95 for the narrowest of triangular psaltries on upwards.

A few tents further in I spot some enticing carvings and gravitate toward wares of a Kingsport man who, it turns out, has moved here from Kenya seven years ago. He is of the Luo tribe, one of over fifty indigenous to that country. He says that our President's Kenyan family is "from his block," about 30 miles distant from his native home, and we agree that our First Family is a miracle of the best sort that we never would have expected or predicted but very much enjoy in the actuality. He explains that the official languages of Kenya are Swahili and English but that there are 27 dialects, separate tongues which don't share a common root so one doesn't easily understand or speak any other tribal language but one's own, and he has become fluent in seven. A family member ships the soapstone and mahogany with which he fashions his art, figurines from his homeland and dishes and covered boxes decorated with etchings of Africa. Colorfully large woven baskets hanging from a rope overhead are made by his mother. With my precious pink soapstone sculpture and mahogany carvings, I'm drawn by nose and tummy toward two tables laden with home-baked goods including fried apple pies and pumpkin bread rolls.

Sounds of the Mountain String Band are also at hand, or ear, now. With baked goodies secured, I find a setting spot amongst the twenty or so folk gathered in the pavillion for enjoying the country quartet arranged against the backdrop of river and greenery of its banks sliding upward toward paved stairs and walkways. Children in different sizes and accoutrement wander and dangle and run barefoot and not, while some on-lookers tap or sing along as the small crowd morphs and mingles. The mandolin player switches off to violin. She's a soft-spoken middle-aged woman who seems to be good friends with some members of the audience as well as the band, the rest of which is three gray and white-haired men, a little older perhaps than she, on banjo (the lead singer), guitar (harmonizing vocals) and bass. My favorite tune turns out to be "Our Immortal Home," a very lovely song played and sung beautifully and a charmer in that environment and atmosphere. The wife of the banjo picker sits at a front table and during a few of the typically Appalachian songs plays something I've seen before, known in Appalachia as a limberjack, but that's a little difficult to describe. It's part toy, part percussion -- a little wooden, painted man, jointed, and held above a board that's hit rhythmically so that it looks like he's kinda clog dancing and his feet are also keeping a drum beat. It's entrancing and funny and also useful as it does add something to the musical composition in sound and in sight, and delight. The lead singer makes and sells them also.

On my way back toward the car, after another look-see of the log cabin with its large open hearth, I stop to read the large signage describing Davy Crockett's accomplishments and travelings across Tennessee from this spot where he was born (then the State of Franklin) all the way west and then south into Texas to die with his comrades-at-arms pinned and surrounded in the Alamo, laid seige for 13 days by Mexican General Santa Anna and about 1500 of his troops, some 50 years later -- by all reports having brought with them to their earthly demise two or three offenders for every one caught inside. He is sometimes best remembered as a singular and occasionally lone voice against native american displacement, what turned into the Cherokee Trail of Tears -- an outspoken stance that cost him his elected position as a representative to Congress. Aside from his courage and prowess as a hunter, frontiersman and soldier, he's beloved as a lifelong devoted champion of "the common man." Davy Crockett 1786-1836.

"... The Crockett family derived their name from Monsieur de la Croquetagne, a captain in the Royal Guard of French King Louis XIV. The family converted to Protestantism and as Huguenots fled France in the 17th century, settling in the north of Ireland. Family tradition says that David Crockett's father was born on the voyage to America from Ireland, though in fact Crockett's great-grandfather, William David Crockett, was registered as having been born in New Rochelle, New York in 1709. David Crockett was the fifth of nine children of John and Rebecca (Hawkins) Crockett. He was named after his paternal grandfather, who was killed in 1777 at his home near today's Rogersville, Tennessee, by Indians led by Dragging Canoe. Crockett's father was one of the Overmountain Men who fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain during the American Revolutionary War. The Crocketts moved to Morristown, Tennessee, in the 1790s and built a tavern there. A museum stands on the site and is housed in a reconstruction of the tavern...." -- Wikipedia

"I bark at no man's bid." -- Davy Crockett

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Video below: Beloved regional musician/songwriter Ed Snodderly, creator/owner of the similarly popular and reknowned Down Home performance venue in Johnson City TN


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mountain empire happenings/events -- regional on-going and upcoming events/happenings
appalachian arts and healing resources -- freely distributed magazines and newspapers
appalachian visitors centers -- inter/national cultural events/happenings

mountain empire happenings/events
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

links to regional sites listing on-going and upcoming events/happenings
some strongly suggest advance tickets and reservations
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

Video above:
Chic Street Man, widely-awarded and endearing teller/musician and 2009 artist in residence for Jonesborough TN's International Storytelling Center

  • Arts Alliance Mountain Empire, organization covering and listing regional events monthly
  • The Crooked Road, heritage music trail in SW VA
  • The Loafer, Tri-Cities bi-weekly coverage of arts and other activities
  • Mountain Homes Southern Style, quarterly coverage of events and developments
  • Music On The Square, Jonesborough TN's popular warm weather weekly outdoor performances by outstanding regional musicians and artists in other media
  • My Asheville, published by the Citizen Times
  • The Orange Peel, Asheville NC, one of the five best music venues nationally according to Rolling Stone magazine

  • WNCW, widely popular, venerable and venerated NPR affiliate with outstanding live and recorded, mostly regional music, commentary, news and regional happenings broadcast from Boone, Charlotte, Greenville and Wilkesboro as a service of Isothermal Community College, Spindale NC
  • WPVM, community-based internet and radio presence
Go to Activate! -- Go to top

freely distributed, mostly monthly, magazines and newspapers
distributed through art and visitors centers, restaurants and shops
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

appalachian arts and healing resources
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

"Val Lyle of Bristol TN is the Virginia Highlands Festival's 2009 signature artist. The Festival selected Lyle after seeing her award-winning sculpture 'Feminine Entwinement' on display in Bristol, and a newer piece, 'Entwined Dancers,' at William King Museum in Abingdon. 'Feminine Entwinement' is constructed of tugboat rope, 'Entwined Dancers' of aircraft carrier rope made of Keviar. The two sculptures are heavily coated with resin. Both are whimsical and lyrical, 'dancing between abstraction and representation.' Lyle says, 'The rope as a metaphor entered my sculptural vocabulary around 1987, a metaphor for what ties people down and for what binds people together. Meditations on the simple baling twine used for square hay bales I helped put up in my grandparents' barn led to reflections of time and heritage as a series of twisted and woven events.... The textures of hand-hewn wooden barns, tobacco leaves, bailing twine, and trees grown around barbed wire fences have influenced my visual vocabulary.' She continues, 'I look for ways to make contemporary sculpture more approachable -- using common materials in an uncommon way and a figurative reference help to accomplish that. I believe one of the primary purposes of art is to help us consider ourselves as well as the world around us in a fresh way.'... In addition to contemporary sculpture, Lyle creates portrait sculpture. She also teaches one-day and six-week classes several times a year and occasionally does public demonstrations in portrait sculpture.... Born in Johnson City TN, Lyle grew up in Knoxville TN, longing to find out what was going on 'out in the real world.' She spent much of her adult life in Hawaii, Arizona, Florida and New York City, where she credits much of her artistic development.... She earned her BFA in sculpture at the Ringling School of Art and Design and her MFA while maintaining the family home place in Bristol TN. She teaches art courses and workshops, and is a full-time studio artist." -- Highlander Magazine 7/25-8/9/09, introductory brochure and scheduling for Virginia Highlands Festival, Abingdon VA

"[John Case, lecturer, appraiser, editor and owner of Case Antiques, Inc.,, Knoxville TN said] .... There is a profound mystery afoot regarding the redware from the East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia area. While our region was often considered the 'backcountry' in the 19th century in respect to culture, population density, economic conditions, and the arts, we had some of the most aesthetically beautiful pottery forms being produced anywhere in America. For many years, the earthenware found in our region was considered to have been made elsewhere, because no one could conceive that such complex and artistically beautiful pieces could have hailed from our region.... It was even said that antique dealers in the early 20th century like Joe Kindig from Pennsylvania would come through the region, buy our pottery and other antiques, take them back up North, and sell them as 'Northern' pieces. Consequently, it is very plausible that there are some magnificent East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia pieces in New England Mid-Atlantic pottery collections. We have difficulty understanding how the population from our region could have supported potters making such magnificent and iconic objects. The use of complex copper oxide and manganese glaze decorations with elaborate stamping that we find on Greene County pieces was both time-consuming and expensive.... Some of the more beautiful jars and jugs made by Sullivan and Greene County potters have the artistic and historical merit deserving to be displayed in major museums like the Metropolitan Museum of Art as the finest American examples of their day.... The consignor who previously owned the record-setting J.A. Lowe ($63k) jar said her children were using it as a waste can.... Christopher Alexander Haun (1821-1861) was a potter from Greene County TN. Haun was a Union sympathizer during the Civil War. He and several other potters conspired and succeeded in burning a Confederate railroad bridge (Lick Creek) in Greene County. In 1861, Confederate forces captured the perpetrators. Five conspirators were hanged, including Haun. Haun's pots clearly speak to his having been a master potter... East Tennessee is rich with sutiable clays for both redware and stoneware.... the large number of potters operating in East Tennessee during the 19th century was an indicator of the number of rich clay deposits available. The redware clay from East Tennessee is often recognized by an orange appearance versus darker red clays found in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The stoneware from the region will often have a red tinge and dark grey colors, indicative of iron deposits in the region.... One of the potters who worked with Haun was J. A. Lowe. Lowe joined the Confederate Army shortly after Haun was hanged for burning the Lick Creek bridge.... There was a wide variety of forms produced. The most common forms were cream pots, canning jars, jugs, pitchers, and jars. Less common were butter churns, bowls, plates, inkwells, cups, and presentation jars with names and dates with elaborate decoration.... Most regional pottery was sold within the region.... Ceramics is the general term covering a broad category that includes pottery.... Redware is fired at lower temperatures (1800 to 2100 degrees) than stoneware (2200 to 2400 degrees). The lower firing temperature of redware results in a higher porosity, often requiring it to be glazed to hold liquids.... Stoneware clay becomes 'vitreous' at the higher temperatures and the clay transforms to a 'glassy' surface that is essentially impervious to liquids...." -- A! Magazine, publication of Arts Alliance Mountain Empire ("nurturing, advocating and celebrating the arts"), July 2009, in Early Regional Pottery by Angela Wampler

  • Angela C. Alexander, artist in acrylics and custom pet portraits
  • Appalachian Quilt Trail, Northeast Tennessee's enviable history of colorfully creative and functional quilting is explored through well-mapped regional tours
  • Art of Life, artist explorer, coach Damaris Pierce
  • Art of Spirit, healing art near and distant, reiki, spiritual counseling and ceremonies, ministerial training, shamanic practices, chi lei qigong, soul portraits, spirit hoops
  • Jo Carson, Johnson City TN's widely-awarded and prolific author, actor and activist
  • Center for Holistic Medicine, Asheville NC, Carla Green, licensed, therapeutic massage, reiki
  • Colin's Creatures, multi-media sculpture artist
  • The Crooked Road, Southwest Virginia's heritage trail for bluegrass, old-time and country music winds through "glorious mountains" of Dickenson, Wise, Lee, Scott, Washington, Grayson, Carroll, Floyd, Patrick, and Franklin Counties, from the town of Breaks to that of Rocky Mount
  • Curious 3D, digital image artist
  • Rebecca D'angelo, artistic photography
  • Divine Expression/Intuitive Direction, intuitive reader, reiki practitioner, artist
  • Down Home Eclectic Music Room, Johnson City TN, venerated guitarist and singer/songwriter Ed Snodderly's legendary venue psince 1976 for performances by original, up-and-coming musicians from the Mountain Empire
  • Ed's Doodles, multi-media and computer graphics
  • John Faulkner, Burnsville NC, artist in lighting, furniture, display, garden, metal fabrication
  • Jane Filer, innovative artist with impressive collections and shows cross-country
  • Gingko Tree Gallery, Black Mountain NC
  • Haen Gallery, Asheville NC
  • General Shale Brick Natural History Museum and Gray Fossil Site, exciting new venue for exploring the Miocene Epoch through archeological finds dating back 7000 years and era reproductions, including interactive media presentations, as well as contemporary art in exhibits rotating monthly
  • Hardy's Artistic Expressions Studio, artist in portraits, illustrations, originals
  • Integrated Health Concepts, emotional basis of disease, holistic approach to illness, role of forgiveness in healing, services with reknowned practitioners including M.D. and other degreed professionals
  • Bill Lea's Photography and unusually skilled professional with a perceptive eye and persistence in getting just the right extraordinary image, most particularly of The Smoky Mountains
  • Val Lyle, native-born and much-awarded artist in all media who's traveled and lived extensively in studying artforms and lifestyles
  • Manding Imports of Africa, fabulous collection of original, affordable Mande artworks (25,000 in on-line store) from West African coastal areas of Burkina Faso, Senegal, The Gambia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and Ghana, available through traveling festival tents as well as their Atlanta GA homebase
  • Timothy McCoy, Asheville NC, photoimagery artist
  • Metal Art by Carro, Black Mountain NC
  • Music on the Square, Jonesborough TN, weekly performance schedules and links to artists' websites
  • Pat Perkerson Art, paintings ceramics sculpture
  • Jeff Pittman, countryrwide and Asheville NC artist
  • Mary-Ann Prack, her sculptures "resonate pure harmony, balance and the relentless positive spirit of humankind" (Renee Philliips, Director of Manhattan Arts International)
  • Radavie, emotional clearing and soul retrieval for inner peace
  • Sacred Symbols for Peaceful Places, one-of-a-kind ceramic wall plaques
  • Clayton Santiago, Atlanta GA-based artist who "celebrates the Spirit of his faith and a deep love for the natural world"
  • Shamanic Counsel
  • Sister Space
  • Soul Star, reiki, prayer, sound, color & crystal therapies, guided angelic meditations
  • Source for Wellbeing, acupuncture, chinese herbology, nutrition, qi gong
  • Sourwood Gallery, Black Mountain NC, oustanding collection of over 20 member artists' work
  • Starships, science fiction in art, science and literature
  • Star*Talk, yoga therapy
  • Kristi Taylor, artist
  • Tennessee Association of Crafts Artists, connecting crafts and people" through unique artistic all-media presentations
  • Tiger's Eye Dousing, metaphysical ministering, reiki, and dowsing
  • Rebecca Tolk, photography
  • Unbeweavables, fiber artist Brenda Cameron
  • Womens Art Space, project of Western North Carolina Woman magazine
  • Zig Zag Soul Studio, "Be the Twist and Turn in the World Of the Straight and Narrow," Justin West, contemporary fine art
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appalachian visitors centers
providing free brochures, magazines, newspapers,
and staff for travel directions and area information

Alabama [Huntsville and Birmingham] -- Georgia [Rome] -- Kentucky [Ashland and Middlesboro] -- Mississippi [Tupelo] -- New York [Binghamton] -- North Carolina [Winston-Salem and Asheville] -- Ohio [Portsmouth] -- Pennsylvania [Scranton, State College, Pittsburg, and Cumberland] -- Tennessee [Knoxville and Chattanooga] -- Virginia [ Bristol] -- West Virginia [Wheeling and Charleston]

For help in choosing a destination and traveling or moving, check out the federal government's high-tech and multiply informational atlas.

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inter/national cultural events/happenings
(several selections and suggestions from a vast variety available on land and on-line)

Video above: Anadolu Atesi (Fire of Anatolia) belly and folk dancers from Turkey
here for more of their music and dancing)


The Global Drum Project and Mickey Hart for National Geographic

The Power of Positive Thinking

The very affable, attractive, and charismatic Roberta Herrin, PhD, Chair of Appalachian Studies and Services, ETSU, presented on the morning of March 13, an engrossing and inspiring lecture to the Alliance for Continued Learning class at Carnegie Library on the Johnson City Veterans Administration grounds. Among her helpful observations:
  • there's a new field called Positive Psychology and the new ETSU department chair is a graduate of that;
  • we live in an "instant gratification" society -- based upon external, rather than internal healing -- of discontent and unhappiness, with a market created for selling solutions and encouraging the identification of more and more physical and psychological problems and an enveloping, pervasive message of fear, guilt, violence, threats to our health in every way brought to us particularly through media -- radio and television, newspapers especially.
  • maybe it's time for humans to follow the great teachers of the ages -- Buddha, Jesus, Lao Tzu, Ghandi, King -- or for the demise of humanity
  • Oprah has a new Web seminar based upon A New Earth
  • we spend a lifetime "trying to get it right"
  • there is a magnetic energy, which can and has been measured, attached to thoughts, which become a field and can even go through steel walls. We all vibrate, like tuning forks. Turning one on will turn on all the others at the same frequency because the same wavelengths attract each other
  • a total identification with the material is defined as evil
  • forgiveness means "it doesn't matter"
  • in response to stress, we can turn on anabolic endorphins or adrenalins
  • malice makes us literally sick; laughter and joy heal
  • we should react to each other as spiritual beings, not physical bodies
  • we have eternal souls in temporary expressions of flesh, an inner voice, and a stream of consciousness which are not the same as the self
  • there is a universal mind of pure energy which creates us
  • some good books are Power Versus Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior; The Eye of the I, and I: Reality and Subjectivity; Change Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao, by Wayne Dyer (2007); The Secret by Rhonda Byrne (2006); Feelings Buried Alive Never Die.... by Karol K. Truman (1991); The Power of Intention, by Wayne Dyer; Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth, by T. Harv Eker (2005)
  • Grabhorn has a four-step process for channeling positive energies: identify what you don't want; identify what you do want; get into the feeling place of what you want; expect, listen, and allow it to happen
Dr. Herrin also distributed a chart of the energy released by different emotions/levels, etc. Those at the top around 1,000, like Ghandi, release enough to affect 10 million people. That's the course of [God-View] Self, [Life-View] Is, [Level] Enlightenment, [Log #] 700-1,000, [Emotion] Ineffable, and [Process] Pure Consciousness. The next lower course is All-Being/Perfect/Peace/600/Bliss/Illumination which affects 1 million people. The lowest level is Despising/Miserable/Shame/20/Humiliation/Elimination and the next up above that is Vindictive/Evil/Guilt/30/Blame/Destruction. I brought up the holocaust and she said that some of the survivors felt a release in having lost their personal possessions, but nothing about the physical and psychological harm to people personally and in their seeing, in some cases, relatives and friends harmed and/or killed. About being a victim of crime, she said the stress at the time must be off the scales but it's what you do about it afterwards that counts and heals. After her presentation, a sampling of members from ETSU/CASS's Bluegrass Ensemble played for half an hour to an enthusiastic and grateful group of around 40 mostly retired or semi-retired participants.

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Whisk me away -- Where the heck am I?

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Original material © A Country Rag, Inc. October, 1996, 2010. All rights reserved.

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