Handicrafts at Shelton House

By Mary Ann Enloe | May 01, 2013

Folks will have the opportunity May 11 to see how their mountain ancestors lived.

The Shelton House Museum of N. C. Handicrafts on Pigeon Street will turn back the calendar and feature juried crafters from the N. C. State Fair's Village of Yesteryear dressed in period clothing, demonstrating such crafts as rug braiding and marquetry.

Hours are 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Marc and Anita Pruett with Family and Friends will be performing at 1 p.m. with an eclectic mix of bluegrass, and old and new country music.

Anita Pruett, member of the Shelton House Board of Directors, said, "We'll also be doing some pieces that Marc and I have written." The husband-and-wife team is well-known in bluegrass circles throughout the country. Anita was Whitewater Bluegrass Company's first banjo player some 30 years ago and is a talented singer and guitarist, and Marc is a Grammy-Award winning banjo player with Haywood County's chart-topping bluegrass-and-more band Balsam Range.

The Shelton House Museum was founded by legendary Haywood County home extension agent Mary Cornwell, who was also instrumental in starting the popular crafts program at Haywood Technical College, now Haywood Community College. She was one of the visionaries of the N.C. State Fair's Village of Yesteryear which featured such crafts as spinning wool into yarn, weaving yarn into cloth, turning pottery, and making baskets.

Cornwell served as the Village of Yesteryear's first director in 1951. Among the crafters at the Shelton House Saturday will be Mary Ann Silvey, whose hand braided wool rugs have won top awards statewide. Silvey does custom design works and creates unique one-of-a-kind 100 percent wool braided rugs in traditional or modern styles.

Other participants include Cary Pace, a whittler who uses native woods to create jewelry, fishing lures, wall art and wooden feathers. Sally Weber's work includes high relief carved platters and plates and jewelry. June Wiggins has produced ceramics for 35 years. She also creates gourd art.

Beth Woody will be demonstrating marquetry, a craft that "paints with wood" by creating intricate patterns through the use of natural colors and wood grain. Saturday's event is part of the Museum's annual membership drive and the day's activities are free, but donations for the Museum are welcome.

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