Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


November 25, 2013

PLEASANT HILL RAMBLINGS: In the pursuit of handcrafts

CROSSVILLE — Pleasant Hill has a long history of training and nurturing those of an artistic bent in their pursuit of handcrafts. Going back to the Pleasant Hill Academy days, teachers Tom Brown and Margaret Campbell taught the Academy students how to carve the heads, hands and make jointed limbs for the dolls Uncle Pink and Aunt Jenny based on real mountain people of the area.

After the Academy closed in 1947, their student Polly Page worked with Margaret Campbell and Earl Clark in the Craft Shop (now Heritage Hall), teaching and demonstrating her work. After the Pleasant Hill Community Center closed the Craft Shop, she built and opened the Polly Page Craft Center on the edge of Pleasant Hill in 1969 and continues to carve those dolls and others of her creation. This year Page was honored with the 2013 Folklife Heritage Governor’s Art Award by the state of Tennessee.

The Craft Shop included hand-carved animals, lathe turned wood articles, dolls, bowls, plates, baskets and woven articles. Margaret Campbell would spend a morning a week teaching young patients at Old General Hospital to braid rugs, cut, paint and string beads. Sarah Boyce (Alexander’s wife) started a weaving industry, which employed six women. Pleasant Hill Crafts became known far and wide and were on display in the Craft Shop showroom. Clark’s wood projects consisted of furniture and cabinet making, building construction and repair. Many homes in Pleasant Hill treasure pieces made in the Craft Shop including the Pleasant Hill Community Church, UCC blessed with a communion table and two chairs, which graced its sanctuary for over 50 years.

Although Pleasant Hill no longer has a place to showcase handcrafted goods, many residents continue using their skills for their own personal satisfactions and occasional sales or donations of the products for worthy causes. Although Dick and Martha Lammers chose to downsize from their spacious dome home to a more convenient apartment, Dick still continues to craft marvelous scraps of wood into lustrous decorative or useful objects. The late Dr. Fred and Helen Munson provided funds for a woodworking shop next to the Blue Barn on Lake Rd., available by prior arrangement to those skilled with power tools. Heather Gunter, the Pleasant Hill town clerk, has established a specialty business of flowers and custom hair accessories (check out Sharron Eckert has been creating art with long leaf pine needles for about 13 years. She exhibits and sells her designs at shows throughout the state, often winning prizes.

Since back in the 1950s, when nurse Alice Adshead started a craft group to sew for the Wharton Nursing Home and stitch projects to be sold, a group has met every Monday morning for that same purpose. They just held their annual Craft Boutique in the Blue Barn to raise money for the Adshead Fund, which supplements the needs of Wharton Homes’ elders. The Craft House at 115 Maple Circle (off Main St.) will be open Dec. 2-6 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. with their wonderful handmade items.

Uplands Village provides space for a clay room in one of its buildings. Barbara Everett has been learning how to “throw pots” and other methods of making earthenware. Hugh Thomforde has an extensive collection of handmade bowls. The monthly Sew ‘N Sew Quilt group gathers to work on personal projects and group projects for worthy causes. Contact Rita Kummer, if you would be interested in joining them. Rita is also an accomplished basket maker with unusual and traditional designs in her repertoire.

A recent column featured Jan Landis, puppeteer and master top maker. Shirley Berry has mastered native American beading for jewelry and belts. Wayne Edwards’ furniture refinishing and caning are works of art. Cheré Schatz makes delightful homemade stationery. Weavers Ruth Peeples, Jeanne Elrod and Margaret Vogel have provided lovely fabrics for their homes and families. Gail Ford is a fabric artist with a dramatic flair to her work. Grace Inglis produces unusual fabric items with a process called “shirret.” Carol Manchester has won several prizes at the county fair for her unique jewelry, scarves and other handiwork.

Pioneer Hall has often held an Artisans Day with locals demonstrating crafts such as spinning, weaving, woodcarving, basketry, tatting, quilting, corn shuck doll and seat making. The Earth Heart Center on Main St. makes their barn available for occasional craft sales. Lots of other people may have been left out. If you would like to fill Jean Clark in on your particular craft, please email her at


This week in Pleasant Hill: The Grab thrift shop at 1944 West Main St. in Pleasant Hill will hold its monthly $1/bag sale on Saturday, Nov. 30 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It will be closed Thanksgiving Day.

Text Only
  • Parkinson’s therapies help patients live big and loud

    Parkinson’s disease has famously affected the lives of celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Muhammad Ali. But whether a person with Parkinson’s is world famous or a next-door neighbor, new therapies are offering hope for a better quality of life.

    July 22, 2014

  • 8-5 CATS in Palace-Carole Jarboe Cullen - waterfall.jpg Local art event planned at CATS

    Plans are being made for an event sponsored by the CATS Gallery at the Palace Theatre, 72 South Main St., Crossville, Tuesday, Aug. 5, beginning at 6 p.m. There will be refreshments, music and an opportunity to view a performance painting by artist Chuck Jensen. A live auction of donated art pieces will begin at 7:30 p.m. with the opportunity to "Be a Cool Cat — Buy Local Art." There is free admission, but it is advisable to get a free ticket at the CATS Gallery in the middle section of the Crossville Mall, at the Palace Theatre or from any participating member of CATS. During the event, original art items including paintings, photographs, and jewelry will be offered for auction, such as this expressive waterfall painting by Carole Cullen.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Marriage licenses (Published July 23, 2014)

    July 22, 2014

  • fair park.jpg Heritage demonstrators welcome

    Most of Americans today never stop to think how different our lives would have been several hundred years ago. How many times a day do we wash our hands, and do we ever realize when we take those hot showers and lather up, the long all-day process our ancestors had to go through just to make a bar of soap? Not to mention packing water to the house and heating it up over a wood fire just to have a bath and wash clothes. Times are changing faster than ever.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • pleasant hill ramblings.jpg Mathes restores a bit of Pleasant Hill's history

    Miss Alice Adshead, RN, created a “wilderness trail” through the woods just down the hill from Uplands Sanatorium, the first hospital in Cumberland County once located on Main St. in Pleasant Hill.

    July 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • plateau gardening-hydrangeas5117.jpg Prune flowering shrubs: now or wait until February?

    Experts say, “Don’t prune woody-stemmed plants (shrubs, trees and some types of vines) after mid-August.” Do pay close attention to that advice. The purpose of this late-season pruning prohibition is to keep plants healthy.

    July 21, 2014 2 Photos

  • IMG_1850.jpg Burgess Falls offers a big payoff for a short hike

    At Burgess Falls, you can be out of your car and taking in the breathtaking view of the Falling Water River as it falls 136 feet in the third and final drop of the river with just a short walk through the woods.
    But even though the state park is close to civilization, this natural wonder retains its wild and scenic reputation.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo 19 Links

  • 8-2 colonial dames.jpg Colonial Dames honors members with luncheon

    The John McKnitt Chapter Colonial Dames 17th Century held its May meeting at the home of Joyce Ernst. Those present were Sherry Sneed, Jessie Watts, Dot Brodhag, Kandy B. Smith, Lynn Constan, Donna Hamilton, Margaret Markum, Lana Davis, Sara Tripiciano, Jane Tavernier, Joyce Ernst, Kathy Wilson, Charlotte Reynolds, and Cheryl Chrobot. President Lana Davis welcomed the ladies and followed with the opening ritual.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • J & J Show Best of Show.jpg Art Guild announces winners from Judged and Juried Show

    On June 6, the Art Guild at Fairfield Glade held a reception to announce the winners of the Judged and Juried Fine Arts Show. The pieces were judged by Marcia Goldenstein of Knoxville. Stonehaus Winery provided refreshments for the occasion.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-1 Celtic Circle.jpg Celtic Circle donates to ACPL

    Celtic Circle, a local group of Americans celebrating their Celtic heritage, recently donated a subscription for Scotland Magazine to the Art Circle Public Library and to the Homestead Elementary School library. Pictured, left to right, are Barbara Nugent, originally from Yorkshire, England; Susie Randleman, ACPL director; and Catherine Stewart Munkelwitz from Inverness, Scotland. Celtic Circle will host a program titled "Celtic Sampler" at ACPL on Friday, Aug. 1 beginning at noon. Entertainment includes great Highland bagpipe, bodhran, harp, Irish step dancing, both Scottish and Irish songs, Gaelic spoken and sung, tartan weaving and Celtic Children's Corner with crafts.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo