Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

Tansi Smoke Signals

June 26, 2013

Celebrating Memorial Day

CROSSVILLE — Tansi set off Memorial Day Weekend with a craft show, cruise-in, music, food and games on Saturday May 25. The craft show featured artisans that offered one-of-a-kind pieces of joy expressed through jewelry, paintings, photography, woodwork and crafts, not to mention the hand poured candles and the best delicacies a goat can offer.

Photographer Micheal W. Boniol set up shop with his beautiful portraits taken all over Tennessee capturing the highlights of each season to his customers’ delight for their collections. Boniol specializes in nature scenes to which his photographs are the still-frames depicting structures that embody our local history, wildlife, flora and fauna, snow laden settings, fall foliage and other moving scenes.

Robert McFate brought his fanciful wares, which consists of a line of wall hangings he created of painted, up-cycled barn tin posted to recycled wood planks called “Whimsical Rust.” These imaginative paintings portray simplistic and cartoon-esque flowers and birds. With each piece taking the paint differently and becoming something that surprises even the artist, every piece is unique and unbelievably charming.

Bob’s Cedar Crafts, out of Rock Island, Tenn., made for a wonderful display including chests, benches, personalized house plaques and the most beautiful woodworked clocks in the shape of the state of Tennessee. He gave one to Lincoln Davis and was commissioned to make one for the City of McMinnville, Tenn. Bob Kent, locally referred to as “Bob the Cedar Man,” uses the latest machinery which he can design on the computer and type set to the machine to create his beautiful woodworks.  

Eagle Rock Crafts joined the fun with their custom jewelry and rosaries. Each item Colleen and Joe Lentini produce is numbered and backed by the couple’s lifetime guarantee to repair or replace it should the need arise. They take that much pride in their work and it also serves as a nice way to stay in touch with those who collect their distinctive pieces. Some necklaces are created around a pendent the couple has found in their travels to individually compliment it. When the Lentini’s make a piece they number it, photograph it, and never duplicate it because they want each of their pieces to be unique. Joe Lentini is a disabled veteran and has found a love for fabricating these wonderfully artistic and expressive pieces while Colleen Lentini has picked up more and more new techniques such as a Japanese form of crocheted beading.

Three Moons’ booth offered hand crafted Sterling silver spoon rings, beaded jewelry and all natural beauty products by Lynnea Donai. Donai has a knack for gathering herbals and oils to produce her line of skin care, including toners, lotions, perfume oils, soaps and massage oils which leaves her customers feeling refreshed and scented like a medieval royal.

Chinese artist Jinsheng Song created beautifully dramatic multimedia portraits full of fire and warmth in his individual impressionistic style. Mounds of paint give his portraits texture and a three dimensional effect while searing the imagery into the eyes of onlookers. He has an artists’ education and his list of accolades continues to grow as he has won many awards for his exemplary work.

Hope and Harmony Custom Candles owner Tylor Singer presented hand poured soy based pillars, jar candles, votive candles and tea lights in a variety of scents and flavors. Singer broke his neck during his service in the military and he said the candle kit he had received was a joke. But Singer quickly found that it was something he could do at home and started out creating different scents and concocting new colors as a hobby. This hobby has served him well and he enjoys it. He even learned how to crochet and makes a crocheted band for each of the jar candles himself. His “Fresh Cut Roses,” “Strawberry” and “Rain Forest” candles were among the many of the crowd favorites.

Jewels by Jen created quiet the buzz as Jennifer Watts’ pieces of jewels included capricious rings, bracelets and matching sets of earrings and necklces which were adorned and adorable. Fire and Ice opals imbedded into the belly of a sea turtle pendent, owl sets that had customers screeching, intricately beaded bracelets and rings, and so much more. The diversity of her selection doesn’t disappoint, but in case her customers have something particular in mind, Watts makes custom jewelry and takes special orders.

Colleen Wiles brought her hand dyed mohair, felted crafts, knitting and weaving. Satchels, felted nests with wonderful woolen birdies, gorgeous sweaters, baskets of hand dyed wool sold by the ounce, Wiles hoisted her wares and was met with quiet the welcome by fellow felters. Wiles said she never uses patterns because when she was in Germany she didn’t speak German and couldn’t read the patterns and relied solely on what she saw in the pictures. And, so, Wiles learned by sight.

The Obed River Farm pitched a tent and put on a spread for the craft show from creamed honey to goat’s milk soaps and balms. Tasty dip mixes like cucumber dill and bacon ranch, creamed honey which was still in its raw state but aged to perfection with a rich buttery texture, goat fudge in every flavor imaginable, even goat balms, and goat’s milk soaps infused with healing properties from natural ingredients gives Obed River Farm its edge. Owner Adam McGinnis agreed that goats are so versatile and can offer so much. The 30 hives on the farm yields a honey harvest that the farm sells raw and creamed. When honey is creamed it is aged and takes on a butter-like consistency but is still considered raw since it hasn’t been heated. The farm’s creamed honey flavors include rosemary-orange, cranberry-cinnamon and lemon, each infused naturally.

Creative Arts by Cathy donned a series of painted woodworks, gourds, and children’s furniture among other items, such as a portrait painting of a country setting, a stool, bread box and birdhouses. Cathy Probst is an unusual lady with a lot of talent, according to her husband and biggest supporter. She does all the work, and when he says all, he means all. That includes all the cutting, designing, carpentry and painting of each seamless piece of artistry.

The Owl’s Nest owned by Roy and Laurie Vickers was the quaintest boutique of felt magnets in the shapes of the most alluring creatures from owls to giraffes. Simply cute, these items along with perfectly crocheted butterflies captured the imagination in everyone.

The recreation staff was set in motion getting the children ready for friendly competitions from Hula-Hoop contests to, sack races, putt putt and water balloons and other activities involving rubber chickens. The adults even tried their hands at the putt putt.

The Quack Shack was open and even set up a mini-shack across from the POA office building to accommodate the crowds at both ends of the celebration.

The Lake Tansi Cruise-In had a host of restored classics, reveled eccentricities and matchless dynamos line the water’s edge. Bouncy houses and slides appeased the children who gave in an instant. A concert performed by the Southern Rascals brought down the sun and the music compelled many couples out of the crowd to dance.

The Memorial Day celebration at Lake Tansi was a day of remembrance to all those who served our country and also to those who still do. It was also a day of remembering why Americans can do all of these wonderful things like have celebrations, lazy days on the lake, activities for children and try their hand at any number of arts: it’s called freedom.  

Craft vendor quick reference guide:

For more information about the wonderful works of art created by Tennessee’s finest and to support and contact the artists themselves look no further. Creative Arts by Cathy owner, Cathy Probst, can be reached at 931-742-0132 or email at Jewels by Jenn owner, Jennifer Watts, takes special orders at or call 931-787-0413. Hope & Harmony Custom Candles owner, Tyler Singer, can be contacted by email at and 931-788-1121. Eagle Rock Crafts owners, Joe and Colleen Lentini can be reached at and 931-212-7381. Bob Kent of Bob’s Cedar Crafts can be reached at 931-686-7011. Three Moons owner, Lynnea Donai, can be contacted at 931-788-1301 or visit the website at The Owl’s Nest of Roy and Laurie Vickers’ crafts can be reached at 931-788-1280 or by email at Obed River Farm, family owned and operated in Deer Lodge by Adam McGinnis can be reached by calling 727-597-3146.

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