Main Gallery

A Legacy of Makers and Mentors by the University of North Georgia
November 17 – February 12, 2017

Digging deep into its mission to cultivate the creative economy, the Southern Highland Craft Guild opens its newest exhibit, A Legacy of Makers and Mentors, at the Folk Art Center this Thursday, November 17. Showcasing over 40 pieces of work from its Education Center member University of North Georgia, the exhibit ranges in experience and talent. The makers are from different sectors in their careers and with the university; students, professors, and alumni will have their work on display. Though the university has been an active member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild since 1977, this is its second collaborative effort for marketing and education in the main gallery. The previous exhibit was over seven years ago.

Advocating for high quality craftsmanship is a constant goal for the 86-year-old organization. Though the majority of membership is comprised of individuals, there are other levels that makers can apply for. For larger institutions, like the University of North Georgia, the opportunity for Education Center level membership was ideal. Every three years these centers undergo a review from the Guild’s Education Committee to ensure that quality and standards are upheld to the other creative visionaries in the organization.

Having these educational organizations as members of our community is significant in the trajectory of craft’s growth,” says librarian and archivist Deb Schillo. “Places like The Village Potters and Silver River Chair Caning Center are among the few who are very much focused on preserving the skills and traditions of specific techniques in one’s medium.”

Of the 42 exhibitors, one is also an individual member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild. Tommye Scanlin juried into the organization in 1979 under the fiber media, and granted Lifetime membership of the Guild in 2009. “I began teaching in the Fine Arts Department at UNG in 1972,” says Scanlin. “In the next year, the department sponsored spinning, dyeing and weaving workshops, taught by Mary Frances Davidson and Elizabeth Edens, both highly regarded Guild members.”

The University of North Georgia and the Southern Highland Craft Guild have a several decades-long connection through two former faculty members, the late Bob Owens and Scanlin, Professor Emerita. The contacts between UNG with the Guild continued in the 1970s when Owens arranged for an exhibition of Guild members’ work at the school’s art gallery. “That’s where I fell in love with weaving. Both Bob’s enthusiasm for the Guild and those fabulous woven objects in the exhibit gave me the incentive to strive for Guild membership in weaving, and I became a member in 1979.”

In addition to University of North Georgia, the Southern Highland Craft Guild has eight other Education Center members: Arrowmont School of Crafts, Penland School of Crafts, Haywood Community College’s Creative Arts Program, Country Workshops, The Village Potters, Silver River Chair Caning Center, Odyssey Center for Ceramic Arts, and Tryon Arts & Crafts Center. There are other well-known educational institutions in the Guild’s region, though their membership is a Production Center as their focus is about the marketing efforts as opposed to educational opportunities.

The exhibit opens on Thursday, November 17 and is free to the public through Sunday, February 12, 2017. With their headquarters in the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center, the Guild offers visitors a variety of experiences with the craft form, from their oldest store, Allanstand Gift Shop, to two galleries, an interior design space, a library and archives, and their Permanent Collection Gallery. The main gallery is upstairs in the Folk Art Center and is open year-round with free admittance. The building is open daily from 9 am to 6pm. For more information visit or call 828-298-7928.


The Southern Highland Craft Guild is a non-profit, educational organization established in 1930 to bring together the crafts and craftspeople of the Southern Highlands for the benefit of shared resources, education, marketing and conservation. The Southern Highland Craft Guild is an authorized concessioner of the National Park Service, Department of the Interior.

The Department of Visual Arts (DoVA) at the University of North Georgia is a multi-campus, student-focused department that fosters quality education, service, inquiry, and creativity. DoVA provides an environment of academic excellence, cultivated by faculty role models, through high professional standards of scholarship, craftsmanship, and leadership. As an innovative community, the department promotes global and contemporary practices while honoring the rich cultural and artistic heritage of the region.