Now that March has arrived so have daily craft demonstrations in the Folk Art Center lobby. One of our first artists on this schedule was Pam Etheredge who has been here the last three days.
Having become a member in the Fall of 2012 Pam Etheredge of Afton, TN is new to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, but she is certainly not new to her craft. She began making pine needle baskets when she was nine years old. Her teacher was her grandmother and she was living in southern Alabama. Materials for the baskets - long leaf pine needles were plentiful. She learned the traditional method of using the pine needles along with sweetgrass as well as natural dyeing from her grandmother.
Years later Pam developed her own innovative technique of using linen instead of sweetgrass. She waxes the linen as she weaves. She also incorporates slices of walnut and pieces of wood into her designs. Her baskets are exquisite - with a light weight that comes from using one needle at a time. Many are taught by using bundles of needles together, but Pam prefers the fine structure of baskets woven with one needle at a time with stitches close to one another.
Seeing her interact with Folk Art Center visitors shows that she is not new to sharing her work. She is comfortable sharing her process and anxious to educate the public about traditional crafts. She is a frequent demonstrator at Davey Crockett Birthplace State Park in Limestone, TN.