By Dr. Dana Everts-Boehm
Master white oak basketmaker Sue Williams of Morrison and her apprentice Brenda Kucharski of Spring City have been invited to display and demonstrate their folk craft at the Scopes Festival in Dayton, Tennessee from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, 2017. Williams and Kucharski will be demonstrating on the Courthouse lawn, accompanied by a PowerPoint of their work together and an exhibition of their baskets. Attendance to this special Tennessee Folklife demonstration is free and open to the public. For more information on the Scopes Festival, see http://scopesfestival.com/
Williams and Kucharski are one of eight teams funded by the Tennessee Arts Commission’s Folklife Program to pass down rare and endangered traditional art forms and skills through this year’s inaugural Tennessee Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program. Williams learned her art from legendary Cannon County basketmakers Estel and Gertie Youngblood and Mary Jane Prater starting in 1985. She has avidly taught, promoted and sharpened her skills in her chosen craft over the years. Williams is now tutoring her gifted apprentice, Brenda Kucharski. Already a talented basket weaver in her own right, Kucharski did not know how to select and break down a white oak pole to prepare her own materials, nor was she familiar with the Cannon County Tie, until this apprenticeship with Williams.
Documentary photographs featuring this team’s work together, as well as displays of their baskets, will be included among photographs and artifacts from the other seven teams at the Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program Exhibition, Tennessee Arts Commission’s Gallery, May 19 to July 14, 2017, in Nashville. The artists will be present to discuss and demonstrate their work at an exhibition reception on June 1, 2017, from 5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.