Tannehill Trade Days.

Yesterday we made the 30-minute drive to McCalla, Alabama for Tannehill Trade Days. Our first stop was the craft cabins- wonderful old log cabins marked by the smoke coming from their chimneys- near the creek. I could not get enough of Lorene Russell, whose quilting cabin overflowed with treasures, anecdotes, and stunning quilts. Lorene decorated the cabin with handmade curtains from some beautiful old feedsacks- she said she has about 400 feedsacks in her collection- and shared quilting history with us. Ms. Russell explained to us how she created her “50 states” quilt with a patch made by someone in every state. She also encouraged me to make sure the age distance between my children wasn’t too great because going through the sleepless nights twice a lifetime was far from ideal.

When I told her that I never learned how to sew, she gave me a stern look (see photo to the left). I tried to explain that college doesn’t seem to prepare us for more than partying and self-indulgent therapist sessions, but decided to stop mid-monologue and quit making excuses for myself. Vow #1: I will learn how to sew this year.

Ms. Russell will be teaching eager students how to join fabric pieces so they match and make lovely Christmas ornaments at Tannehill on May 5th. For $10, you get a class, supplies, and the company of this fascinating little woman.

Our next stop was the potter’s cabin of Bryan Jordan, whose rustic pottery charmed me and only slightly-interested the ever-bubbly Max. Bryan and his mother drive to Georgia to get the clay, and Bryan cuts his own pottery mounts from wood (rather than purchasing plastic mounts) in an effort to economize. Another thrifty cost-cutting tool- ye olde family hairdryer, great for drying clay and paint after it spends time in the furnace. We got to watch Bryan create a vase on his wheel- a long process of cutting and taming the clay, which seemed to have a mind of its own. Call Helen at 205-477-5111 if you would like to participate in Bryan’s Wheel-Turned Pottery class at Tannehill on June 2nd. The cost is $25.00, but you come home with your own amazing clay pieces.

Other craft cabins include the watercolor artwork of Chuck Jones, who also offers a class on Gourd Masks, the basketweaving skills of Mary Ann and Bill Smith, the blacksmithery of James Whatley (whose marriage advice to Patrick consisted of “stay in your workshop until your wife calls you to dinner”), and the bowed psaltery of Paulette Lucas, among others. Craft cabins are open every weekend from now until November, and Tannehill offers RV and primitive camping, as well as a delicious sweets shop and restaurant.

For more photos from our Tannehill field trip, including the nifty items I spied at the Trade Show, check out the “Tannehill Trade Days” photo album on the sidebar.