Tennessee Craft Demonstration Day

From Joe Pagetta, Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum and Tennessee Craft invite the public to “Craft Day at the Museum,” a family-day holiday celebration and demonstration with some of Tennessee’s best craft artists, on Saturday, December 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participating craft artists, all of whom have work in the Best of Tennessee 2021 Biennial exhibition currently on view at the Museum, include keynote speaker JoEl Levy LoGiudice, along with Chris Armstrong, Richard Dwyer, Monya Nikahd, Ashley Seay, and Betty Ziemer. Visitors will get to meet the artists, see them demonstrate their craft and how they approach their work, learn what inspires them, and discover why they work in their mediums.

To inspire Tennessee’s future craft artists, the Tennessee State Museum’s Children’s Gallery will host a day of kids’ crafts and activities, including the creation of holiday ornaments and decorations. Adults are also invited to guided tours of the Best of Tennessee Craft 2021 Biennial. The lunch time keynote in the Museum’s Digital Learning Center by LoGiudice will include an audience Q & A. Admission to the Tennessee State Museum and Craft Day activties is free.

A Craft Day at the Museum schedule and participating artist biographies follow.

Schedule of Events (Subject to Change)

10 a.m. – 12 p.m. – Artist Demonstrations in the Grand Hall

10:30 a.m. – Kids’ Story Time in the Children’s Gallery: Curious About Curious George (Kids Craft: Snowflake Art)

11 a.m. – Kids’ Craft Hour: Make Holiday Cards (based on Carrie Anne Parks’s work in the exhibition)

11 a.m. – Best of Tennessee Craft 2021 Biennial Highlights Tour

12 – 1 p.m. – Keynote Address by JoEl Levy LoGiudice and Q & A with Craft Artists

1 – 3 p.m. – Artist Demonstrations in the Grand Hall

1 p.m. – Kids’ Craft Hour: Paper and Ornament Weaving

2 p.m. – Best of Tennessee Craft 2021 Biennial Highlights Tour

2 p.m. – Kids’ Craft Hour in the Children’s Gallery: Holiday Art

Artist Biographies:

As a practicing weaver/designer/jewelry maker and bead maker, Keynote Speaker JoEl Levy LoGiudice is a prolific artist. She is also an in-demand workshop leader at numerous craft schools nationally, sharing her technical and creative skills in various medium manipulation and in design. JoEl is also a seasoned arts administrator who served as a Vanderbilt University art force for over 30 years. Within this realm, JoEl is well known and respected amongst her higher education peers, artists, and members of the community within Tennessee and beyond. She joined the Tennessee Craft Board in 2021 after a long history with the organization.

Chris Armstrong learned to needle felt wool into small sculptures from a teacher at his daughter’s school in 2003. It was fun and people liked what he made. Ten years later, with some time on his hands, he took it up again with dedication. It was still fun, and he now sells his pieces at a few craft shows a year. Usually he makes animals, dressed up like people, in unlikely situations. His goal is to make people smile and to tell just enough of a story to let folks imagine their own.

Richard Dwyer spent the beginning of his adult life on college campuses earning degrees and teaching at Rutgers University and the State University of New York in New York City. Throughout his busy career he maintained a fascination and passion for working with wood in his free time. In retirement Dwyer moved to the beautiful mountains of northeast Tennessee, enabling him to fulfill a life-long wish to add a lathe to his collection. He then became addicted to the art form that produces piles of wood shavings. Dwyer has been involved in the Best of Tennessee Craft Art show for several years, winning second place in 2018’s juried contest. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Tennessee State Museum, the Reece Museum on the campus of ETSU, and in several private collections.

Monya Nikahd is an Iranian-American handweaver and emerging artist from Nashville, Tennessee. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fibers from Tennessee Tech University in 2020. She has received awards such as the 2021 Windgate Lamar Fellowship from the Center for Craft, Best Emerging Maker from the Tennessee Craft Fair. Other accomplishments to date include work displayed at Appalachian Center for Craft, Number Magazine, Techspressionism, the Tennessee State Museum, and the Praxis Fiber Workshop Digital Weaving Residency in Cleveland, Ohio. Her goal as a handweaver is to push the boundaries of a medium typically perceived as ‘soft’ and domestic into our digital era. Her approach to weaving is experimental and relies on trial-and-error because of her unconventional use of materials and methods.

Ashley Seay is the owner of SuperNatural Relief, a printmaking studio that offers original art with a focus in woodblock printing, custom logo woodblocks, wood sculpture and design, pattern design, and fabric printing. She has over 10 years of experience in the printmaking medium. Woodblock printing is done by reversing an image, carving it on a piece of wood by leaving the image’s outline on the wood, and then the block is inked and printed on a substance like paper or fabric. A printing press is used to reproduce prints with even pressure. Her artwork is inspired by history, nature, Ancestors, Universe, and family and friends.

As a child, Becky Ziemer had many different interests and enjoyed all forms of artistic expression, but none of them captured her attention like clay. After getting a BFA in graphic design from the University of Mississippi and spending 15 years in that profession, she realized that her heart kept going back to ceramics. That, along with rising Etsy sales and a wholesale inquiry from a nationally known gift catalog, convinced her to drop graphic design and take the leap to become a full-time ceramics artist in 2015. Becky Zee loves to make whimsical creatures, or “critters,” of all shapes, sizes, and colors.

About Tennessee Craft

About Tennessee Craft: Tennessee Craft, formerly The Tennessee Association of Craft Artists (TACA), works to continue and create Tennessee’s fine craft tradition. With more than 500 members throughout the state, Tennessee Craft serves as the premier connecting point for local, independent makers and their audiences through craft fairs, exhibitions, professional development, networking, mentorship and other educational programs. Visit to learn more.

About Tennessee State Museum

The Tennessee State Museum, on the corner of Rosa L Parks Blvd. and Jefferson Street at Bicentennial Capitol Mall State Park, is 13,000 years of Tennessee art and history. Through six permanent exhibitions titled Natural History, First Peoples, Forging a Nation, The Civil War and Reconstruction, Change and Challenge and Tennessee Transforms, the Museum takes visitors on a journey – through artifacts, films, interactive displays, events and educational and digital programing – from the state’s geological beginnings to the present day. Additional temporary exhibitions explore significant periods and individuals in history, along with art and cultural movements. The Museum is free and open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.. and Sundays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. For more information on exhibitions and events, please visit