Tennessee, perhaps best known for its place in the world of country music, also boasts a proud and varied weaving tradition. From the exquisite finger-woven bands of the local tribes, to the beautiful woven coverlets of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, to the modern handweavers who carry on the traditions of old while exploring new frontiers, weaving thrives in Tennessee. It is no doubt thanks to this grand tradition of handweaving that the Handweavers Guild of America (HGA) has chosen Knoxville, Tennessee, as the site for its 2020 Convergence.
Taking place July 24 through July 30, Convergence 2020 will highlight the rich textile traditions of the Smoky Mountains. Keynote speaker and expert on the textiles of southern Appalachia Kathleen Curtis Wilson will share stories and photos she collected over her 25 years documenting handwoven textiles in the area.
For a more contemporary tribute, this year’s fashion show is themed Seasons in the Smokies and features wearable works of art from designers around the world including invited artists Daryl Lancaster, Dianne Totten, and Judi Gaston. There will also be three other exhibits, all featuring artwork inspired by Appalachia: Dogwood to Kudzu, an exhibit of basketry; Vistas Along the Appalachian Trail, an exhibit of yardage; and Symphony of the Mountains, a mixed-media exhibit.
Convergence is bringing back its popular towel exchange, this year sponsored by the Chattahoochee Handweavers Guild, which is quite possibly the largest towel exchange in the world and a great way to make new weaver friends and build your towel stash. As in previous years, there will be a diverse selection of workshops and classes available covering weaving, felting, spinning, and more. No Convergence would be complete without a bustling marketplace full of goodies, and Convergence 2020 is no exception.
If you want to go where the weavers go, check out www.weavespindye.org/convergence for information about the event, class listings, and much more. Registration is open now, so don’t wait!