High above Gay Street, on the fifth floor of the Woodruff Building, Yee-Haw Industries and Jill Colquitt have organized an arts-and-crafts holiday blowout, featuring familiar local artists and some of their good buddies. If you were around in 2003, back when Yee-Haw hosted the Art for the People Holiday Shows, then you'll have some idea of the range of adorable kitsch and inspired craftsmanship collected, from finely knitted hats to Dolly Parton-inspired folk art.
"Essentially we just said, ‘Let's call our friends and invite them to sell some of this stuff during the holidays,' because it's just nice to be able to have some variety," says Julie Belcher, co-owner of Yee-Haw.
Featured artists include Aaron McIntosh and Katie Reese of The Birdhouse, the quirky art community in the 4th and Gill neighborhood. Looking around, there may in fact be something for everyone. "That's Robinella, from Robinella-fame," Belcher says, pointing towards a few paintings by our very own songstress.
"[The show is] loosely juried," she adds, "because we don't want any old-lady stuff."
University of Tennessee printmaker Sarah Shebaro, also known as DJ Mini Tiger to the barflies, has a few of her dramatic prints for sale. There are oil paintings by Eric Smith, most of which have a slightly surreal quality, toeing the line between Thomas Kinkade and Charles Ephraim Burchfield. Jessica Farmer's feline-inspired throw pillows were a hot item this past week, and Jessica Meyer was on hand last Saturday to show her "skin-transferable lithography"—i.e., temporary tattoos. There were quite a few looky-loos until the SEC championship game began. Meyer is probably best known for her larger installation shows with models who are covered in her artwork.
Kimberly Woods-Pelton, in addition to the headbands she crafted that were once featured on the Style Network, has a rack of ultra-dapper duds as well as wine coozies for the sophisticated drunk. (We must reveal that Metro Pulse art director Travis Gray was briefly employed as a headband model for Pelton's website, www.dot-iris.com.)
Be sure to pick up a copy of How to Make Books by Esther K. Smith of the Purgatory Pie Press in New York City, which is a lot like Yee-Haw in concept, just not as great.
And Belcher's sister, Sharon McRorie of Asheville, N.C., has crafted a whole line of jewelry from various plastic flowers out of Belcher's personal collection. "They're mostly from Japan," Belcher says, "but some of them are from West Germany. I've been collecting them....I told her, ‘Here, just have some fun.' Something that we can sell that doesn't have to be $100."
Amy Campbell has her folksy paintings of famous local musicians on display. There's the star of the old Midday Merry-Go-Round, Don Gibson, whose 1958 classic "I Can't Stop Loving You" was a hit for both Ray Charles and Kitty Wells. R.B. Morris, local everyman, is there, too, as well as WNOX's own impresario Lowell Blanchard, who was the mastermind behind Knoxville's eclectic country music scene from the '30s until the mid-'50s. Of course, Dolly's also featured.
There are plenty of prints by Yee-Haw's own Brian Baker, and all the usual Yee-Haw fare is on hand. But, as Belcher jokes, "People get sick of that stuff."