Arts cooperative honors longtime members
Both Jones and Reese were awarded lifetime memberships to the Holston Mountain Arts and Crafts Cooperative, an organization that began in 1971 with the mission of preserving and promoting the arts and crafts heritage in the region. Organizers Kathy and Rees Shearer of Emory and Eric and Sara Reese of Abingdon, supported by a group of churches and a community action agency in Washington County, brought local craftspeople and artists together to sell their work for fair prices.
The dedication, service, and contributions of Jones and Reese have not gone unnoticed throughout the four decades they have been members.
“These two ladies have been with us every day for 43 years and I think that deserves an honor,” said Donna Price, manager of the Holston Mountain Artisans, a name they took when the cooperative of artists moved from the Cave House building to the former county jail on Parks Street, a block from the Cave House.
The Shearers are the only other charter members also to receive the lifetime membership honor.
As charter members of the Holston Mountain Arts and Crafts Cooperative, one of the oldest cooperatives in the country, Jones and Reese agree that joining the organization was a turning point for both of their careers.
Jones, 92, reminisced that at 55 she got her first driver’s license just so she could deliver her handmade crafts around town. Reese, a potter, said she was so excited to sell her first crocheted purse she’d made as a new member that she made another one, and then another.
The artists share more than a love for art. Their artistic journeys are important pieces of local history.
Jones has spent much of her life sharing her crafting skills with others. She’s taught every kind of craft class imaginable, driving as far as Richlands and Marion to give lessons in macramé, decoupage, crocheting, knitting, tatting, needlepoint and cross stitch, just to name a few.