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Member Spotlight: Pat Beaver

Member Spotlight: Pat Beaver

The rich tradition of Tennessee craft has seen a wide variety of techniques, medium, and inspiration incorporated into works. It’s almost impossible to find a material that hasn’t been used, or an idea that hasn’t been created already, let alone create your own material. But at the start of her career, that’s exactly what Pat Beaver did.

By spending time at her husband’s business, and later running a portion of it, Pat fostered an interest in chemistry and geology. She was fascinated by how materials and chemicals in rocks worked together to create layers. She knew that these rocks could fix the problem she was having finding clay to buy. Upon moving to Nashville, Pat was constantly frustrated with the lack of places to buy clay in the city. It was this passion and frustration that led her to various rock formations all over the country to dig for her own clay.

The thriving craft community in Tennessee after the first fair served as a great place for Pat to work with new concepts and explore her passion for chemistry and geology. Surrounded by a culture and community of craft, Pat jumped on board and began using her interest and experience in chemistry to create her own clay body. She would take trips out to rock formations and dig the clay out. She noticed that the different clays from different areas would give her unpredictable results, but she loved this. Like a skillful chemist, Pat was able to mix different clays from different areas to create a unique formula, which she used in many of her works.

The differences in the raw clays paralleled Pat’s unique pieces. She could never produce the same thing twice, and was enthralled with the fact that something different was created each time. Pat used her clay harvesting method to convey her influences of geology and beauty through her art.

Her innovation transferred to the craft community as Pat chaired The Tennessee Arts Commission’s craft panel in the 70s. She was also a founding member of the Hendersonville Arts Council and served as treasurer. Pat’s influence with TACA began when she, along with a few friends, laid out the very first craft fair in a small corner of Centennial Park next to the Centennial Arts Center. The fair immediately gained popularity and was moved closer to the Parthenon the following year. Following her success with the first fair, Pat continued to serve as fair director for years after.  Through Pat’s contribution to craft fairs, and dedication to the arts as a whole, she has helped Tennessee Craft foster 50 years of tradition and community.

Be sure to read our next post later this week for more on Pat, and a look back at the start of the Tennessee Craft Fairs!

This entry was posted on Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 12:34 pm and is filed under Artist Spotlight. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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