Tennessee Valley Handspinners Guild: Where spinning meets opera.
The 11th annual Knoxville Opera's Rossini Festival was held on April 28th in downtown Knoxville, Tennessee. The festival is well known for its live performances, including fully-staged operas, and artisan demonstrations and booths. Last year, over 100,000 people attended this free community eventthat spans eleven city blocks.
The Tennessee Valley Handspinners Guild has demonstrated at the Rossini Festival for the last six years. Members work in two-hour shifts through the day sharing their love of fiber arts. This year, they demonstrated wheel and spindle spinning and created a display with their handspun projects. The guild first became involved with the Knoxville Opera in 2000 when the opera was performing The Flying Dutchman. Guild members Linda Frank and Dale Liles volunteered to help demonstrate spinning and loaned wheels for the performance. Linda remembers, "We ended up actually being in the performances as nonsinging extras. We went to all of the rehearsals, had fancy costumes, and performed! It was really an amazing experience-one of those once-in-a-lifetime events!" You just never know where your spinning will take you!
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Photos courtesy of Bob Devol