Friday, November 13, 2009

humbling ...

Last night I was honored to receive one of two special awards by members of the Georgia Art Education Association.  The award, a beautiful handblown glass piece by David Goldhagen , says:

Lifetime Achievement Award
Presented to
Tommye McClure Scanlin
Our Mentor and Friend
In recognition of a lifetime dedication
to craft education
2009 GAEA Conference
Clebrating American Craft in the Southern Mountains
November 12, 2009

The other award was given posthumously to Bob Owens, who I consider to be my mentor in many things, including how to be a craftsperson and a teacher.  Bob was an exceptional artist as ceramicist and sculptor, and he also excelled in drawing and painting.  He was my first art teacher when I was a college student and later, after I'd completed my degree, Bob hired me to become part of the art department at North Georgia College.  I worked with Bob Owens as a colleague for twenty-five years until his retirement in 1997.  Upon leaving the university he continued to teach and inspire students at John C. Campbell Folk School as well as in his home studio where he created many works before his very untimely death in 2004 at age 67.

Bob Owens  lived this life as a perfect role model of artist, craftsperson, teacher, mentor, friend, as well as community leader and he is more than deserving of such an award.  Whether I'm worthy of the honor... time is yet to tell, I think; that's why this is a humbling experience even as I'm very grateful for the recognition by the art education group.  Maybe a couple of decades from now, when I'm no longer able to travel to teach a workshop or point someone to resources I know about or become excited when I see the passion for craft budding in someone (whether young or old)--maybe then I'll be deserving of "... recognition of lifetime dedication to craft education."  Until then, I'll keep plugging away and having fun on the journey!


  1. How very special and exciting! I am glad for you!

    I met a man recently who won the world food award - it's the agricultural equivalent of the Nobel Prize. He said it changed his life focus. He started to take his work much more seriously and branched out more globally. Can you imagine a Nobel Prize Winner becoming even more because of the award???

    have you felt this at all? Does this award change your aspirations at all?

  2. Congratulations, Tommye! And what a beautiful award, too. Well done!

  3. Congratulations! It's a beautiful award, a wonderful sentiment and how nice to have been honored at the same as your own mentor. Along with being humbled, be proud of your gifts and the generosity with which you share them. :-)

  4. Congratulations on this wonderful award. Awesome - and well deserved.

  5. Congratulations on your award! I am new to tapestry weaving and have followed your blog for more than a year. I find your work inspiring and your words encouraging. Your dedication to your art has definitely influenced me!

    Enjoy your beautiful and well deserved award!

    Betsy Anderson
    Dallas, TX

  6. Thank you, one and all!

    Jennifer, you asked if the award changes my aspirations... no, I still want to be able to do and share as long as I'm able to do so. I'm just hoping for lots more time!!

  7. How wonderful, and what a well deserved award. Congratulations and much appreciation from one who gains inspiration from your generous sharing of your blog and your time.

  8. congratulations! my daughter and i took your tapestry course at folk school and we loved the time we spent with you... your ability to show us as a group and one at at time over and over till we we're beaming with pride as we cut that first wobbly piece off the loom shows that very dedication... the award is as beautiful as your spirit...luminous and lovely

  9. Hi Kathy!
    Good to hear from you--how are you both doing? Any more tapestry weaving?? I hope so.

    Sue... thanks for your thoughts. NOW... on to reflecting about the Silvia Heyden workshop experience! Hope your knee is much better now.

  10. Congratulations Tommye, it is well deserved based on the short time I was lucky enough to have you instruct me. And Bob Owens must have been truly wonderful. I have heard my mother speak of him with great admiration too.