The Craft of Chair Caning Comes to the Folk Art Center
By Teryn Worsham
Seat weaving is the craft of interlacing cords or strips of material around four rails to create a solid base. One technique, known as chair caning, refers to the creation of a base woven (by hand or machine) specifically with the outer bark of rattan palm.
More than a hundred chair caners from around the country will converge at the Southern Highland Craft Guild’s Folk Art Center for the ninth annual Gathering of the SeatWeavers’ Guild Friday through Sunday, July 29–31. From expert caners to enthusiasts, the weekend offers something for everyone, and attractions include demonstrations by master crafters, educational displays, special exhibits, and lectures on preserving the craft of caning.
Hosted by Asheville’s Silver River Center for Chair Caning, the three-day conference will kick off with an open house of the chair museum at CURVE Studios & Garden at 9 Riverside Drive in the River Arts District on Friday, July 29, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Open to the public, Saturday’s workshops and sessions run from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Folk Art Center. Cost ($105) includes catered lunch, dinner, snacks, beverages, and an annual membership in the Guild. Special demonstrations will include weaving with cattail rushes, corn shucks, and belts. Other offerings will include a “Yoga for Crafters” session and tips on best business practices for artists. Keynote speaker Walter Turpening will present “Pulling it Together” and demonstrate weaving with braided color cotton cords.
Everyone is welcome to attend Sunday’s SeatWeaving Roadshow, from noon to 4 p.m. Admission is free and attendees will enjoy displays, exhibits, and demonstrations by members of the SeatWeavers’ Guild. Visitors will learn the meaning behind such terms as splint, rush, shaker tape, laced caning, and pressed caning, and are encouraged to practice weaving themselves.
The Folk Art Center is located at Milepost 382 of the Blue Ridge Parkway, just north of the Highway 70 entrance in east Asheville. Visit silverchairs.com for more information on Silver River’s chair caning classes, restorations, and the museum. To register, visit seatweaversguild.org.