Western Carolina University’s Mountain Heritage Center will celebrate the unique mountain craft of constructing decorative and functional items from corn shucks, also known as cornhusks, in the first floor lobby of the H.F. Robinson Administration Building.

An exhibit, “Handed On: Three Generations of Corn Shuck Artists,” will be on display beginning Thursday, Aug. 25, with an opening reception held that evening at 6:30 p.m.

Annie Lee Bryson with handiwork

Annie Lee Bryson with handiwork

The reception will particularly honor the late Annie Lee Bryson, a renowned corn shuck artist who posthumously received a Mountain Heritage Award in recognition of her outstanding work in continuing mountain crafts and culture. The reception is free and open to the public.

A 1940 WCU graduate, Bryson (1921 – 2010) learned to make corn shuck crafts, including dolls, sandals, mats and hats, from lifelong Jackson County resident and crafts revival innovator Frances Nicholson (1897-1990) in the 1940s. Over the years, Bryson’s work won prizes at local, regional and state competitions. She was known as a patient and creative crafts teacher and frequently demonstrated at craft festivals, including WCU’s Mountain Heritage Day. In 1976, she was among the nine founders of the Dogwood Crafters in Dillsboro. Today, Bryson City corn shuck artist Lori Anderson carries on Bryson’s craft heritage, making corn shuck wildflowers that are replicas of plants found in the Great Smoky Mountains.

For more information, call the Mountain Heritage Center at 828-227-7129.