Local Artist Bill Wallace Named Craftsman of the Year in Village of Yesteryear at N.C. State Fair

Bill Wallace

PHOTO COURTESY OF VILLAGE OF YESTERYEAR, N.C. STATE FAIR
Bill Wallace

A wood turner and a felter were honored as the craftsman and craftswoman of the year in the Village of Yesteryear at the N.C. State Fair. Bill Wallace, a wood turner from Wake Forest, and Jane Campbell, a felter from Boone, received the honors.

“This award is given to one man and one woman each year,” Village of Yesteryear Director Pam Earp said. “All the members of the village vote for who they view as most dedicated to their craft and the village’s mission of demonstration and education of heritage crafts.”

Wallace has been a part of the Village of Yesteryear for 16 years, and he started the same year the Village celebrated its 50th anniversary. He’s been teaching wood turning for 31 years. His classes are offered at the craft center at N.C. State and at Alamance Community College. He also teaches out of his shop in Wake Forest.

Wallace uses reclaimed wood; such as wood from felled trees or old buildings. About 50 percent of his business comes from story wood.

“An example of story wood would be a tree that fell at grandma’s farm,” Wallace said. “Because that tree has special meaning, the family will want to preserve it as something else. A lot of time people make bowls, small salad bowls or one large bowl.” Wallace also uses reclaimed wood to make the Environmental Awards each year for the City of Raleigh.

Both awards have been given annually since 1977. To be eligible for the award, a craftsman must be in his or her sixth year at the village. Each winner receives a gold medal with a village symbol designed by former village craftsman Ken Arensbak and a portrait done by village member William Creech.

The Village of Yesteryear is held in the Holshouser Building during the N.C. State Fair and features nearly 100 heritage craftsman demonstrating, educating and selling their one-of-a-kind pieces. This year, the Village of Yesteryear celebrated 65 years of being at the fair.