This monthly blog from The Maker City features a look at some of the Knoxville area’s outstanding makers – artists, crafters, and custom builders. This blog showcases three makers from The Maker City’s Holiday Marketplace

Debbie Alley Fiber Artist Debbie Alley Fiber Artist

Debbie Alley of Debbie Alley, LLC

Debbie Alley

How did you get started as a fiber artist?
I grew up sewing with my grandmother, then got into quilting and had a business, Creative Quilts, from 1997-2010. During that time, I was involved in a project where we created anniversary quilts for TVA; one went to the Smithsonian. I started silk painting as a hobby about ten years ago, and during a Silk Painters International festival at Arrowmont there was an instructor teaching this medium. I was fascinated and that’s when I really started learning how to do it.

What do you make, and how?
Framed decorative paper pieces and silk scarves, either painted or eco-printed -- a process where you sandwich plant materials between fibers and use steam, heat, and water to transfer the images. Sometimes for commissioned work I enhance them in Photoshop, but typically I leave them as they are. It’s calming and intriguing and thoughtful; I think people enjoy having a bit of that on their walls.

Where are your products offered for sale?

Painted scarves are available Ta’Vie at Turkey Creek and The District Gallery carries my eco print scarves.

Brief Bio: Fabric artist Debbie Alley grew up in Jefferson County. She pursued business studies at Walters State Community College before getting married and having a family, doing secretarial work along the way. When her children were grown, she went back to work in graphic design and marketing, and then in Human Resources at UT’s Department of Learning and Organizational Development. She launched Debbie Alley, LLC in March of 2021 and most recently was accepted for representation at The District Gallery in Bearden. “I’m looking forward to making my art my full-time job. I love the images I’m creating and I’m just so inspired. The last six months have been incredible. I love what I’m doing.”

Scottie Lynn Baxter Pottery Scottie Lynn Baxter Pottery

Scottie Lynne Baxter of ScottielynnePottery

Scottie Lynn Baxter

How did you get started as a ceramicist?
I have been a maker most of my life. My first venture into the craft show life was doing leather work in the 70s which has influenced my love of carving into leather-hard, or slightly damp and pliable, clay. In 2013 I took a wheel throwing class at Knoxville Fine Arts Center and one week of it was hand building. I fell in love with the ability to incorporate leaf impressions into hand-built mugs, platters, etc. and taught myself more by Googling everything I could find about hand building.

What do you make, and how?
Hand-built and wheel-thrown pottery. My most popular item is my hiker mug which has a hand carved mountain range with personalized hiker(s), dogs, etc. I have shipped it all over the U.S. I’m now exploring new techniques including increased wheel throwing and slip trailing -- that’s when you have watered-down clay similar to the consistency of yogurt and you put it in a squirt bottle and apply raised designs. Like decorating a cake!

I used to do almost all functional pieces, but sometimes for Christmas I’ll do snowflake ornaments. This year I’m doing tiny Christmas trees, and little pumpkins for fall.

Where are your products offered for sale?
I also sell at craft shows and out of my studio, Space 5 at Mighty Mud, 127 Jennings Avenue.

Brief bio: Knoxville native Scottie Lynne Baxter earned a BS in Horticulture and Landscape Design from the University of Tennessee, where she subsequently worked as assistant to the supervisor of the grounds department. She was also a bookkeeper and docent supervisor at Mabry-Hazen House, then went back to school for an additional degree in occupational therapy and worked in pediatrics for six years.

She discovered pottery on a family trip to the Great Smoky Arts and Crafts Community on Glades Road in Gatlinburg. She retired seven years ago and has been obsessed with making pottery ever since. “I love my Mighty Mud family and the camaraderie I have found here. I learn so much from belonging to an artist community.”

She and her husband have four grown children and five grandchildren.

Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary

Courtney Lozano of Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary

Courtney Lozano of Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary

How did you get started as a tea maker/herbalist?
I studied nutrition in college, and the herbalism was an interest alongside the nutrition for a long time; it was never really separate. I kept learning on my own, eventually studying formally at the Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine in Asheville, graduating in 2019.

What do you make and how?
Loose leaf herbal teas and traditional black and green teas. Once I’m able to scale up to a commercial kitchen, I’d like to make syrups and oxymels, which are like a like a tonic based on honey and apple cider vinegar.

Where are your products offered for sale?
Different popup markets around town -- most often the Maker’s Market at the Sustainable Future Center, 201 Ogle Avenue.  Facebook & Instagram.

Brief bio: Chattanooga native Courtney Lozano grew up with a love of reading, academics and music -- she is a former clarinet player and self-described “band geek.” She moved to Knoxville 12 years with her husband, who had relocated for his job. She studied nutrition at Pellissippi State Community College but left to concentrate on herbalism. After planning and working on her idea for her own company for “about two years,” she launched Soothsayer Teahouse & Apothecary last November. “I have a commonsense approach. I want to show people how truly simple and accessible herbal medicine can be, no matter where they’re coming from. You can do as much or as little as works for you.”

For more on The Maker City artists, please click here

For more on where to find goods by artisans of The Maker City, please click here