First Place, Made in NC 2019
Chosen Best Overall - Made in NC Awards 2019
Sponsored by Our State Magazine
First Place, Home and Garden Category
First place, World Gee-Haw Whimmy Diddle Champion
21st September, 2019
Retained title - First place, World Gee-Haw Whimmy Diddle Champion, Professional division.
This event is a feature of Heritage Weekend sponsored by the Southern Highland Craft Guild and held annually at the Blue Ridge Parkway's Folk Art Center the third Saturday of September at 2:pm.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Lyle Wheeler, noted chairmaker and blacksmith from Millers Creek, was honored recently by the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild. Wheeler received the Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award at their 92nd annual meeting in Asheville, Saturday April 23rd. This is the highest honor the Guild bestows and is given in recognition of a certain dedication to the organization and its principles of craftsmanship, education, preservation and marketing.
Wheeler juried into the Guild in 1990 in the wood media classification. He has participated in every Summer Edition of the Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands except one since then. The Fall Edition has always coincided with the NC State Fair where he has been an educational demonstrator since 1986 working as the woodwright in the Village of Yesteryear for fifteen years and later, operating the chair shop in the Pittman Heritage Circle.
Since joining the Guild, Wheeler has held various standing committee positions including Education, Standards and Nominating with Long Range Planning and Heritage Designation as ad-hoc. He served on the Board of Trustees for three years, including as president. He has demonstrated many times at the Blue Ridge Parkway’s Folk Art Center and Moses Cone Mansion and believes that as a demonstrating artisan he has had the opportunity to educate the general public in the intrinsic and everlasting value of a handmade object. Wheeler has participated in the Guild’s special event days of Wood, Glass & Metal and Heritage Weekend. He has won the World Gee Haw Whimmy Diddle Competition numerous times and has the highest average finish of any competitor.
As an educator in the trades, Wheeler has taught extensively in the region and has either assisted or instructed nearly eighty classes at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, NC. He has also presented at many woodworking groups in the Southeast.
Upon notification of this prestigious award Wheeler said: “I am humbled by this recognition because it is an acknowledgement and affirmation from my peers that I have faithfully and successfully followed the path of the maker.”