Leniavell Trivette, daughter of North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient Elsie Trivette, has been making crafts since she was a child helping her mother pull apart strands of burlap to be used as yarn for hooking rugs. Growing up in Watauga County near Beech Mountain, Leniavell had six siblings. She and her two sisters helped their mother make hooked rugs. They used burlap for the back of the rug and sometimes they also used the rough burlap fibers for the yarn, unraveling discarded feed sacks to get the yarn. She remembers her mother giving the kids five cents to unravel the long strands of burlap and later selling the finished rugs in Blowing Rock for fifty cents.
For many years, Leniavell worked very closely with her mother. She mastered the various handicrafts that had been passed down through the women in her mother’s family. She mastered the techniques of dyeing fibers with a variety of natural materials ranging from walnuts, barks and berries to tomato vines and rusty nails. She learned to spin wool yarns, make colonial knotted bedspreads and pieced quilts, and make dolls and sock animals.
Leniavell continues practicing these and other fiber crafts. In 2000, she received the Craftswoman of the Year award from the Village of Yesteryear at the North Carolina State Fair, where she has demonstrated for twenty-five years. She is part of the Heritage Crafts Affiliate, and she has been awarded an honorary membership to the Southern Highland Crafts Guild. She continues to display her work and demonstrate annually at the State Fair’s Village of Yesteryear, at the Traditional Crafts tent at Merlefest, and at other venues.
Leniavell worked for a local craft co-op for eighteen years. During that time she actively visited and helped promote and sell the crafts of many local and regional artists in Watauga and Avery County.
Leniavell Trivette is available to show her work and give demonstrations. She has also given some workshops.