Posts Tagged With: buy local

O (Kentucky Crafted) Christmas tree!

Each Christmas tree is special. There’s so much love shared around it. They help light up the season and put an extra twinkle in our eyes.

When I think of Christmas trees, I’m reminded by the one my family would put up year after year, adorned with what seemed like hundreds of ornaments. See, my mom is a teacher in southern Kentucky, and receives dozens of ornaments before each Christmas break. No branch is without a treasure from a past student. It seems like she kept every single one of them and they all carry a special message, picture or memory. We would always put up the tree while Elvis, Nat King Cole or Amy Grant serenaded us in the background. We would tell crazy stories, re-ignited by each ornament, of my mother’s tenure, like the time a kid came to school with a living, breathing bat in his backpack. Yeah. That happened.

One of my favorite things about Christmas trees is they hold different meaning for every family. Hopefully, each ornament is as unique and memorable as some of the stories shared around it.

I also remember having the privilege of putting my own ornament on the tree each year. The ornament was of Gus, the goofy mouse from Disney’s Cinderella. It was such an honor for me, especially being somewhat shy and suffering severely from what can only be described as middle child syndrome.

Gus

Everyone say hi to Gus.

We have a wonderfully witty blog series here at the Kentucky Arts Council by the talented Sarah Schmitt called Good Food Deserves Better. She talks about serving food on better-than-average dinnerware like Kentucky Crafted items for the kitchen and dining room. Your Christmas tree deserves better than generic pieces many of us buy on impulse, usually because they’re marked down. Your tree is a centerpiece for Christmastime and the season’s traditions.

To help you out, below are just some handcrafted ornaments from here in Kentucky. I urge you to start your own traditions with them. For instance, you could buy one each year and give it to a specific person, like the matriarch of the family, or a new member you’d like to welcome. You could even do an annual ornament exchange, like a Secret Santa where everyone buys an ornament. Make these new traditions your own.

Gourdament from SnP CraftsReImagined ornamentJudyGeagley owl ornament

There’s more where those came from…literally. We have a directory for holiday decor on our Give a Gift Kentucky holiday décor site, which includes more ornaments to start (or continue) your collection. I challenge ya’ll to find some one-of-a-kind ornaments made in Kentucky this Christmas and to carry on that tradition year after year, filling up each and every branch on your tree.

I would love to see what you find! If you don’t mind, post a picture of you and your handcrafted ornaments new and old on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and tag us in the picture. Don’t forget to use #giveagiftky. Your pictures would absolutely make our hearts sparkle here at the Arts Council.

Megan Williamson Fields, communications assistant

Categories: Other | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good food deserves better: revenge of the ramekin

This post has nothing to with ramekins. It’s just that this is the fourth in a series of musings about artful dinnerware, and I’m running out of clever sequel titles.

If you’ve read the other three posts, you know the gist. If you’re going to entertain this holiday season – or anytime around the calendar – don’t serve your wonderful food on trash (i.e., disposable plates and aluminum pans). Conversely, if all you have time to prepare is a “pack of Nabs,” at least unwrap them and place them on a tea towel in a lovely basket. Make bad food look edible, and good food look superb by serving on Kentucky Crafted items for the kitchen and dinning room.

I’ve covered the basics like plates, mugs and casserole dishes, and now I’d like to get fancy. The following are not things that everyone needs. What you are about to experience covers two things important to holiday entertaining: wowing the cream cheese out of the people who come to your house and finding gift items for the gourmand who thinks he or she already has everything.

Haley_Doug

For example, you’re never going to impress your wine aficionado friend with a bottle of wine, unless you’re a sommelier. Stop trying, and buy this fine wine caddy by Doug Haley. Made from maple, cherry or exotic woods, the caddy will hold bottles, glasses and even cheese and crackers or desserts.

Wolff_Fritz05

I know it’s not practical to buy kitchen gadgets that only do one thing, but sometimes a uni-tasker’s unique nature is a good conversation starter (i.e., guest impresser). Besides, Stone Fence Pottery’s garlic grater works up garlic and artfully presents oil emulsions for dipping – that’s one more task than a regular, old garlic press.

3 chip and dip final_1

Matthew Gaddie is a skilled ceramicist, but — I’m embarrassed to admit — I had no idea what this was when I first saw it at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.  I sort of thought it was a bird bath, maybe? That’s why these things are best left to the artists; this is actually a genius chip and dip or salad bowl, equipped to serve three different dressings or dips. This is the reason he was best of show in 2014, and I’m merely writing an article about his creations. Amazing, impressive, and no one else you know has one. Furthermore, you can get the ugly Wishbone and Ken’s Steakhouse dressing bottles off of your gorgeous table.

So that’s how you dazzle even the most ennui-ridden epicurean. Oh! I almost forgot; here’s an assortment of ramekins from Tater Knob Pottery in case you were feeling cheated by the title.

84fc3dac46f1b83a758913f6ca10ce8e

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director 

Categories: Other, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What week of the year has 10 days?

 

This week!

 

 

American Craft Week spans over two weekends to include all the many craft events celebrating the value of American craft. American Craft Week just happens to include Kentucky’s two largest fall arts festivals, St. James Court Art Show in Louisville last weekend and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen Fall Fair this coming weekend. Governor Beshear has joined other governors from around the nation in proclaiming Oct. 3 – 12, 2014, American Craft Week in Kentucky, acknowledging the support the Kentucky Arts Council gives to our Commonwealth’s makers, retailers, collectors and exhibitors of American handmade craft.

Kentucky Crafted Retailers in Kentucky and Ohio are also having special activities in celebration of American Craft Week. Yes, that’s right. We have officially designated Kentucky Crafted Retailers in Kentucky, Ohio and Indiana. Check out our directory to see the complete list of Kentucky Crafted Retailers.

Stop by Completely Kentucky, in Frankfort, during American Craft Week and enjoy some samplings of Kentucky Proud gourmet foods, win a gift card during the daily drawings and see the work of Kentucky Crafted artists, artisans and gourmet food producers.

Zig Zag Gallery, a contemporary craft gallery in Dayton features jewelry, pottery, creative clothing, gifts and more! Their American Craft Week events include Soup for CERF: An Empty Bowls Fundraiser, pottery demonstrations and a fabulous Friday featuring local artists’ trunk shows.

In Cincinnati, indigenous, a handcrafted gallery features 100 per cent American fine craft and jewelry by 175 local and regional artists, including many Kentucky Crafted artist. A “clay throw-down,” artist demonstrations, fundraisers and other artful events are all happening for the celebration this week.

ACW_2014_Banner_ copy

American Craft Week, produced by Craft Retailers and Artists for Tomorrow (CRAFT) is an opportunity to celebrate the wonders of American craft. Every day thousands of American artists share their vision and talent by producing amazing handmade decorative and functional objects. And every day thousands of craft retailers share their love of these items by displaying, promoting and selling them. As one craft artist put it, “this is the creative economy!”

American Craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces. It contributes to our nation’s economy, our balance of trade and the fabric of our national history. It is original, beautiful and enduring, so let’s tell the world!

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , , ,

Give the gift of performance

The calendar couldn’t do it, but the snow last week has finally moved me into a state of elation over the possibility that Christmas will be here soon — Hooray! I’ll be watching my TV listings for Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, How the Grinch Stole Christmas (animated version, of course), and my must-see, A Charlie Brown Christmas — it wasn’t such a bad little tree. And with the notes of those familiar theme songs, I have to admit that it’s time to do some shopping.

I love my family and friends, but we often don’t share the same taste and I anguish for weeks and months about what to get “Aunt So-And-So” or “Cousin What’sHisName.” No way I’m buying anyone a tie or a fruit cake. And Sue, my BFF in fourth grade, put the fear of god in me as far as paper dolls as an appropriate Christmas gift. (Does anyone still make paper dolls?) Even toy shopping is stressful.

Some experts say to give gifts that you like. That certainly makes it easier. And how about gifts that you like and your family and friends will love? Of course — gifts that keep giving, music and dance! One of my very favorite things in the world is live performance and the next best thing is a recorded performance. Tickets to shows or CDs and DVDs make excellent gifts for anyone, anywhere, anytime! If I’m on your Christmas list, I’ll take two of each.

The Kentucky Arts Council has put together a listing of live performances by some of the performers in its Performing Arts Directory. All Performing Arts Directory artists go through a rigorous panel process in order to be included in the directory and you can rest assured these artists are among the very best. I began doing my Snoopy dance as soon as I saw the range of live performances available this season. From classics like Lexington Children’s Theatre’s The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and Lexington Ballet Company’s The Nutcracker to the enchanting Yule Y’all, a Celtic celebration with Keltricity and the Chattering Magpies and the Louisville Orchestra’s Christmas Spectacular. And that just scratches the surface. With all the exciting performances on the list, your Christmas shopping can be done in a heartbeat and you can sit back and enjoy the show along with the applause from all your delighted friends. Ticket prices are excellent–some are even free. Have a look at the listing and take your favorite people out to enjoy a live performance, or two, or three!

Image

Heath and Molly’s three CD holiday gift pack, a perennial favorite.

If you can’t get everyone together to go to the show, have a look at our listing of Performing Arts Directory artists CDs and DVDs. Each has been recently released and will provide hours of entertainment value to the lucky so-and-so who gets them. From Latin-mountain fusion artists’ Appalatin to rock-and-rooters Heath and Molly, the Lexington Ballet Company to the Louisville Chorus, gypsy jazz by Stirfry Musette to Lexington Vintage Dance–oh my, so much to enjoy! And there’s still more — cowgirl fun by Raison D’Etre, folk music by LaMay & Reese, good ol’ country music by Dale Pyatt and the Chickengrease Band and wait, we aren’t done yet…There’s too much to capture in one short blog post. With so much music and dance to choose from, every Who in Who-ville will be thrilled and even the Grinch will rejoice!

Tamara Coffey, individual artists director

Categories: Performing Arts | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Holiday shopping in My Town, Kentucky, USA

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and good ‘ol Saint Nick is starting to take notice of who is being naughty and who is being nice.

One way of being really nice would be to pick up some “unforgettably you,” smile-making stocking stuffers or a few heart-warming presents you could only feel good about putting under the tree.

Imagine its Christmas Day.

It’s Christmas Day; as you stand there in the living room, seeing the tree sparkling, decorated and aglow. The lights are just right; you hear the music, soft and low, swaying in the background, reminding you of what life’s really all about — family, and love, and sharing and thankfulness.

Then you hear a name being called, pulling you back, ever so gently, into the Christmas picture. It’s the name of your loved one being called, the one for whom you bought a present. Your loved one moves close to the tree, hands out, heart open.

Flashing back to a few weeks ago, you thought about buying an online gift from one of those way-to-famous, get-it-all-here, one-stop shops (it fits all sizes, anyway) places. Then, briefly, only briefly, before you were overcome with feelings you couldn’t stand, you thought about just adding one of those pre-paid gift cards to your purchase at the grocery store. But, you didn’t want to be that person, the person who gave that gift.

And now that the present is opened, the smiles so bright — it would be absurd to ask (how could anyone not know), as so many have, and will ask again — “do you like it?” Really?

You shopped local this time, taking a path that made all the difference.

You did your shopping in Hometown, Kentucky, USA.

With all the promise of so much joy, for so many people, why wouldn’t everyone shop locally?

There are only two answers: Time and money. Right?

And when we get right down to brass tacks, it’s just money. If you are like most, chances are you think it’s just more expensive to buy locally. And maybe it is, but not always. I’m constantly amazed at what great deals I can get at local shops.

But, even if it were always more expensive, would it be worth a spending a couple of extra bucks for that Kodak moment? How much is a Hallmark Christmas worth? Is it priceless?

I don’t know. I’m not a rich guy, myself, but I’d pay a lot to see my wife smile on Christmas morning, because I bought her a Kentucky crafted present. It’s like one of my dear friends here at the Arts Council explained to me, “I don’t have the finances to only shop locally, but I do all that I can.” That makes sense.

The number one reason to shop locally is because it will make your loved ones happy, on Christmas day and throughout the year.

Many of those gifts, bought from mega corporations whose names begin with A to W on down the line to Z, have a shelf life somewhere between a couple days, a week, or perhaps a month, at most. Then, it’s off to the next shiny toy — at least that is my experience with a lot of the gifts I get.

It’s the rare ones: a precious work of art, a moving piece of music recorded by a regional band, furniture, food, drink or other gifts of joy, which I treasure throughout the year. What would you treasure, I wonder, that can only be got locally?

Shop local; there are other good reasons. Shopping locally supports the community, keeps money in your hometown, goes to pay wages of our neighbors and artisans (writers, crafters, painters, musicians, and many other wonderful people we could not live without) who work in our community.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The shop local gifts are sure to be unique, showing just how much you love someone. The crowds are smaller, the shop keepers and other shoppers are by far and away, much friendlier.

Another thing I know that doesn’t occur to us too much: shop keepers are people too.

If you didn’t think shop keepers are people too, you’re not to blame. It’s hard to think of those companies as people, because they’re not. But local shop owners are people, who often struggle to make a living, in a world gone corporate and online, schlepping stuff made somewhere far away.

This Christmas you can bless your loved ones and yourself by buying a My Hometown, Kentucky gift. Your purchase will also bless your local shop owner. Think of buying your hometown gift as your little present to those who do so much to make your community the wonderful, livable place it is.

Buying locally means buying two gifts (one for your loved one and one for the shop owner). You can’t beat a “buy one, get one” deal in terms of value.

Categories: Arts Advocacy | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Blog at WordPress.com. The Adventure Journal Theme.

%d bloggers like this: