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Observations from the incoming poet laureate, Frederick Smock

Fred Smock

Frederick Smock
Kentucky Poet Laureate
(2017-18)

It has been my good fortune, in this life, to live as a poet. To read poetry, to write it, to teach it. And to have found long minutes in which to sit in meditation with poetry. What does this mean?

Call it the “afterglow.”

Or, the “sublime.” When Longinus used the word “sublime,” he meant all that is noble and grand, generous and affecting.

As with love, the feeling of having read a good poem induces a certain inner radiance. The poem sinks in and transforms itself from words on a page to a deep interior shift.

Yoga teachers speak of a “rootedness.” I think that is a good word for what I am trying to describe. One feels anchored to the earth in a new way.

The Harvard scholar Helen Vendler speaks of “reflection” as a proper response to poetry. And I agree with her. Quiet reflection is how I have often responded to poetry. I like the reading of poems, and I also like the states of mind in which they leave me.

Louise Gluck, in her essay “Education of the Poet,” says, “I loved those poems that seemed so small on the page but that swelled in the mind.” Poetry, then, is a lovely fever.

Every so often, I reread Basho’s poetic travelogue “Narrow Road to the Interior,” in part to be reminded of first things – friendship, awareness, the act of putting one foot in front of the other. I read Sam Hamill’s translation, from Shambhala. His version is pared down. Each little chapter reads like a prose haiku, or tanka.

And, then, to look up from the page, and to gaze out at the muscular limbs of the pear trees that  enclose my balcony – it is like taking a deep drink from a cold mountain lake. It is bracing. In the afterglow of Basho’s words, I feel at peace with the world, and a little bit moved beyond myself.

Poetry may leave us, as it did Wordsworth, amid thought “too deep for tears.” And, those just might be tears of joy!

Poetry educates the emotions, so we are freed from having to assess (drear word) or prove anything by it. The feeling that stays with us is the first important thing.

Frederick Smock
Kentucky Poet Laureate (2017-18)

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Three new artists you can meet at Kentucky Crafted: The Market – Rock Bottom Soap Co., Chad Balster Glass and Hunt’s Woodcraft

With dozens of Kentucky’s finest artists attending Kentucky Crafted: The Market, April 21-23 at the Lexington Convention Center, several will be showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market for the first time. Today, we’ll meet natural/organic beauty product makers Wes McFadden and Amy Henson, glassmaker Chad Balster and wood toy maker Ernest Hunt.

Rock Bottom Soap Co.

Who are you and where are you from?

We are a husband and wife team, Wes McFadden and Amy Henson. We are natives of London, Ky.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Henson_Amy06Amy has a background in chemistry. She studied extensively and researched for several months before beginning her soap-making program. Wes is a lifelong entrepreneur. He brings his years of business experience to help grow our soap making business.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

We hand make all of our products using food grade ingredients. Our goats are also hard at work making the milk we use for our soap and lotions. This allows us to control the quality of our product from start to finish. We use the cold process method of soap making that helps preserve nutrients in the milk.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

We were featured in a Kentucky Proud/Kroger commercial and our products are sold on the Kentucky Proud rack at Kroger throughout the state.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

We are excited to be at The Market. This will be our first year,so we are looking forward to seeing some of our current customers and meeting new ones.

Chad Balster Glass

Who are you and where are you from?

I’m Chad Balster, and I was raised in Wilmont, Minn., but now call Louisville my home.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Balster02I began working in a glass studio in 1996. It was a summer job that turned into a career. I was already studying for my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Minnesota. I apprenticed under a number of other glass artists over the years: John Olesen (Minnesota), Kenneth Von Roenn (Kentucky), and Mark Matthews (Ohio). I am primarily trained in hot blown glass techniques.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

My work is steeped in the American Studio Glass Movement ideals and aesthetics. I enjoy the liquidity and the gooeyness of such a sublime material. I endeavor to translate the experience of glass in transition as a liquid to the finished product.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

Before opening my own glass studio in 2012, I was a resident artist at Louisville Glassworks from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, I was the designer and fabricator for the first ever mobile glass blowing studio in a van, “Juicy Lucy.”. I am also the glass department head at the Ohio Valley Creative Energy sustainable arts campus in southern Indiana.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

I’m looking forward to showing my newest line of drinkware, the “Karine Cups.” They are the perfect bourbon glass, developed with Makers Mark Distillery and available in their Makers Store.

Hunt’s Woodcraft

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Ernest Hunt from Anderson County and I’m old enough to know better!

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

IMG_9448_Logskidder_14 in long_7 in wide_8.5 in tallI started woodworking in an Industrial Arts class in high school. I made the first toy for my son’s first birthday about 40 years ago.

How long have you been in the Kentucky Crafted program? When did you start?

I was in Kentucky Crafted when it started, and was selling to Kentucky state parks at that time. I continued for about 23 years until the deaths of my parents and first wife, and now I’m trying it again.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

Toys are made from plans and from some of my own creations by hand using different species of wood. I don’t use stains; the different woods create the colors with a clear finish on them.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

I’ve sold items to people from California to New York and Dallas to Chicago. I’ve even sold to some famous people through former Kentucky First Lady Phyllis George Brown.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

I hope to meet new people and I will have fun making the toys. I am probably one of the oldest kids you will find.

 

Check back on Sunday to meet three more new artists who will be exhibiting April 21-23 at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.

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Meet new Kentucky Crafted artists Gerald Price; Brian and Sara Turner; and Johnny Gordon!

With dozens of Kentucky’s finest artists attending Kentucky Crafted: The Market, April 21-23 at the Lexington Convention Center, several will be showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market for the first time. Today, we’ll meet metalworker Gerald Price, printmakers Brian and Sara Turner and glass artist Johnny Gordon.

LeGrand Metalsmithing

Gerald Price, Berea, Ky.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

I was looking for a hobby and got into metalworking because of the permanence, along with the aesthetics of the materials.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

Price03Everything is handcrafted in Berea, with a lot of my inspiration coming from nature. Each piece is created from metal sheet and wire for the forgings, or starts as wax to begin the process of making bronze castings.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

I’m most proud of getting juried into Kentucky Crafted and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

I am looking forward to talking to the other craftsmen and being able to tell visitors about the process of my work.

 

Cricket Press

Brian and Sara Turner, Lexington, Ky.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Cricket_Press06We are both self-trained printmakers. We got started designing and printing gig posters for our friends’ bands. We fell in love with the medium and soon branched out to other various event posters and art prints.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

All our work is illustrated and printed in limited editions by us, by hand.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

Cricket Press has worked as a self-sustaining business since 2005. We’ve been featured in numerous books, magazines and articles about poster art and printmaking. Cricket Press was awarded Best in Show for Printmaking at the Woodland Art Fair in 2016.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

We’re looking forward to reaching a new audience with our work both on a local level and a national one.

 

Gordon Glass Studio

Johnny Gordon, Louisville, Ky.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Gordon_Johnny05I hated selling cars and wanted to find a job where I could make things. I found a stained glass studio that took me on to cut glass for Tiffany replica lamps. Then they showed me how to put windows together and install them. In 2005, I opened my own shop and have been rolling along ever since.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

The hanging glass panels I’ve been making provide the opportunity to play with light while offering privacy, allowing you to keep the blinds open. You can hang one panel as a highlight or hang a set of panels to create a sparkling glass screen.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

In 2009, five years after founding Gordon Glass Studio, I installed a large, glass mobile in Louisville’s new Norton Brownsboro Hospital. I created my production line in 2014, and I’ve been commissioned for numerous residential and commercial art glass projects. In 2016, I was juried into the Kentucky Crafted program.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

I’m looking forward to having a chance to get out of the studio and meet people! It’s pretty easy to just hide out in the shop and make things, but I’ve always enjoyed getting the chance to introduce my work to some new folks and talk to other artists about how they work and have some fun.

 

Check back on Thursday to meet three more new artists who will be exhibiting April 21-23 at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.

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Three new artists you can meet at Kentucky Crafted: The Market – Laura Poulette, Ray Daugherty and Billy Tackett

With dozens of Kentucky’s finest artists attending Kentucky Crafted: The Market, April 21-23 at the Lexington Convention Center, there are several who are new to the Kentucky Crafted program, and who will be showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market for the first time. Today, we’ll meet fiber artist Laura Poulette, photographer Ray Daugherty and illustrator Billy Tackett.

Meet three of the new artists:

Meadow House Studio

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Laura Poulette and I’m originally from Pennsylvania. I came to Kentucky in 1996 to go to Berea College and I’ve remained in rural Kentucky since then.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Poulette_Laura06I graduated from Berea College in 2000, where I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art, Fibers. Since then I have been engaged in producing and exhibiting artwork, primarily fiber art.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

My artwork highlights the unique wildflowers and plants of Kentucky and appeals to many customers. As I’ve been selling my work at art fairs throughout the region, I’ve been delighted to find it is popular among a broad audience, including nature lovers, gardeners and other art lovers young and old.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

I have received scholarships from the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. I have also received four grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women. Throughout my artistic career I’ve shown my work at many juried exhibits throughout Kentucky. Additionally, my artwork has twice been included in Taproot magazine.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

I’ve been to Kentucky Crafted: The Market as a patron many times, and it has been a goal of mine to sell my art work there for years. I’m looking forward to having my work included among the best in the state and reaching a much wider, more diverse audience than I have to date.

 

RaysLens

Who are you and where are you from?

Ray Daugherty of Sadieville.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Ray in Slot Canyon .jpgI began a career in photography with Ed Boden Studio of Georgetown while I was attending Georgetown College. As I approached retirement I was determined to establish myself as a fine arts nature photographer and studied with some fine photographers to hone my craft.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

Have you ever seen something so wonderful it took your breath away? The world is full of beauty and wonders and I want to bring those experiences into your life so you can see them and experience them again at will. Light, shadows, color and shapes have the power to move my spirit and when that happens, I want to translate that into an image that will also move yours.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

The beauty of the world people may have never seen. I want to help people discover that photographs of nature can be more than a place or a thing, they can be an emotion, a memory, a dream. I want to share images that move people. Images they want to have on their walls to inspire them.

 

Billy Tackett Studios

Who are you and where are you from?

My name is Billy Tackett. I am a professional artist originally from eastern Kentucky. I currently live in Florence, where I have my own studio and gallery.

How did you get started in your particular discipline? What is your training?

Tackett_William01Immediately upon graduation, I opened my own sign shop and entered the commercial art world. My early love for science-fiction and horror inspired me to try oil painting.

What do you want buyers to know about your work? What makes it different?

By dipping my fingers into the paint and flicking it onto the canvas I’m able to capture my desired image without the use of brushes, giving my highly textured art a more fluid and organic quality.

Name some of your career accomplishments.

I’ve been a professional artist for more than 20 years and have been published more than 200 times on various book covers, DVD covers, and magazines, including a feature in Imagine Fx Magazine. I’ve won numerous awards for my paintings, including first place at South Shore Arts Center and first and second place during my first two years participating in the Behringer-Crawford Museum’s freshArt event.

What are you looking forward to about showing at Kentucky Crafted: The Market?

I’m really looking forward to my first year as a Kentucky Crafted Artist. It took me a few years to be accepted into the program and I feel as though I’m among the elite now. I can’t wait to network, meet new people, and learn how to grow my business within the wholesale market. It’s always exciting to meet other Kentucky artists.

 

Check back on Monday to meet three more new artists who will be exhibiting April 21-23 at Kentucky Crafted: The Market.

 

 

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Kentucky Cultural Accessibility Summit will celebrate successes, challenge us to continue to serve more diverse audiences

S.Ridgway Photo

Stacy Ridgway
Manager of Accessibility Services at the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

The Kentucky Cultural Accessibility Summit is March 30 at the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center (SKyPAC) in Bowling Green. One of the speakers scheduled to present at the summit is Stacy Ridgway, manager of accessibility services at Louisville’s Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts. The Kentucky Center has been a model for accessibility to a diverse audience. Ridgway took a few moments to discuss the Kentucky Center’s accessibility initiatives and the importance of attending the upcoming summit in Bowling Green.

Q: How has the Kentucky Center’s approach to access helped build your audience?

A: Our commitment started a long time ago. We began providing audio description in 1994, captioning in 1997 and as a result of that we have an ongoing dialogue with the community. The Kentucky Center has seen an increase in patrons using access services every single year since we began tracking those needs in 1994. Not only do we develop this audience for our venues and resident companies but we provide services to other arts organizations in our community.

As a result, individuals with disabilities know they have a variety of options when it comes to attending the theater and they take advantage of it. So, not only are we developing the audience for the Kentucky Center, that audience is also attending shows at Actors Theater of Louisville and the Kentucky Shakespeare Festival.

We have worked with the Muhammad Ali Center, the Speed Museum and other visual arts organizations to help them develop that audience. Once patrons know they have these options they will attend. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it will happen.

Q: What would you say to other venues who may struggle at making the investment in access?

A: The Americans with Disabilities Act has been in effect for 26 years. Still, people with disabilities in many communities do not have the access they need to quality arts experiences. Why should arts venues make this investment? The better question is why wouldn’t they? I have four very good reasons: it’s the law; it’s the right thing to do; it’s an audience development tool; and finally as the baby boomers are beginning to reach ages where they have accessibility needs their expectations for that access is going to be high.

Speaking as a person with a hearing disability I can say that, as a child, I saw theater and took trips to museums and I never had the access I needed to fully participate. When I would go back to my classroom and take a test on the play or a follow up assignment on the museum tour, I stood no chance of doing well. That is a perfect indicator of the need to understand the value of making an investment in accessibility. It is an investment in the community.

Q: Who should attend the summit and why?

A: Visual and performing arts administrators for ideas and steps towards making your organization more accessible to the disability community and a better understanding of the ADA; artists, especially those that work in educational settings, for ways to plan how all students regardless of ability can participate; special education teachers for information on how to include arts programming and for ways to secure artists with the best training to educating students of all abilities; disability service agencies for information on how to how to reach out to your local arts agencies to request what those you serve need in order to participate in arts programming; parents of students with disabilities, to become more effective at advocating for arts experiences on behalf of their child in the educational and community setting; artists with disabilities for networking and to meet other like minded professionals.

For more information on the Kentucky Cultural Accessibility Summit, contact Sarah Schmitt, arts council community arts and access director, at sarah.schmitt@ky.gov or 502-892-3116.

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