Posts Tagged With: Kentucky Crafted

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: , , , , , , , , ,

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.

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Sarah Schmitt, arts access director 

Categories: Other, Visual Arts | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Celebrating the Role of the Arts in 2014

Arts Day in Kentucky, as proclaimed by Gov. Steve Beshear, saw a huge turnout on Jan. 28 in the Capitol Rotunda in Frankfort. Artists, representatives of arts organizations, supporters of the arts, members of the Kentucky General Assembly and the general public gathered for an afternoon reception to celebrate the many facets of the arts in the Commonwealth.

Kentucky Arts Partner organizations gathered in the morning at the Capitol Annex to have photos taken with their legislators and to receive their second round of funding from the arts council.

Afternoon participants were treated to live music and artist demonstrations from performers and artists in the arts council’s Performing Arts Directory and Kentucky Crafted program.

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In addition, the arts council officially announced its undertaking of a statewide Creative Industry Study that will take place in the coming year. For more information about the study, read the arts council’s press release.

Thanks to everyone who turned out to celebrate the arts on Arts Day in Kentucky. And a big thank you to the Kentucky General Assembly and Gov. Beshear for their continued support of the arts.

Emily Moses, Communications Director

Follow up: Hannah Ensign-George, a Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft intern from Centre College included a section about the value of Arts Day in her internship summary.

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

Good food always deserves better (and sometimes bad food does too)!

This is the third in a series of posts I have written about Kentucky Crafted products for the kitchen and table.  I truly love functional pieces of art, and the vessels for your food should reflect the work and care you put into the cooking process. If you want to use paper plates, then just serve up a bunch of Hot Pockets and Cheetos. Don’t go to the trouble of brining and basting a turkey if you’re just going to serve it in disposable aluminum bakeware. Good food deserves better than to be served on trash.

You’re probably thinking, “Well, that’s mighty judgmental. Not everyone has the time and energy to whip up a seven course meal to be served on fancy artisan-made trays. I have a life, and the holidays are a busy time!”  And, you would be partially correct. Even though the holiday season starts before Halloween now, somehow actual holiday minutes and hours seem limited. I still say that’s no excuse. Even if the food you make is not worth topping with shaved truffles, you might be able to compensate with elegant Kentucky Crafted kitchen solutions.  Replace your lack of time with an abundance of class.  Great dinnerware isn’t just for the foodies. For example:

At least pour the eggnog into a pitcher instead of implying that guests should drink it straight from the carton like a teenage boy looking for a midnight snack.

Caroline Zama Pitcher

Caroline Zama Pitcher

Take the premade, store-brand dinner rolls out of the bag and toss them in a basket.

Madonna Cash Basket

Madonna Cash Basket

They don’t know it’s a bagged salad, and you prove nothing by announcing it proudly.

Jerry Hollon Cutting Board and J.D. Schall Serving Bowl

Jerry Hollon Cutting Board and J.D. Schall Serving Bowl

We know you didn’t hand press the cider this morning or even bother to mull it, but put it in a decent mug.

Amelia Stamps Mugs

Amelia Stamps Mugs

Would it hurt you to drink wine from a bottle instead of a box for this special occasion?

Yardbirds Wine Caddy

Yardbirds Wine Caddy

If the extent of your culinary repertoire is chips and dip, then you should own a chip n’ dip set.

Melvin Rowe Chip and Dip Set

Melvin Rowe Chip and Dip Set

Happy holidays, and thanks for being a good sport. I hope you don’t mind me poking a little fun. The true spirit of the season is fellowship. We should be glad we’re rushing around to spend time with friends and family; that’s the good kind of busy! When you get that text message an hour before an impromptu gathering saying, “Come on over. No big deal. Just a few friends sharing laughs,” and all you have in the house is a half-eaten bag of grapes and a partial brick of cheddar cheese — if you have the right serving option available, you can fake-gourmet your way out of the awkwardness.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

Categories: Visual 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.

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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: , , , , , , , ,

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