Posts Tagged With: Kentucky Crafted

The Thanksgiving conundrum – deck the halls with menorahs?

With the advent of artificial Christmas trees, one of the Thanksgiving weekend traditions in many Kentucky homes is to decorate the Christmas tree. For those of us who celebrate Hanukkah, we can usually count on the eight-day festival of lights to start sometime later — maybe early December or maybe right in the midst of the Christmas holiday. This year, the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving, which means the first candle in the menorah will be lit after sundown the evening before. So if you happen to be looking for an exquisite Kentucky Crafted menorah, I have a few ideas for you. If you start decorating for Christmas on Thanksgiving weekend, I have more than a few Kentucky Crafted ideas for your tree. Incidentally, Christmas ornaments make lovely hostess/host gifts if you are invited to Thanksgiving dinner with friends.

Craig Kaviar Menorahs

Craig Kaviar Menorahs

These hand-forged menorahs created by Craig Kaviar can be family heirlooms for centuries. On the left is the “Curled Menorah” which is available at $245 and on the right is the “Menorah, Classic Style” at $380. They can be purchased at Kaviar Gallery in Louisville or ordered at 502-561-0377 or kaviargallery@gmail.com.

Berni North

Berni North Menorah

This elegant glass menorah will brighten up the window for every night of Hanukkah. Kentucky Crafted artist Berni North offers this menorah at $450 and carries many other glass decorative items for the holidays at HawksView Gallery and Café in Louisville. You can also blow your own glass ornament and dine at the café for a fun experience. For more details, go to www.hawksviewgalleryandcafe.com

Gavin Wilson Bells

Gavin Wilson Bells

Ring in the holidays with these charming bells made of solid hand-hammered copper. Each bell created by Kentucky Crafted artist Gavin Wilson measures approximately two inches across and comes with decorative Christmas ribbon or leather hangers. They are priced at $15 each or two for $25. For an additional cost, they can also be made with personalized lettering. To order, contact Gavin at mountainforge@windstream.net or 606-330-1657.

Dick Scheu Snowflakes

Dick Scheu Snowflakes

Each handcrafted snowflake by Kentucky Crafted artist Dick Scheu takes on a faceted jewel-like quality by the way he juxtaposes the grains of different woods. The delicately crafted snowflakes are about four inches in diameter and only one-sixteenth of an inch thick, making them lightweight and ideal for any Christmas tree. Prices range from $20 to $32. For more selection and to order, go to www.kentuckysnow.com.

Kellersberger Ornaments

Kellersberger Ornaments

These handmade metal twister ornaments come with different center designs and two tone colors. Kentucky Crafted artists Scot and Laura Kellersberger offer a wide range of colors and themes including sports, Kentucky and, of course, Christmas. Reasonably priced at $15 each you can see the full spectrum of designs at www.phoenixcreativemetal.com. To order, contact Scot or Laura at 859-866-8757 or info@phoenixcreativemetal.com.

Money Folk Art Ornaments

Money Folk Art Ornaments

If you love folk art, this is a great way to start collecting. These adorable critters by artists Lonnie and Twyla Money will brighten up any tree and be a keepsake for generations to come. Sizes vary, but most are about five inches in height and sell for $28 each. To order, contact Lonnie or Twyla at 606-843-7783 or gourdchicken@windstream.net.

Shambrola Ornaments

Shambrola Ornaments

These lovely hardwood ornaments are made by Mick Shambro with a scroll saw. Each ornament is dipped in natural mineral oil to seal the wood and bring out the color and grain of the wood. They come in two sizes and sell for $18 and $22 each. The ornaments don satin ribbons and a card to identify the type of wood and care instructions. To order, contact Mick at 859-576-2945 or shambrola@gmail.com.

Steve Scherer Ornaments

Steve Scherer Ornaments

Amazing glass sculptures within glass globes are the signature pieces of Kentucky Crafted glass artist Steve Scherer. In addition to the birds featured above, he also has a wonderful selection of ornaments depicting horses, dragons and life under the sea. The ornaments are priced at $98 each and come with a brass stand for year-round display. To order, contact Steve at 270-432-3615 or sscherer@scrtc.com.

Hobbs Goose Feather Trees

Hobbs Goose Feather Trees

Goose feather trees are an old German tradition that has been carried forth in America by Kentucky Crafted artist Joanne Hobbs. Each tree is created one feather at a time on a sturdy wire armature, making a wonderful display for your most precious ornaments. They come in antique white, burnt orange and pine green and are beautiful decorative items, even without ornaments. They are available in five sizes, from 12 to 48 inches and are priced at $52.50 to $400. To order, contact Joanne at 502-348-4257 or goosefeathertree2@yahoo.com. Ed Lawrence, arts marketing director

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

My three big questions for gallery and shop owners selling Kentucky crafts

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As we approach American Craft Week, Oct. 4 – 13, 2013, I begin to think about marketing craft in Kentucky and realize there are three groups that are important players in the industry — the artists, the retailers and the customers. Often times, there is a direct relationship between the artist and customer, but it is the craft retailer that reaches enough customers to make the industry sustainable.

I’ve interviewed three Kentucky Crafted Retailers who are most actively participating in American Craft Week with three big questions:

1. Why do you sell craft?

2. What are some of your customers’ favorite Kentucky Crafted items?

3. What does being a Kentucky Crafted Retailer mean to you?

Gift Shoppe on Main

Amy and Mike Martino promote both local and national artisans at the Gift Shoppe on Main in Brookville, Ind. Whether it is a gift for you or someone else, they offer the area’s finest selection of handcrafted American-made artisan gifts including pottery, glass, copper, art, jewelry, handbags, scarves, smocking, weaving, cedar chests, mixed media, quilting, wood, baskets, gourds, candles, soap, food, Christmas ornaments and more.

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Mike and Amy Martino

Here are their answers to my three big questions.

1. The love for the arts was passed down to us from family members who were quilters, seamstresses and musicians. To honor our heritage,  we wanted to have an outlet where we could promote the arts to the public to make them aware of the talents that are associated with finer craft making. We are also very interested in made in America and home-based businesses. Our gallery has made it possible for us to currently support more than 100 American artisans, most of which have a home-based business.

2. Customers’ favorite artisans are Nora Swanson Jewelry, Rachel Savane Jewelry, Richard Kolb Yardbirds, Luann Vermillion Wildflowers, Dan Neil Barnes Glass and Robert Ellis Woodworking.

3. Being a Kentucky Crafted Retailer gives us the ability to promote a high standard of craftsmanship that we want to offer in our gallery.

Zig Zag Gallery

Kim Megginson and her husband started out as potters and sold work at a number of craft fairs before taking over ownership of Zig Zag Gallery near Dayton, Ohio. At Zig Zag Gallery, Kim promotes the work of small studio American artists along with Pandora jewelry, StoryPeople, Naot shoes and Fair Trade items.

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Kim Megginson

Here’s what she had to say in response to the questions:

1. With our backgrounds and life experiences we have had the opportunity to know and work with many artists. These individuals and their beautifully handcrafted work have brought tremendous joy to our lives.  To be given the privilege of making a living working with these talented people is truly very special.

2. Many of our customers come in looking for local work, and having Kentucky Crafted artists certainly fills that need.  A few of their favorite artists are:

  • Dyesigns by Pamela – Customers love the beautiful color palette of her scarves.
  • Kentucky Springs –  We have sold Kyle Ellison’s salad tongs for probably 20 years! It’s the best hostess gift ever.
  • Yardbirds – They are fun, whimsical and just a little wacky…a definite great fit for ZIG ZAG
  • Terra Cottage – People love his “reading glasses.”

We always tend to gravitate to things with a little bit (or a lot) of humor.

3. While the primary focus of our gallery is the work of small studio American artists, we especially enjoy featuring regional work. Working with the Kentucky Crafted program has helped us discover more of these regional artists. I felt that becoming a Kentucky Crafted Retailer was important for a couple of reasons. I have great admiration for the support that the Kentucky Arts Council offers to Kentucky artists and hope that becoming a Kentucky Crafted Retailer helps in some small way to support this program. In addition, it creates another avenue to promote the artists working with the Kentucky Arts Council.

Completely Kentucky

Ann Wingrove, owner of Completely Kentucky in Frankfort, Ky., is proud to offer the work of more than 650 of Kentucky’s best artisans. She buys directly from small family businesses, many of whom follow generations of family traditions in their craft.

Here’s Ann’s take on the three big questions:

1. I worked as a consultant for a number of years, traveling all over the country. No matter where I was, I always looked for local art to bring back. At the same time I was also involved in downtown revitalization through the Main Street Program. I decided I should put my time and money where my mouth was and open a downtown business.  Choosing to sell only fine crafts made in Kentucky made sense.  I wanted to offer to other business travelers, locals and visitors what I looked for when I traveled — a wide selection of fine craft and locally made products. Having the Kentucky Crafted Program helped tremendously.  Kentucky has so many talented craft artists and a tradition of creativity that makes me proud every day I walk in my store.

2. That’s difficult to answer.  We offer all media and price ranges at Completely Kentucky.  I think it is essential for customers to realize the range of hand-crafted work that is available, and that not everything is expensive. That said, we do have several categories that are consistently good sellers. Pottery is always popular.  People love to have a handcrafted mug, or a special serving dish. Jewelry is also in great demand. As a jeweler once said, “You may use the same casserole dish for years, but a woman can never have too many earrings!” We have seen a growing demand for larger pieces, too. Furniture, sculpture and outdoor art are all strong categories for us. Functional wooden items, boxes, spoons and pens make great gifts.  We keep a holiday section stocked all year as many people love to buy an ornament when they travel.

3. Kentucky Crafted Retailers have deliberately chosen to support local suppliers. That means we don’t have large profit margins (like retailers that sell imported items). We can’t purchase in bulk and we often have to wait a long time for delivery. But, we also know exactly who makes the work we sell, we know where our money goes, and we get to sell wonderful, beautiful, meaningful items to our customers. We thank each customer by telling them that every purchase directly supports more than 650 Kentucky family businesses. How cool is that? I know that Completely Kentucky is supporting our local and state economy.  I know that local communities throughout the state are benefiting from the income our artists bring in. It’s a great feeling to support family businesses.

Ed Lawrence, arts marketing director

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

Rings to Riches

Although June has long passed, we’re  still thinking about weddings at the arts council. This is because we were recently forwarded a great  e-mail  from Kentucky Crafted artist Mark Needham explaining how he turned one couple’s flimsy but significant memento into an heirloom piece of art. The tale covers three years and most of the Commonwealth. It’s the story of the showy and wonderful things we do to celebrate life’s big events, but also the sweet, private things that can often mean so much more.

Greg and Shavonna met in October of 2009 at Western Kentucky University’s Leadership Assessment Center in Bowling Green. During that time, they struck up a friendship. Although they lived in different cities, they kept in touch. After many e-mails, texts and phone calls, they had their first date on Valentine’s Day of 2010. In March, Greg presented Shavonna with a vending machine ring from a Chinese buffet in Louisville. He called it his “practice proposal.” Appreciating the sentiment behind the gesture, Shavonna kept the ring. His official proposal took place in early May of 2010, with a wedding planned for August.

But Greg couldn’t wait. Shavonna visited him  in his hometown of Paducah over Father’s Day. As she was packing to leave, she received a text reading “Why don’t we just go ahead and get married today?!”  She said yes, and although she had to wear the same clothes she wore the Sunday before, she was able to carry real magnolias from her sister-in-law’s yard to the Justice of the Peace. Anyone who has ever tried to buy fresh magnolias knows that’s a fancy bouquet! Greg was concerned that he wouldn’t have a ring for her, but Shavonna saved the day by pulling out the presumed-forgotten vending machine ring. After a brief honeymoon in Mayfield, they had to return to their separate cities.

Shavonna and Greg did have a “real”ceremony in August, and were finally able to be together in the same city! The vending machine ring broke (it wasn’t built for long-term use),  and she wore her grandmother’s plain gold band instead. Greg surprised her on their first anniversary with a solitaire, although she had actually asked for a digital camera (luckily she got that, too).

Shavonna and Greg have been happily married for two years, and they have an exceptional little family. This past May they visited Paducah’s annual Lowertown Arts and Music Festival. As they browsed the artists’ booths, they found Mark Needham from Louisville.  Given the nature of his beautiful jewelry, Shavonna immediately told him about the broken vending machine ring she had kept all this time.  She commissioned a “renewed” ring to wear on her right hand.

Although this story belongs to Shavonna and Greg, we think it illustrates a great point about buying handmade items from Kentucky artists. Artists do more than create art; they are also creative thinkers with the ability to turn “old nothings” into “new somethings.” Is there a trinket or a piece of ephemera in your life that could use the artists’ touch?

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

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

A poor man’s guide to collecting art

When I first moved back to Kentucky in 1994 and took a job with the state as a craft marketing specialist, I was faced with a certain dilemma. My job was to help craftspeople market their work in regional, national and international markets. I came to meet so many fantastic artists and was exposed to some of the most beautiful artwork in the world, and I wanted to buy all of it.

I quickly learned that would not be possible. Even though I was gainfully employed, our two boys qualified for free and reduced lunches at their school. Things got better financially once my wife found employment, but the desire to buy art I could not afford didn’t leave.

I decided since there were so many beautiful things to choose from, the only way I could curb my desire was to choose one particular thing that I was most attracted to and limit myself to collecting one piece at a time. I decided on Kentucky folk art roosters. My first purchase was a rooster by Ronald Cooper, and I paid $40 dollars for it. As my colleagues and I went out recruiting craftspeople at local fairs and festivals I met many artists who created roosters, and I would buy one piece at a time. I also started buying at Kentucky Crafted: The Market. As years went on, I could afford larger pieces and have built quite a collection.  At last count I think I have 25 roosters.  I really have no idea of their value but they are precious to me. On one hand, I think they may have appreciated quite a bit. On the other, they might not be worth that much, because our boys did quite a bit of roughhousing growing up and more than one rooster fell flat on his face.

 

A Few of Ed's Roosters

A Few of Ed’s Roosters

 

As an art collector, I can proudly boast having the world’s largest collection of Kentucky folk art roosters…with broken beaks.

Most art collectors actually start before they have the means to do so. They collect because they love the work, not because they think it will be a good investment. Are there art collectors out there who would like to share their experiences with the readers of Creative Commonwealth? Are you ready to take the first step to start the collection you desire?

Ed Lawrence, communication director

Categories: Visual Arts | Tags: , , , ,

There’s only six months until Christmas!

Aside from Santa Claus, most people aren’t thinking about Christmas in July. However, my mother is the hardest person to buy Christmas gifts for in my family, so I have to start really early. She has almost everything, and she won’t wait around until Christmas to get what she doesn’t have. Two years ago, it was only a few days before Christmas, and I still hadn’t found anything for her. I had been looking all over Lexington and Louisville.  I had picked things up and put them back. I had even bought one item and returned it, deciding it was inadequate.

My final hope was at a local store that sells only Kentucky-made, handcrafted gifts. I searched frantically, and then a pearl caught my eye. It was a literal pearl on a silver necklace with an organic swirl design by Josephine Lamb Williams of Mayapple Creations. It was perfect, but because of the fine materials I just assumed I couldn’t afford it. I was ecstatic when I looked at the price tag. I also felt good about purchasing an eco-friendly, 100 percent-recycled silver product.

My mother's Mayapple Creation necklace.

My mother loved it. I liked it so much that I went back and bought a similar piece for myself. If you have someone in your life that is hard to buy for or if they have expensive taste beyond your budget, you can browse Mayapple Creations on her website or on the arts council’s Kentucky Crafted Directory.

Sarah Schmitt, arts access director

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There’s Only Six Months Until Christmas!

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