Whenever my wife and I visit family up north we always stop in the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, Kentucky. It’s right off I75, so a very easy stop. They always have a special exhibit of Kentucky artists, but this time I was particularly taken with the show. It was called Put a Lid on It: Containers by Kentucky Artisans. It is a wonderful combination of containers made of many different materials. I had a real affiliation for these forms since I make containers fairly often.
This piece by Robert Bagley is of Cuban mahogany. While it was started on the lathe, most of the work was off-lathe carving.
I love this next piece, both because of the shape and the intricate lid, but also the beautiful dark redwood burl just full of character. Jack Fifield did this beautiful hollowform.
Jack Fifield and his wife Linda also do collaborations. I have seen this next piece in some of the woodturning magazines and always felt the juxtaposition of woodturning and glass beads. Jack turns the form and Linda covers the form with stitched beadwork.
Linda stitches her Czech beads one at a time to create the colorful “skin” over the wooden form.
This piece is called “Blue Ocean” and Robin Costelle created it from a maple burl which was then dyed to give the deep, rich color. Dyed burls can be so interesting because the varying densities of the burl absorbs dye at a different rate, giving a very dynamic feel to the color. African blackwood was used for the delicate finial and foot.
Of course, not everything was wood. There were great examples of pottery and basketry in the exhibit as well.
It is easy to see from some of the pieces in the foreground and some on the shelves behind that there are great similarities in the forms used for both pottery and woodturning.. However, it’s also to see that material like pottery can allow you some “extra” creativity in form and design over traditional woodturning. However, with the increased interest in embellished and carved woodturning, the two disciplines are getting closer together again.
However, there was still more woodturning to check out, like this piece from Richard Adams. He used four different woods and hand chased the threaded lid and insert. I particularly like the Native American motif of the simulated basket work.
I always like to visit the Kentucky Artisan Center, especially during the holiday. Not only do I like the exhibits, but many of the other handmade crafts sold there give me inspiration for some things I can do.