Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Joanne Hobbs Creates Goose Feather Christmas Trees at Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, November 25, 2008  
Contact Information:  Gwen Heffner
Information Specialist, Curator
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Phone: 859/ 985-5448
Fax: 859/ 985-5449

On Saturday, November 29 Joanne Hobbs of Bardstown, will create goose feather Christmas trees from 10:30 am – 3:30 pm at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Joanne Hobbs had always wanted to have a goose feather tree, but found that she couldn’t afford one. When she did find them, new ones were costly and old ones were tattered and worn out. Goose feather Holiday trees originated in Germany in the mid 1800’s when Germany’s forests were rapidly disappearing. Goose feathers were plentiful and these trees began to be made as the alternative to cutting a live tree, thus becoming the first artificial Christmas tree. After looking at many pictures of goose feather trees under a magnifying glass, and through trial and error, Joanne taught herself how these trees were made. In 1990, Joanne began her career making goose feather Christmas trees and helped to revive a nearly lost art.

The process Joanne uses is very labor intensive, from cutting the feathers off the quill, to washing, dying, drying and attaching them to wire and then the branches of the constructed tree. A typical 19” goose feather tree uses the wing and tail feathers shed from six geese. Joanne creates bases for these wonderful traditional trees from antique toy A-B-C blocks or hand painted wood. Her goose feather trees have been featured in Santa Fe Opera productions of German operettas, at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Arts, at the Moravian Museum in PA, in Whitehall Mansion, Richmond, KY, and in many historic homes all over the country. Joanne has even shipped her trees to Germany! She has sold her trees through the KY Craft Marketing Program since 1987, and they have been at Bloomingdales and featured in Early American Life magazine. Joanne Hobbs’ unique goose feather Christmas trees can be found year round - decking the halls of the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Goose Feather Christmas trees by Joanne Hobbs are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 975 Walnut Meadow Road, just off Interstate 75 at exit 77 (Berea). The Center’s exhibits, shopping, and travel information areas are all open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the café from 8 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from 100 counties across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Kentucky Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet.


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Joanne Hobbs of Bardstown creates Christmas Trees from Goose feathers at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea


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Joanne Hobbs uses goose feathers to make a Christmas tree like those originally made in Germany