Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Enjoy the Holidays with the Arts Dec. 12 at Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, December 08, 2015  
Contact Information:  Gwen Heffner
Information Specialist
Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
859/ 985-5448, Ext. 230

On Saturday, Dec. 12, visitors to the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will enjoy a variety of events with Christa Smith demonstrating her Bavarian wax ornaments, the musical trio Raison D’Etre performing holiday musical favorites with voices, guitar, piano and percussion, and free guided gallery tours given through the center’s current exhibits.

On Dec. 12, Christa Smith of Elizabethtown will demonstrate traditional Bavarian molded wax ornaments from 10:30 – 3:30 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Christa Smith was born in Germany and moved to America over 35 years ago. Once in this country, she became fascinated with the cultural contributions German immigrants had made to this country. She began researching traditional German crafted items that she knew about and eventually began creating her own beeswax ornaments, painting them for extra effect and using cookie molds and old gingerbread molds she had collected.


Photos, left to right: Freshly made wax ornaments with molds; finished painted wax ornaments by Christa Smith

The art of molding and carving beeswax into holiday ornaments is an old German tradition that was practiced for many generations dating back to the sixteenth century. German immigrants to the United States brought this tradition to Eastern Pennsylvania in the late seventeenth century. Colonial women gathered honey from the wild beehives in the surrounding woods which they used for cooking and turned the leftover beeswax into ornaments.

Also Dec. 12, visitors throughout the center can enjoy live music performed by the musical trio Raison D’Etre, playing holiday favorites from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Raison D'Etre features Violet Rae Webster, Roberta Schultz, and Vickie Ellis, a trio of versatile musicians who put their fine vocal harmonies to good use in everything from Shaker hymns to holiday favorites. With varied backgrounds in musical theater, classical piano, radio, theater and folk instruments, the group combines their talents into a unique mix. As singers and musicians they also play piano, drums, guitar and banjo to accompany their singing with fresh rhythms.

  The musical trio Raison D'Etre

Raison D’Etre has appeared at key venues including the Singletary Center for the Arts in Lexington, Leeds Center for the Arts in Winchester and the Kentucky Center for the Arts in Louisville.

Visitors that day can also enjoy free guided tours through the center’s gallery exhibit, “It Takes Two: Collaborations by Kentucky Artisans” at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. This exhibit showcases works by 66 Kentucky artisans who have paired up to create an array of 33 collaborative works that are most unique.

These free, guided exhibit tours will be led by Kentucky Artisan Center information specialist Gwen Heffner, who will talk about the exhibit, artists and individual works. Heffner will answer questions about the techniques and various processes used in the objects featured.

Wax ornaments by Smith, and music by Raison D’Etre are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea, Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the cafe open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. The center’s lobby showcases an 18-foot Christmas tree with beautiful handmade ornaments by Kentucky artisans. For more information about events call 859-985-5448, go to the center’s website at, or on Facebook at

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