The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea will kick off the KY Guild Spring Fair weekend on May 21, with musician Carla Van Hoose singing and performing, Robin Reed creating Bark Baskets and Black Hawk Gourmet Sauces offering a tasting - all from 10:30 - 3:30 at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. On Sunday, May 22, Ruth Hunt Candies will offer a tasting of their cream pulled candy, bourbon balls and sugar free candies from 11:00 - 2:00 at the Artisan Center.
Musician Carla Van Hoose grew up amongst a family of Scottish storytellers in St. Joseph Missouri. Her family was thoroughly musical and her grandmother was said to have “the loveliest voice in all Buchanan County, MO.” Carla’s Aunt Mac – Miss Francis Marie McPherson Stewart, composed, performed and taught music at Eastern Kentucky University for 27 years.
Carla began singing as a very young child and came to Kentucky in 1966 to attend Eastern Kentucky University where her Aunt Mac was a professor of music. Carla studied English, receiving her BA from Eastern, and then earned a MSW degree which she utilizes in her current occupation as a private practice social worker. Carla plays a blend of many types of American music – dipping into the repertoire of Folk music, Blues, Bluegrass and occasionally a bit of Rock and Roll. She is drawn to music that conveys feeling, with the lyrics and music weaving together a story or tale. Her recordings “Old Times and Memories” and her newest release, “Kentucky Home” which features Kentucky songs and themes, are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
Demonstrating at the Center will be Robin Reed of Irvine, will creates baskets from poplar bark. The making of bark baskets goes back for over 300 years and Robin Reed gives voice to this old tradition. Bark is the outermost covering of a tree and is a versatile natural material that for thousands of years has been used to make huts and houses, baskets and buckets, canoes and boats. Robin Reed is one of Kentucky’s numerous artisans who utilize bark from trees to create works of utility and beauty.
Robin Reed makes bark baskets from the willow and poplar trees that grow along the banks of the Kentucky River and its tributaries in Estill and Lee Counties near his rural home. Poplar, and willow tree barks are used because the amount of sap in these trees is great and the presence of sap or moisture is necessary in order for the bark to be separated from the inner wood.
The process involves cutting a tree with a chain saw, removing the limbs and a cutting through the bark down the length of the tree. A hatchet is used to pry and pull the bark off the tree in one long roll. This is done when the sap is up in the tree, which allows the bark to be separated from the inner wood. The bark is supple and easily shaped if used while moist. A draw knife separates the inner and outer bark layers. The inner bark is then soaked in water, cut into strips and prepared for weaving. The larger sections of bark are cut into different widths and lengths using a template or pattern, soaked in water to soften, then folded into a basket. The basket forms are then stitched together using strips of inner bark. Each basket is signed and dated, ready for garden and decorating use. Robin Reed’s bark baskets are regularly found at the Kentucky Artisan Center.
On Saturday, May 21, Black Hawk Gourmet Sauces of Williamsburg, will offer to visitors a tasting of their Golden Blend Appalachian Style Marinade and Dipping Sauces from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. Blackhawk Gourmet Sauces can be used as a grilling marinade, as a salad dressing, or as a dipping sauce and are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
On Sunday, May 22, Ruth Hunt Candy of Mt. Sterling will offer a candy tasting from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. Ruth Hunt has been producing fine candy since 1921 and will be offering several different candies, including Ruth Hunt’s well known Bourbon Balls, their Cream Pulled candy and a selection of their sugar free candies for their candy tasting at the Center. Using only the finest of ingredients, Ruth Hunt makes a wide variety of chocolates, pulled candy, caramels as well as their well known Blue Monday candy bars. Ruth Hunt Candy is regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.
The Kentucky Artisan Center is located 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 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. The Center currently features works by more than 620 artisans from all across the Commonwealth. For more information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Commerce Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.