Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Earth Day Celebrated with Broom Demonstration by Berea College Student Amber Rascoe
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, as part of a statewide Earth Day effort, will celebrate Earth Day with a broom making demonstration by Berea College Student Amber Rascoe of Evansville, Indiana.
Berea College brooms are all made from broom corn. Broom corn is a member of the same family of grasses such as corn, sorghum cane, sugar cane, millet, and shatter cane. It looks just like the corn in your garden – a series of knuckles and leaves growing from a center stalk – with the exception that it does not grow an ear of corn. Broom corn is grown for the tassle that grows on the top of the plant. It is a real close relative to sorghum cane which is raised for making molasses. The tassle on broomcorn is long and strong and when dried can be used to make brooms.
Amber Rascoe, who will be demonstrating on Earth Day, has worked in broomcraft for a year and is a Berea College sophomore. She is adept in the techniques required to make the wide variety of brooms the college produces. Amber has learned every step in the process, from shredding the broomcorn to the final broom stitching. Braiding is one of the final steps to the finished product, requiring dexterity, practice and skill.
Berea College has been the home of a century-long tradition of preserving and creating Appalachian folk arts and crafts. The College Student Crafts Program is one of many labor departments and learning environments in which Berea College students work as part of their liberal arts education. Broomcraft has been a part of the Berea College Student Craft Program since 1920 when equipment from a broom factory was given to the college.
Berea College brooms and many other crafts celebrating natural or recycled materials can regularly be found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located just off Interstate 75 at exit 77 (Berea). The Center’s exhibits, shopping, restaurant and travel information areas are all open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and admission is free. For information call 859-985-5448 or visit the Center’s web site at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov
Kentuckians will join others across the world in celebrating Earth Day on Saturday, April 22. Spearheaded by the Environmental and Public Protection Cabinet, a number of state agencies, local governments, businesses and organizations have joined together to celebrate Earth Day in the Commonwealth. Some of these partners have organized environmental activities throughout the month of April while others are providing information and resources on protecting Kentucky’s environment.
This is the third year in a row for a month-long, organized campaign in celebration of Earth Day. Among activities planned are hikes, special events, college campus programs, environmental award presentations and demonstrations of new, environmentally friendly technology. Visit the state Earth Day Web site at www.earthday.ky.gov to learn more about Kentucky’s Earth Day celebrations.
The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Commerce Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.