Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
Woodworker Jerry Cooper to Carve Celtic Wooden Jewelry on March 31 - at Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea
On Saturday, March 31, woodworker Jerry Cooper, of Berea, will demonstrate how he carves from walnut his unique Celtic jewelry from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea. (This demonstration replaces a cancelled cornshuck flower demonstration on this date by Darlene Hellard.)
A native of Niagara Falls, New York, Cooper has been working with wood for more than 33 years. He served as a minister in four states before moving to Berea in 1985, where he and his wife, the late Joyce Cooper, ran The Cooper Shop in Old Town, Berea, for 14 years. Cooper, a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen as well as the Southern Highland Craft Guild, is also adept as a wood turner. He creates turned wooden bowls, decorative Ikebana containers and numerous items for the desk and office from cherry, walnut and other hardwoods.
Cooper’s background as a minister has led him to create commissioned works for churches, utilizing his low relief carving skills to make intricately carved crosses for church chancels and pulpits. He became interested in Celtic imagery after traveling to Ireland and Scotland. There he visited sites where stone crosses served as markers and gravestones in cemeteries.
A Celtic cross is a symbol combining the image of a cross with a ring that surrounds its intersection. It is the characteristic symbol of Celtic Christianity, though the symbol has much older, pre-Christian origins. In Celtic regions such as Ireland, Great Britain, the border areas of Scotland, Wales and the Hebrides, many free-standing upright crosses – or high crosses – were erected beginning as early as the seventh Century. Some of these bear inscriptions in runes or have patterns and imagery such as knots. Cooper was inspired by these ancient symbols and began carving low-relief Celtic images into walnut to create intricate wooden jewelry. Besides Celtic crosses, he also carves Celtic knots, doves, the Star of David, the earliest cross called the Ankh, treble clefts and other symbols.
Works by Jerry Cooper are regularly found at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, 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. and the café is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free. The center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from 100 counties across the Commonwealth and a special exhibit through Aug. 26, “About Face: Kentucky Artisan Works Inspired by the Human Face." 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 Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.