Works by two well-known Kentucky artists will be on display through September in one of the most highly visible areas of the World Expo in Japan.
Craig Kaviar, a blacksmith from Louisville, is providing a two-light candlestick and multiple candlesticks for a dining-table setting. Jack Fifield, a woodturner from McKee in Jackson County, is providing a turned, natural-edge cherry bowl. Both artists are juried members of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program.
Their work is being featured in the Franklin Room, a VIP suite designed to host world leaders, dignitaries, business executives and others visiting World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. The Franklin Room, named after statesman, diplomat, entrepreneur and innovator Benjamin Franklin, overlooks the floor of the U.S. Pavilion.
The Expo opened March 25 and will run through Sept. 25, with more than 15 million visitors expected to tour exhibits and pavilions featuring more than 120 countries. The overall theme is “Nature’s Wisdom.” The U.S. Pavilion’s theme is “The Franklin Spirit,” celebrating nature, progress and human achievement, particularly through American culture, values and technological achievements. The U.S. Pavilion is one of the premier attractions within the Expo.
“Kaviar and Fifield are among some of Kentucky’s most gifted and accomplished artisans and this is an excellent opportunity to provide international recognition for Kentucky’s craft industry. We hope it will result in additional opportunities for these two artists and attract visitors to the state who will be interested in the state’s other talented artisans,” said Fran Redmon, Director of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program. The program helped the Kentucky artists’ work find its way to the Expo.
Kaviar, who creates indoor and outdoor sculpture, architectural metalwork, furniture and more, opened his own gallery last year in Louisville. His work has been featured on HGTV’s “Modern Masters” program. On May 5 the Galt House Hotel & Suites will unveil “Gallop to Glory,” a Kaviar-designed tribute to jockeys who have won the Kentucky Derby.
“I have spent over 30 years sculpting and forging hot metal. It has truly been a labor of love. While it has not always been easy, I have never been bored,” he says. Rather than explain his work, he says, “I try to let my images speak for themselves.”
A dentist by profession, Fifield expresses his artistic side creating delicate bowls, vases and other works that have been exhibited all over the United States. “Most of my work is turned in its green, or wet, state initially,” he says. He tries to turn a block of wood down to its final form in one session at the lathe. It’s a technique that “suits my immediate-gratification type personality,” he says.
The Craft Marketing Program, a division of the Kentucky Arts Council in the Commerce Cabinet, provided assistance to the Franklin Room designer, Thom Filica Inc. (TFI), of New York, NY. Images of craft objects from “Kentucky Crafted” juried participants were submitted based on the specific needs expressed by the designer. TFI chose Kaviar and Fifield to be included in the Franklin Room.
An additional highlight of the project includes a 35-page “coffee-table" book focusing on the individual design elements comprising the suite. It will be accessible to all of the suite's high profile visitors and includes photographs of all of the items in the suite accompanied by information about their origin and the vendors who supplied them.
To further promote Kentucky-made crafts, an online artisan catalog is featured on a customized website created for visitors of the World Expo. The site www.visitkentuckyusa.com is accessible in both English and Japanese and will be available throughout the duration of the Expo.
Kentucky will be the featured state in the U.S. Pavilion during the week of May 16-22. On Wednesday, May 18, Governor Ernie Fletcher and Tourism Commissioner Randy Fiveash will host approximately 200 key Japanese travel professionals. Kentucky is among 18 states that will be promoting themselves as a travel destination to the estimated 1.75 million visitors to the U.S. Pavilion. Guests will also view a specially produced video that showcases Kentucky’s appeal as a destination for residents of Japan.
The Kentucky Craft Marketing Program is a division of the Kentucky Arts Council, Commerce Cabinet, Commonwealth of Kentucky. For more information, call 888 KY CRAFT (592-7238); or visit the Program's site at www.kycraft.ky.gov.
Since 1981, the Craft Marketing Program's mission is to develop the state's craft industry, support and empower Kentucky artisans and craftspeople, create an economically viable environment for craft entrepreneurs, preserve the state's craft traditions, stimulate and support product development, and generate public awareness, public support and public/private partnerships.
The Program provides assistance to Kentucky residents, individuals, or groups wanting to develop as craft professionals through economic opportunities and training, to other outside entities (e.g., craft retailers, craft and art organizations, community and government agencies), and the general public. The craft industry in Kentucky contributes $252 million in annual sales and Kentucky is recognized as a model state for its craft programs and its role in the $14 billion national craft industry.