Exhibits and Festivals

September - October 2011: Kentucky Basketry - Weaving The Past With The Present

Basket collections courtesy of Dr. Jim Middleton, Munfordville, KY and Scott Gilbert and Beth Hester, Scottsville, KY. Informational display courtesy of Kentucky Heritage Society Folklife Program. Special thanks to Mary Margaret Villines.

The Gallery On The Square located in Franklin, KY is a non-profit organization which was purchased in 1992 with contributions and membership funds from the community. It is operated by the Simpson County Guild Of Artists and Craftsmen.


Baskets from Home
White Oak Baskets of South Central Kentucky

Baskets from Home is an exhibit of white oak baskets made right here in South Central Kentucky. The exhibit focuses on the history of traditional basketmaking and folklife in Kentucky and shows how the baskets have changed over the years from utilitarian to decorative art.

Who makes white oak baskets?
All of the baskets included in the exhibit have been handcrafted by members of The Mammoth Cave Basket Guild. This organization is headquartered in Munfordville, Hart County, Kentucky.

What is a white oak basket?
In central Kentucky, baskets have always been made from the natural materials that are most idely available in the local area. Those materials most suitable for making baskets in this part of entucky are the thin, hand rived splits of the white oak tree, as well as some other vines and shoots, such as honeysuckle and willow.

When and where were white oak baskets made?
The traditional art of creating white oak baskets has a handmade history here in Kentucky. For more than one hundred years, artists in South Central Kentucky have been making baskets and passing the tradition on to the next generation.

How is a white oak basket made?
The process used to create a basket out of a white oak tree is shown from chopping down the tree, to weaving the splits, to the final product of a oneof-a-kind basket. A short film explaining the steps of the basketmaking process is included in the exhibit.

Mammoth Cave Basket Guild
PO Box 579
Munfordville, KY 42765
www.mammothcavebasketmakers.com

Kentucky Library and Museum
Western Kentucky University
1906 College Heights Blvd.
Bowling Green, KY 42101

April 29 — August 13, 2006

CONTACT: Drue Belcher 270.745.5295
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
Western Kentucky University
FUNDED BY: Provost's Initiatives for Excellence
Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology
Kentucky Library and Museum

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Baskets L to R: Fan Basket - Childress, Mini Ky Egg Basket - Hester, 1 1/2 Peck Egg Basket - Childress
GH Productions, The Basketmaker's Catalog, is proud to announce the inclusion of Beth Hester (apprentice) and Lestel Childress (master white oak basketmaker) in Living Traditions, an exhibit that is touring the Southeastern Untied States. Date and Locations are listed at the end of this article. We hope you'll have an opportunity to view the exhibit.
Living Traditions is a celebration of traditional Southern art--one that explores continuing family and community traditions. While all of the master artists featured in Living Traditions actively pursue their various art forms, perhaps their greatest contributions lie in the mentoring process they share with apprentices, researchers, and festival, school, and community audiences. Without the passing of experience, process, and knowledge, many of these traditional arts would be endangered or even extinct.

Lestel Chlidress and Joyce Lantz

Lestel Childress (master artist) with proud new basket owner Joyce Lantz

Beth Hester

Beth Hester (from GH Productions, The Basketmaker's Catalog) - apprentice to Lestel Childress

The Living Traditions master artists were chosen for this exhibit because of their contributions to the field of traditional arts and their commitment to the continuation and evolution of their art forms. All of the master artists either apprenticed with or were strongly influenced by older artists. They have been recognized through their individual state art apprenticeship programs, state heritage awards, or the National Heritage Fellowships, our nation's highest recognition for traditional artists, given by the National Endowment for the Arts.
While not all of the Living Traditions have apprentices, most currently are instructing apprentices. Many of the apprentices have worked with master artists as part of a state-sponsored program, while others have sought the expertise and guidance of master artists on their own accord. The artwork of several apprentices is represented in the exhibit.
The exhibit features brief biographical sketches of the master artists and samples of their work. Much of the research used to develop and present this exhibit was drawn from numerous hours of interviews, fieldnotes, and publications from the state folklife programs of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Many of the master artists and apprentices shared their experiences, stories, and art to make this project possible. The value of their contributions is immeasurable.
Join us as we honor some of the South's most significant traditional arts--the individuals who bring these art forms to life, the next generation who ensure their survival, and the determined dedication that guarantees these Living Traditions.

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Information about Ollie and Lestel Childress and Beth Hester. Taken from panel at the exhibit. (click on image for a larger view)

Dates and Locations for the Living Traditions exhibitions.
August-September 2001
Marion County Historical Society and Museum, Columbia, MS
September-November 2001
Spartanburg Public Library, Spartanburg, SC
December 2001
Georgia's Antebellum Capitol Museum, Milledgeville, Ga
January-February 2002
Cave City Convention Center, Cave City, KY
February-March 2002
Murfreesboro Performing Arts Center, Murfreesboro, TN
April-June 2002
Black Heritage Gallery, Lake Charles, LA
Living Traditions is brought to you by:
Southern Arts Federation
1401 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
404-874-7244
www.southarts.org
 

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