Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Maple Creek Artisans

My Mom and I spent part of our Sunday here, at the Artisan Center at Maple Creek, in southern Clermont County.

The owner has a business building log homes. This log house serves as his model home/advertisement, and each room is filled with crafts appropriate to the space, such as quilts, wooden furniture, and so forth. Many, but not all, of the items are made locally. Some come from Berea, KY, from Tennessee and other Appalachian areas of the country or even farther, but everything is made in the USA - no foreign imports.

Now, classes
in many fields are being held in the basement. This weekend, the Artisan Center held an Appalachian weekend festival, and several of the artists and crafters were demonstrating their work.

I was drawn to the blacksmith's forge, which he kept hot by turning this crank, bringing more air in from below and causing the coal fire to leap up towards the draft from the stone chimney.

He was making metal hooks to hang from a mantel, for hanging Christmas stockings.

There were two weavers working, this woman with her smaller loom on the porch:

and this one in an upstairs room, with a much larger piece of equipment.

In the John Ruthven gallery for wildlife artists, a lady was in the process of painting the Stonelick Township covered bridge. Loyal blog readers may remember this as the bridge where I parked illegally to take photos.

Another woman was demonstrating the art of "needle felting." She had a very long, very sharp, thin, barbed needle that she poked, with frightening speed, into a small clump of wool, backed by a block of foam. Every poke entangled the fibers slightly more, and drew the wool into a clump. She would then used those felted clumps to make items. Personally, I thought they looked like hair magnets, and wouldn't be very good in a home like mine, with cats and dogs shedding all over. I wonder if you can needle-felt pet hair?

Another crafter was doing wood burning on hardshell gourds. She said she started out doing pen and ink drawings, and the details of her pieces reflected her early work.

Part of my fascination with this place is the overall decor. I would love to have granite sinks like these.

the sinks in the bathrooms

and kitchen.

The kitchen

An old stove is decorative, not functional.
The textile room, with quilts and woven rugs.

Bowls made of glass
and beeswax.
Of course, for me it was all about the pottery. These pieces came from the outdoor, wood-fired kiln.
These were decorated by removing the pots from a kiln at 1800 degrees F, then carefully touching the hot piece with a single strand of hair from a horse's tail.

And, these were just pretty.


holly-the-person said...

**sigh** I'd move in there in a heartbeat. Do you still collect pieces of pottery now that you make it yourself? Is there still a fascination with other's work?

Lisa said...

In answer to the question "can you needle-felt pet hair?" - yes.


andrew said...

This looks like it was a great time! I was wondering though, do you know where they got the granite sinks from? Those are incredible...

NCmountainwoman said...

How wonderful to see artisans using the same methods of long ago.

Yes, you can indeed felt dog hair. Our local knit shop has a woman who will spin dog hair into "wool" which can be used for knitting and felting. She loves it when I bring her bags of soft Golden Retriever hair. I'm not at all sure I want a scarf of dog hair, but the needle art might be nice.

KatDoc said...

Holly: Some day, I will have a log home. In answer to your question, I still love to look at other people's pottery, but now it is with an eye to "How did they do that?" and "Could I make that myself?" I still buy pieces, but I'm more discriminating.

Andrew: I don't know where the sinks come from, but I love them. I didn't get a photo, but that kitchen floor is stone, too. Slate, I think. I would love to have all that stone and wood in a home. Also, the faucets and handles were very neat, kind of old-fashioned looking.


Carolyn: I don't think I would want to wear a dog hair scarf either, at least, not pure dog hair. Most of my clothes are 10-15% pet hair anyway!


Dog_geek said...

What a cool place! I love the granite sinks, and the horse-hair pottery is wonderful!

(Btw - I have a friend who used to spin dog hair and knit with it. she said it made the warmest-ever sweaters, but don't dare wear them on a rainy day - wet dog smell!!)