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Henry County artists

Cook's Pharmacy displays local talents

By Helen McKinney
Contributing Writer

EMINENCE, Ky. (January 2004) – According to local crafter Bruce Nethery, he creates “a little bit of everything.” Nethery teams with wife, Karen, to run B&K Cabin Crafts from their home on the Henry-Oldham County line.
Although most of the couple’s wooden products contain a seasonal theme, they also create items that are appropriate for gift-giving any time of the year. Bruce’s benches and furniture, and Karen’s Old World Santa’s are eye-catching in their detail and craftsmanship.

Bruce Nethery display

Photo by Helen McKinney

A sample of
Bruce Nethery's handiwork.

Bruce is skilled in woodworking and lathe turning, a hobby in which he would like to become more involved. He hails from a family familiar with this art form. “My dad and brother had always woodworked,” he said.
His brother came into possession of their father’s tools, and these were eventually passed on to Bruce. When he married Karen, they decided to build a log home. Within 18 months, he had built their home and decided, “If I could build that, I could build anything.”
The Netherys are members of the Henry County Arts & Crafts Guild. Since its conception in 1999 with 16 charter members, the guild has sought to promote the unique talent of its members. In addition to a yearly art show, participation in the annual Holiday Bazaar, and a display at Sue’s Emporium in La Grange, Ky., the guild is now able to offer items for sale within the county.
A permanent display has been set up at Cook’s Pharmacy and True Value Stores in Eminence and Campbellsburg, both in Henry County. Since Nov. 18, 13 members have used the space on a consignment basis. Featured items that make wonderful gifts for any occasion include oil paintings, wooden boxes, quilts, dolls and jewelry.
Bruce Nethery said most of his creations are reproductions. He does use some wooden patterns dating from 1950 that belonged to his father. These include wooden toys he has made in the past for nieces and nephews.
When he first became serious about his woodworking, he crafted stands for his wife’s Old World Santa’s. He is a member of the Louisville Area Woodturners, from which he has learned a lot about this craft. An employee of Ford, Nethery has also taken adult education classes through the company, which revolved around a variety of subjects.
Fellow guild member and woodturner Neal Morris has also been an inspiration for Nethery. He said that by just being around fellow crafters and artisans and seeing what they do has been encouraging. He hopes to “get half as good as them, over a period of time.”
The Netherys were asked to join the guild and couldn’t refuse the offer. When guild members voted on participation in the Cook’s display, Nethery said he felt it would be “a good way to display our crafts.”
Karen began detailing Old World Santa’s after taking Oldham County Adult Education night classes on this topic. At first she created them to give as Christmas gifts for family and friends. She has now perfected them to sell alongside other guild member’s crafts.
Karen prefers to stick with the Old World Santa’s because “each one is different. I can decorate it differently.”
She begins with a molded plaster of paris face that she paints and then adds a fabric coat, fur and finishing details to make each Santa unique.
In addition to the display at Cook’s, guild members hope to have several demonstration Saturdays where members can take turns at showing onlookers how their artwork is crafted, according to the guild’s Saundra Smith. She said that while no definite dates have been set, guild members would consider this at upcoming meetings. One demonstration Saturday has been held and demonstrations were given by Smith on ornament painting, one stroke painting technique by Debbie Hargrove, and oil painting by David Downs.
“We’re always looking for skilled craftsmen,” said guild vice president Sharon Silvers. To further promote the artists of Henry County, Silvers said the Henry County Chamber of Commerce is working on assembling a brochure on local crafters. It’s another way to promote the guild, she said.
The longer the guild displays items in Cook’s, “people will realize we’re there and start looking for us,” said Silvers. “We want to encourage our own members to display in Cook’s. People are realizing there is some great talent here.”
Smith attributes the idea for this display to Jennifer Stephens, whose husband, Drane, is a pharmacist at Cook’s. Stephens said that after attending a Relay for Life fundraiser, where a friend had made a basket for a silent auction, she realized how many talented people are in Henry County. Stephens labeled the display at Cook’s “a win-win situation for all.”
Stephens’ sister, Kelly Carl, is a talented artist in the Chicago area. Being in tune to the arts through her sister, Stephens knew first-hand what a slim market there is for members of the guild to sell their works. She wanted to “start something that would catch on in other places. It’s time for these craftspeople to have different markets.”
Instead of having to travel out of the county to display their works, Stephens felt that their artwork “belongs here where they live.”
The guild will hold their next meeting at 7 p.m. on Jan. 15 at the Henry County Public Library in Eminence. Meetings are held the third Thursday of the month.

• For more information contact Smith at (502) 845-4734, vice president Sharon Silvers at (502) 845-4560 or the Netherys at (502) 225-9240.

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