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Kentucky Art Guild Fall Fair

Louisville’s Martin finds joy
in passion for photography

Festival puts the spotlight on artists, craftspeople

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(October 2007) – After 29 years of teaching and coaching, Paula Martin decided it was time to retire and pursue an art form that had always intrigued her. In 1986 she picked up a manual 35mm camera and spent one day out of every weekend photographing nature as if she were on vacation.

Paula Martin

Photo provided

Fine Arts photographer
Paula Martin likes photographing simplified subjects, such as these brilliantly-colored fall
leaves. She will
be among the
exhibitors in Berea.

Martin, 62, had always wanted to be a photographer but never had the time or resources to further her interest. Originally from north central Ohio, she had spent her childhood wandering the rural fields and countryside surrounding her home. As a result, the work she now produces from her Louisville studio is primarily composed of nature scenes.
She spent four years teaching in Ohio and the rest of her teaching tenure in the Henry County school system. Martin was a middle school and high school counselor in addition to teaching English and reading.
Martin’s love for color photography in 1999 led her to jury into the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. She had visited Berea, Ky., where the organization is headquartered, and was impressed with the “high quality of work” of the artists, she said.
Martin will be among the artists juried into the guild’s Fall Fair. The exhibit will be held from 10 a.n. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 13-14. Admission price for adults is $5 for adults and $4 for seniors. Children 12 and under are free.
The Fall Fair provides an array of opportunities for the 80 or more participating artists. Foremost it is a viable market for selling their artwork and a way to make business contacts, organizers say. Artists and buyers come from all over the state to attend this well-known fair, said Jeannette Rowlett, guild president.
The guild is currently restructuring and developing a three-year plan, said Rowlett. “We hope to have exhibits across the state and offer workshops. It’s a very prestigious thing to be a member of the Guild.”
The guild has more than 300 members statewide.
“It’s the best way to share with people the art that I do,” said Martin. Meeting people face to face through the fair provides a more personal way to sell her artwork.
Martin compared looking through a camera lens to diving or snorkeling. “They are both a total escape,” she said. Nature photography lets her “get to the essence of my subject matter.”
She likes photographing simplified subjects such as milkweed seeds. Customers like her sense of sharp detail and vivid color, said Martin. “I don’t see the world in black and white.”
Established in 1961, the guild is Kentucky’s oldest statewide art and craft organization. The guild’s “Guild Train,” which is another quality that intrigued Martin, opened the doors to the arts and crafts world for thousands of Kentuckians.
Running from 1961 to 1967, the train consisted of two cars donated by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad. The baggage car held an exhibit gallery and the coach car a crafts demonstrating workshop. It traveled to locations that had no other access to the arts.
In 1968 train funding was transferred to the guild’s fairs, which provide a way for artists and craftsmen to sell their work to a wider market. Artists are juried in by experts who “look for certain things,” said Rowlett.
Lynn Horine, a newly juried member of the guild from Bedford, Ky., met these high qualifications. Horine has been crafting traditional baskets for 20 years. When a friend sent off for a pine needle basket kit for her constructed by Judy Mallow, an expert in this field, Horine was hooked on pine needle baskets from that point on.
“The wonderful thing about pine needle basketry is that there is no right or wrong,” said Horine. She uses Southern Long Leaf pine needles that must first be soaked for four to five hours and capped.
Horine uses gourds as a base for her baskets, which must be cut, cleaned our, sanded and a color or sealer applied.
“I just let the gourd and pine needles tell me what they want to do.” Horine’s craft is sold under the business name of Baskets From The Heart.
Her friend and mentor, Vickie Eldridge, owner of Apple Tree Studio in Bedford, Ky., introduced Horine to the Artisans Center at Berea. While researching the Artisans Center, Horine discovered the guild’s website. She then juried into the organization and the Artisans Center. She is also president of the Trimble County Arts Council and a member of the Madison Art Club and Louisville Artisan’s Guild.

• For more information on the Kentucky Art Guild, contact Jeannette Rowlett at (859) 986-3192 or visit: www.kyguild.org.

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