County Arts and Crafts Guild Show
Henry County teacher
Ashby pursues new art career
will display, sell gourds at
September arts and crafts show
Helen E. McKinney
NEW CASTLE, Ky. (September 2008) Joanne Ashby would
like to know more about her Irish and Scottish ancestors. The idea is
often a source of inspiration for her when creating decorative gourds.
Ashby, a member of the
Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild,
creates fine art pieces using gourds.
Ashby, 60, works with colored pencils on gourds, getting
my inspiration from old hand-written manuscripts, she said. She
had seen gourd art before at the Taylorsville Gourd Show and been impressed.
When her husband, Mitch, grew over a wagon load of gourds one year and
told her to do something with them, Ashby began embellishing them and
hasnt stopped since.
Ashby is one of more than 30 members of the Henry County Arts and Crafts
Guild. The guild will be hosting its ninth annual Henry County Arts
and Crafts Guild Show from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at the 4-H Center
at the Henry County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 421 in New Castle.
The arts and craft show will exhibit artists who create paintings, jewelry,
wooden bowls, carvings, painted furniture, toys, quilts, candles, woolen
items, leatherwork, baskets and dolls, and much more, said Malissa Beatty,
guild president. Food will also be available from the Henry County Senior
Born and raised in Suffern, N.Y., Ashby came to Kentucky in fall 1966
to attend Morehead State University. It was there that she met her future
husband and decided to stay in Kentucky.
While in college, Ashby enjoyed working in a variety of media. She had
majored in weaving but also took classes in drawing, painting, printing
and clay, all mediums that she enjoyed pursuing.
For a time she put her artwork aside and was a stay at home mom to her
four children. She worked as a bookkeeper at Farmer Deposit Bank for
seven years after they were all in school. She then worked as a teachers
aide while working on her Art Education degree at Kentucky State University
In 1992, Ashby began teaching elementary school art in the Henry County
Public School System. As an art teacher I had to work with a lot
of different art media, she said of her teaching experiences.
In addition to painting gourds, she also creates small stained glass
pieces, such as suncatchers. Now that I am retired from teaching,
I am hoping to spend more time working on my art.
The guilds art show is a way for her to showcase what she loves
to do best. People who attend are serious about art. They come looking
to buy crafts, she said.
Ashby is a charter member of the guild. She joined because she said
at the time the county needed to get artists organized and have art
shows, she said.
For the past three years, Ashby has been a vendor at the Kentucky Renaissance
Fair and the Celtic Fest in Eminence, Ky. This has allowed her another
venue in which to sell her work.
Ashby has shared her time and talents through the Indian Summer Camp,
held each year in July at Cedarmore Baptist Camp in Bagdad, Ky. She
has volunteered as arts and crafts director for the past 14 years at
this camp for children with cancer.
Ashby made the decision to volunteer at the camp shortly after her own
diagnosis with breast cancer. She participated in a cancer camp in Spokane,
Wash., this past summer.
For more information about the Henry County
Arts and Crafts Guild Show, contact Malissa Beatty at (502) 743-5497
or (502) 220-8968.
Back to September 2008