annual studio tour and art sale
showcases Westport artists
WESTPORT, Ky. Tony Abbott has never met a
hardwood that he didnt like or that he couldnt carve. Relying
on his chainsaw to bring in some extra cash from time to time, hes
never been disappointed.
by Helen McKinney
Abbott crafts folk art
from Kentucky hardwoods.
He has spent many hours meticulously crafting furniture,
walking sticks and even totem poles. He may be best known in Buckner,
Ky., for creating the Buckner Bear mascot that resides in front of Buckner
Abbott, 57, originally from Kansas, came to Kentucky six years ago and
it was while he was laid off from his welding job during the winter
months that he first began carving wood. He dug out his chainsaw with
the intention of procuring some extra work by cutting and removing downed
tree limbs on his own property and for others. But in the midst of working,
inspiration stuck him.
I brought the wood home and started, he said. Abbott gets
wood from around his own property, saw mills and anywhere he might work.
I use a lot of cedar, he said.
He is often inspired by something Ill see in a tree. A lot
of times people will contract me to do something and if I can see it
in a tree, I can do it.
Abbotts work can be found from La Grange to Louisville. Chainsaw
carving is somewhere between a full-time job and a hobby for Abbott.
As an artform, chainsaw carving became popular in the 1980s when the
Lumberjack World Championship was held in Hayward, Wisconsin. It was
broadcast nationally as a new type of performance art, one
that Abbott has picked up and mastered.
Abbott is one of many artists participating in this years Original
Oldham Studio Tour & Art Sale held at various locations in Westport,
Ky. The self-guided, free tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday,
Sept. 12, and from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.
Artwork represented on the Studio Tour will include equestrian art,
oil paintings, sculptures, painted gourds, wearable art, handcrafted
jewelry, handcut wood engravings and letterpress printing, photography,
porcelain, encaustic paintings and functional ceramics. The Westport
General Store and The Tea Kettle will be open for those who wish to
dine in Westport while on the tour. Also available for sale will be
signed posters by Julius Friedman to benefit the Friends of Westport
schoolhouse renovation project.
This year the fourth annual Original Oldham Studio Tour &
Art Sale coincides with the 10th annual River Daze Festival, said
Studio Tour organizer and participating artist Kate Fisher. So
there is a lot of excitement about having both events to showcase the
Westport we know and love.
In the past, the Studio Tour has included an auction and related events.
This year is just a very simple version of the tour. We are excited
that River Daze is the same Saturday because there are so many map spots
in this end of the county, Fisher said.
Fisher was instrumental in beginning the Studio Tour, based on two well-established
successful models in Bowling Green, Ky., and Chatham County, N.C., that
attract visitors from surrounding states. Working from her Westport
studio, Fisher crafts painted antique quilts, suede clothing and accessories,
produces surface design for fabrics, and will have several artists set
up with her in her home studio.
Ann Farnsley is an artist from Vevay, Ind., who Fisher invited to participate
in this years Studio Tour. Farnsley has been a part of the tour
since it began in 2005 and said it is wonderful exposure,
for her artwork.
Originally from Louisville, Farnsley lived in New York City for a time
before settling in Indiana. Im primarily a painter, but
got into ceramics to work in a 3D medium. I paint pictures on ceramic
pieces, then glaze and fire them, said Farnsley.
She thinks the idea of a Studio Tour is great for participating artists.
Over the years Ive found that I make more direct sales out
of my own studio than in other places. Another plus is that people
like to meet the artist personally and see the work environment.
Farnsley will be displaying a new series of circus themed plates on
the Studio Tour that she has created with Fisher. Farnsley embellished
the center of the plate with a circus scene, while Fisher designed a
We were inspired by a traveling circus we went to last spring
in Madison, Ind., said Farnsley.
Tour maps are available at each map spot,
Gallery 104 in La Grange, the Westport General Store and the stores
website at www.westportgeneralstore.com.
For more information, contact Kate Fisher at (502) 222-9439.
Back to September 2009