Fall Old Court Days

Artisans share unique artwork
at annual fall event in Madison

Pilot Club of Madison
organizes the semi-annual event

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

(September 2011) – Carla Gauger has found a unique way to look at discarded items. Consciences about recycling, Gauger and her daughter, Audrey Barnes, have found a way to put old, used aluminum cans to good use again.
Gauger makes jewelry from recycled cans. Last Christmas, while searching for a how-to book on making cupcakes for special occasions for her daughter, Gauger wondered into the jewelry section of the bookstore. She ended up finding a book about recycling and began looking for ways to tie the two themes together.
“The book was about all of the things you could recycle,” said Gauger. She also searched the Internet for more ideas on how to craft unique jewelry from aluminum cans.
When the mother-daughter team started out, “we only made earrings,” Gauger said. Now the pair creates bracelets, necklaces and hair attachments.
“Lots of people save cans,” said Gauger. Once cans were sorted out, she noticed the different colors that could be put together to make interesting jewelry. Gauger and her daughter began experimenting and came up with the concept for their Can Dangle line of jewelry.
Locally, they will participate in the Swiss Wine Festival and will be set up for the 44th annual Fall Old Court Days in Madison from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sept. 23-25 around the Jefferson County, Ind., Courthouse. This festival contains a “mixture of hand-made items such as soap and jewelry, arts and crafts, collectibles, antiques and food,” said Linda McDaniel, a member of the Pilot Club of Madison.
The Pilot Club is a non-profit organization that organizes the semi-annual Old Court Days as its only fundraiser. “We do several projects in the community,” said McDaniel. “The money goes back into the community.” The club also organizes a similar Old Court Days each May.
The Pilot Club of Madison is part of Pilot International and was chartered locally in 1973. The club focuses on brain-related disorders. It sponsors projects at the Jefferson County Youth Shelter, the Special Olympics, the Senior Citizens Prom, and scholarships for high school graduates, just to name a few.
Gauger said that when she attends shows such as Old Court Days, she, “Tries to really listen to people and see what they want,” in terms of jewelry fashion. She gets a lot of ideas form attendees whenever she participates in such shows.
The mother and daughter pair often embellish their unique artwork with beads. It can take as long as 36 hours to craft a bracelet, said Gauger. The cans have to be sorted, pieces cut and put together and mounted.
Gauger and Barnes were invited to participate in a fashion show for Main Attraction. Models wore their jewelry to accentuate their clothing. Guager said she will many times match jewelry to the color of her own clothes she is wearing, thinking others are also wearing the same clothing.
Can Dangle items can also be found at the Farmers Market on Saturday mornings.

• For more information on Old Court Days, contact Dee Gauger at (812) 273-6226 or Linda McDaniel at (812) 273-0550.

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