Kentucky Crafted Newcomers
Two Oldham County
admitted to Ky. juried program
Ridge, La Grange's Kinney
selected to join prestigious group
Helen E. McKinney
PROSPECT, Ky. Cathy Wade Ridge has always
been a sewer and designer, making her own clothes since college. Years
later, she continues to hone her style into a juried artform that has
been accepted into the Kentucky Crafted Program.
Her idea and style are uniquely her own. I take cashmere sweaters
apart and recycle them into wearable art, said Ridge, 58. She
creates womens fashion and accessories, baby items and home décor.
by Don Ward
Ridge models one of her scarves made from recycled materials at
Mellwood Art Center in Louisville, where she has a working booth.
She sells her items at shows.
Ridge and La Grange, Ky., artist Mary Kinney have recently
been juried into the prestigious Kentucky Crafted statewide arts program.
Four years ago, Ridge, who lives in Prospect, went full time with her
fiber inspirations. She has taught school, been a pharmaceutical representative
and worked in sales. But nothing has brought her as much joy and satisfaction
as the wearable art she creates for herself and others.
After designing and recycling cashmere items for herself, Ridge decided
to create items for other people. The first item she made was a scarf
and she received so many compliments, that word of mouth soon spread
and she was selling the items as well.
Ive always loved cashmere cardigan sweaters, she said.
I probably had one hundred at one time and wore a different one
Ridge usually finds sweaters at estate sales or thrift stores. She doesnt
mind fixing a small hole in a $300 sweater that she has
many times picked up for under $3 and then sold it as a completely different
In order to rework a cashmere sweater, Ridge said it must be extremely
clean. Dry cleaning is not enough. She first washes it in Borax
and then disassembles the sleeves, cuffs, turtleneck, buttons and the
label, which she uses to make belts. She saves buttons for other projects.
Theres not any part I dont use. Im most excited
to find mens extra large turtleneck sweaters. I can make so much
out of them.
She has recently begun working with vintage fabrics and takes custom
orders. She has a studio at the Mellwood Arts Center in Louisville and
attends about 10 art shows a year with her artwork.
Ridge, who is originally from Green County, Ky., is one of two local
artists who have been juried into the Kentucky Crafted Program. Being
recognized as an artist in this program, gives my craft credibility,
Having taken place for more than 30 years, the program is overseen by
the Kentucky Arts Council. The Kentucky Crafted program helps
Kentucky visual and craft artists market their work regionally, nationally
and internationally, said Emily B. Moses, Communications Director
for the Arts Council.
The program also promotes Kentucky as a leading producer of high
quality art and craft and enhances tourism and economic development,
Moses said. Applicants must be residents of Kentucky who have been full-time
Kentucky residents for at least six months prior to the application
Artists who jury into this program are the only Kentucky artists who
can exhibit at Kentucky Crafted: The Market, the Kentucky Arts Councils
annual wholesale and retail showcase now held in Lexington, Ky.
by Helen McKinney
Kinney joins her artist-husband
Tom as a juried Ky. Crafted artisan.
The show attracts about 500 wholesale buyers from
across the country in addition to thousands of shoppers on retail days.
Last years event drew more than 10,000 people. Average sales for
artists were about $4,800, Moses said.
Participants are included in the Arts Councils online directory
of visual and craft artists, and are afforded the opportunity to participate
in other Arts Council related events and programs beneficial to their
careers. Artists also receive various training and professional development
and can receive free consultancies on business related subject matter
through the Arts Councils Kentucky Peer Advisory Network.
There were 66 applicants this session, with 18 artists added to the
program roster. The adjudication process is quite rigorous,
Kinney is a mixed media artist who crafts hand-made paper and books
that contain recycled paper, and paints and decorates the covers. The
art of hand-made paper is fairly new for me, said Kinney.
Ive always loved bookmaking, she said. This
past year I studied it on my own, learning how to bind the edges. I
also have embossed some books with copper words.
In addition to paper items, she juried into the program with her miniature
pen-and-ink watercolor illustrations, which she applies to notecards
and pamphlets. Kinney was a member of the Kentucky Crafted Program years
ago with her hand felted hats.
She left the program to run a retail store for many years and then retired.
Since her husband, Tom, is also a member of the program, Kinney thought
that it was time for her to try to join again so we could do more
The Kentucky Crafted Program has many benefits, she said. It affords
her an opportunity to continue learning how to promote my work
and how to mix with other artists. Kinney and her husband have
a working studio in La Grange that is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Getting into the program can be tough for some artists. When you
jury into Kentucky Crafted, you have to send the best work youve
ever done, said Kinney. Its also different the way
it works now.
Kinney said the individuals in charge of the program are knowledgeable,
caring and helpful. They know what they are looking for.
KY Crafted: The Market is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday,
March 2, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 3. It will be held
at the Lexington Convention Center, 430 W. Vine St., Lexington.
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