Henry County Extension Holiday Bazaar

Barn artist Sharp to display
her artwork at bazaar

She makes close to 150 barn quilts a year for customers

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (November 2016) – If you drive through Henry County, Ky., and notice the beautiful barn quilts on display, you might just be seeing the work of artist Montaynna Sharp. She has grown her business quite a bit in the last five years, and her work is proudly displayed in many places.
Sharp first became interested in making the unique art pieces in high school while working on Future Farmers of America projects, she said. “It has grown from that.”
In a business that keeps her busy, she will make “close to 150 this year,” said Sharp, 23. Most of her pieces are commissioned, but she also has barn quilts that she displays at art shows to show off her distinctive talent.
Sharp will be one of more than 30 vendors with artwork on display in the 24th annual Henry County Extension Holiday Bazaar. The event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the 4-H Fairgrounds Building on Hwy. 421 between New Castle and Pleasureville.
Sharp’s artwork can be purchased in two different sizes – 2x2 feet or 2x4 feet. She can create any design, even if “people come up with crazy designs.”

Maryellen Garrison

She uses a lot of geometric shapes in her barn quilts, such as traditional quilt patterns and her own patterns. “I do quite a bit of collegiate quilts,” she said. “UK is popular in our area.”
She enjoys creating art in this way because “it’s nice to be able to display your artwork on your barn. It makes your barn look beautiful.” She grew up in Sulfur and currently lives in Eminence.
It’s also nostalgic. Customers can bring her a sampling of quilt squares from their grandmother or great-grandmother’s handiwork, and she can reproduce it into a barn quilt.
The Holiday Bazaar will feature “a wide variety of items available in all price ranges,” said Maryellen Garrison, Henry County Cooperative Extension Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences. “We have people who are members of art guilds, people who are just getting started, people who have been crafting for years and some items that are not handmade but are items being marketed by small entrepreneurs.”
The focus of the event has been for locals to spend as much of their money as they can in the county, while not having to go to bigger cities and fight holiday crowds. Most shoppers “are from Henry County, but we get lots of visitors from surrounding counties, including a bus load of senior citizens from an Assisted Living in Louisville who have attended for the last several years,” Garrison said. 
“One of our booth renters, Sharon Silvers, teaches painting classes at their facility, so they enjoy coming here. We welcome out-of-county visitors, and while we enjoy keeping Henry County dollars in the county, we also want to invite out-of-county dollars in as well.”
Garrison said the show “hasn’t really changed a lot since we began. We have new vendors, new people providing lunch, etc., but the event has stayed pretty true to our idea of providing an opportunity to market items locally.”
She said there are always repeat vendors, but “we always have a percentage of new people, too, so it makes a nice mix. We currently have a waiting list with three people on it. We send our invitations out to people who had booths in the past, and then after about a week we send an invitation out to new people who have said they would like to try a booth.”
Garrison said that “most of our vendors are doing this on a part-time basis to supplement retirement income or to help pay college expenses, etc.” In addition to the sales and income it creates for the vendors, it also provides exposure, and for some it is their only outlet.
Many of the vendors are versatile artists like Sharp. She not only creates barn quilts but has been making her own line of herbal bath products for the last four years. It began when “I grew herbs along with my vegetables and didn’t know what to do with them.”
Sharp likes to keep the ingredients in her products “very simple. It’s all about keeping it simple.” She makes soaps, bath balms, sugar scrubs, chap sticks, lotion bars and candles.
“My biggest sellers are lavender-oregano and rosemary mint,” she said. Sharp participates in about eight to 10 craft shows each year and the annual Henry County Harvest Showcase.

• For more information on the Holiday Bazaar, contact the Henry County Cooperative Extension Office at (502) 845-2811.

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