Madison Craft Show
Area crafters find craft shows
a great way to sell their goods
The annual event benefits
the Madison Encore Show Choir
(November 2016) – Combine 30 creative and unique crafters, a Saturday afternoon in November, the approaching holiday gift-giving season, food, and the enthusiastic members of the Madison Encore Show Choir and you have the fourth annual Madison Craft Show.
This growing holiday tradition began with the students of Hanover College and was held on campus. When space for the show became a problem, the event was facing extinction. A group of local crafters acquired the list of vendors, secured space at the Madison National Guard Armory and brought the craft show back to life.
The 2016 Madison Craft Show will be held at the Armory from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12. The event is free to the public, and proceeds from booth rental and food sales will support the Show Choir.
David Karns of Madison, Ind., plans to participate in the upcoming Madison Craft Show, set for Nov. 12.
According to Wanda Shelley, one of the crafters who helped rescue the show and who now serves as an organizer, the Show Choir does not receive financial support from the school. The cost for a single year can range between $10,000 - $12,000. The members hold fundraising projects to help support their travel to competitions, to purchase costumes and backdrops, to pay royalty fees for their music and even to hire choreographers.
Karns will be joined on Nov. 12 by a variety of crafters showcasing jewelry, wood working, handmade knitted items and a wide selecting of holiday decorations.
“The choreographer alone can cost several thousand dollars. I don’t think audiences realize how much money it takes to participate in show choir competitions,” Shelley said.
Teresa Grayson, Shelley’s daughter and choir director at Madison Consolidated School Corp. for the past three years, says she is hoping to have the choir participate in several competitions this spring.
“It has been a learning process for both the students and me,” Grayson said. “Participating in the shows in Lebanon, South Dearborn and Aurora this year will give us an opportunity to acclimate to the competition world,” she said.
The choir, composed of 19 students from grades 9-12, will be on hand at the craft show to man the concessions stand and to help exhibitors unload and load their items. “The students work hard for the money,” said Shelley.
David Karns of Madison will be a new addition to the show this year with his gourd art. Not the typical image of a crafter, Karns and his wife, Gail, relocated to Madison when he retired from the U.S. Air Force as a colonel in 2005. Karns spent 27 years in the service, which included postings in Germany, Belgium and three assignments at the Pentagon. He was at work on 9/11 and had just stepped into the inner courtyard to have a cigarette when the hijacked airplane struck the building. Witnessing the rising fireball is a vision Karns says he will never forget.
Gail, whose maiden name was Wertenberger, has ties to the Madison area (her father was a preacher in Rising Sun and Scottsburg), which aided in their decision to retire in Madison.
During his travels, Karns saw various styles of gourd art, some artistic and some more commercial (Santa Claus, Jack-o-Lanterns, etc.). He became interested in the more artistic style and decided to give it a try.
“I had dabbled in oil painting in the past, and there are some very artistic members of my family, so I guess I came by my talent honestly,” Karns said.
Gourds are one of the oldest cultivated crops that are believed to have spanned the entire globe in prehistoric times, mostly in temperate and tropical zones. Gourds were most commonly used for storing supplies, hauling water, making cooking and eating utensils, musical instruments, bird feeders, bird houses, and rattles.
Gourd art involves creating works of art using hard-shell gourds as an art medium. Karns purchases his gourds already cleaned and dried from a farmer in Georgia. He first draws his image on the gourd with a pencil then uses a wood-burning tool to transfer the design. He then erases any remaining pencil markings.
“I mainly use leather dye for the final design. It is more vibrant,” Karns explained. “I then finish with a clear coat of polyurethane, which protects the image and enhances the colors.”
Gourd decoration is an ancient tradition in Africa and Asia as well as among the indigenous peoples of the Americas, notably the central highland people of Peru, the Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo nations of the American Southwest.
Gourd crafting and painting has evolved from early hand carvings to the modern day use, by some, of electric wood burners and high-speed pen-shaped rotary tools that can be used to inscribe almost any design.
Karns creates a variety of designs but tends to lean towards Southwestern Native American. He has exhibited his art at RiverRoots Folk Music & Art Festival and during The Pilot club of Madison’s Old Court Days. It was at a recent Old Court Days that a visitor to his booth encouraged him to display his gourd art at the Madison Craft Show.
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