Henry County Arts & Crafts Guild Show
Area artists, craftspeople prepare for upcoming Art Guild Show
Oldham County’s Morris to exhibit
her seamstress talent
NEW CASTLE, Ky. (September 2017) – Angela Morris, a 71-year-old seamstress from Oldham County, Ky., has been participating in the annual Henry County Arts & Crafts Guild Show for a long time. “I think it’s a very close-knit family. We network with each other constantly and figure out how to do things or how to set things up and how to best promote our product.”
Organized by Maryellen Garrison of the Henry County Cooperative Extension office, the guild is composed of artists from Henry, Shelby, Oldham, Trimble and other counties who seek an audience for their art. On Saturday, Sept. 9, the group will be playing host to its 18th annual event at the Henry County Fairgrounds inside the 4H building. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Attendees can expect to see a wide range of local art for purchase. Items such as wooden bowls, stitched handbags and oil paintings will be on sale, along with food from Mikaela’s Inn.
Morris is an eight-year veteran of the festival and has made waves selling a variety of stitch pieces. “I sew things that would interest people of all age groups – pillows, aprons, purses, things for babies.” she says. “I am partial to the natural fiber products, like the leathers, the cottons and the silks.”
Morris has been sewing since she was 6 years old. She spends some of her spare time teaching sewing lessons at the Henry County Cooperative Extension Homemakers office as a master clothing volunteer. She also puts her craft to work when designing wedding apparel, having designed every piece for her daughter’s wedding.
Morris says that a big challenge for her and other artists has been keeping up with the changing trends and tastes of their consumers. “Times change with the way I do my sewing,” she says. “Some of the bags and things that I make would not have been popular 20 years ago.”
She’s only recently been accustomed to seeing vinyl being used for products like shirts and pillows. While staying current is a challenge for Morris, she says it’s also her favorite part.
“I love getting to know the people,” Morris says. “Getting to know what they want for the next year, and what they were or weren’t interested in last year. I think that’s a big part of it.”
Guild president Malissa Beatty has also had her fair share of experience within the organization. She currently helps organize the art show and has spent the past 16 years selling portraits at the event.
Above is a sample of the quilt work done by seamstress Angela Morris. She will be at the Henry County show.
Most of her luck, however, has come from selling thousands of handmade china dolls.
• For more information, call Malissa Beatty at (502) 220-8968 or Sharon Silvers at (502) 845-4560.
“I didn’t advertise at all – it was just word of mouth,” Beatty says. “I would get orders from places like England and Australia. I made over 3,000 of them.”
Charging $75 to $100 a doll, Beatty was soon making enough from the doll orders to pay for her children’s college tuition. The dolls often resembled Santa Claus, “mountain men” or in one case, life-sized representations of Henry County native and Olympic trainer Jim Keefe.
These days, Beatty makes a china doll here or there, but she also paints portraits and designs books covers for notable writers like the Western novelist Ralph Cotton.
She describes how an artist can become a part of the guild: “People who want to join can bring their artwork to our meetings at the Drury Inn Louisville North,” Beatty says. “From there, it has to pass a jury rule where people vote on their art and whether or not they can participate.”
While the jury process is necessary to sell art at the festival, Beatty says that no one’s art has ever been rejected by the guild. Once artists gain permission, they must pay both a membership fee and booth fee to cover advertising and booking costs.
Many members of the guild are also organizers of the Kentucky Renaissance Fair, which is set for Saturday, Sept. 19 in Eminence, Ky. Mikaela’s Inn, the caterer for the art festival, will also cater for the Kentucky Renaissance Fair.
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