Versailles, Ind., trio wins Best of Show
in their first outing
The Payne father-and-sons trio
creates functional wood items
(October 2017) – Gary Payne taught building trades for 30 years at the Southeastern Indiana Career Center in Versailles, Ind. Along with his two sons, Dustin, 27, and Caleb, 24, he is now putting those skills to work in another way: showcasing their talents for making a variety of functional items out of wood.
The trio brought their wooden pieces to Madison, Ind., Sept. 30-Oct. 1 to participate in their first-ever show since they started working together back in November 2016 – the 47th Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art.
Their hard work paid off. Their newly launched Iron Timbers booth won Best of Show.
“I knew we had something unique, but I didn’t expect to win Best of Show,” said Dustin, an electrician along with his brother for a company in Rising Sun.
Photo by Don Ward
VisitMadison Inc. Executive Director Tawana Thomas presents the Chautauqua Best of Show Award to Dustin Payne.
Gary and Caleb reside in nearby Osgood, Ind., while Dustin lives in Versailles. Dustin had taken his father’s class years ago to learn wood carving, but Caleb instead took welding classes and now does the ironwork for the trio’s pieces. They include dining and end tables, wine bottle holders, mantels, serving platters and the like. The items are made from all types of hard woods – cherry, poplar, western cedar and fox elder, Gary said.
They have begun selling their pieces online at Etsy.com but are hoping to do more shows like the Chautauqua next year.
“I told Dustin that even if we didn’t sell anything at this show, it wouldn’t slow us down,” said Caleb, who worked until 3 a.m. Thursday before the show to get the final pieces ready.
The Paynes give credit to their wives and family for supporting their efforts.
“This will be the only show for us this year, but we have been talking to lots of other artists here, and they have given us some good tips on what shows we should do,: said Gary, 68. “I’ve been coming to the Chautauqua for years, and I did not see any wood artists of the quality that we have, so I thought there would be a good opportunity for us to sell here.”
He was right. The Paynes have not only been selling but also taking orders, Dustin said.
“We’re local to Madison in this show, and a lot of people we meet like that,” Dustin said.
Photo by Don Ward
From left, Gary Payne poses with his sons, Dustin and Caleb, at their Chautauqua booth. The Versailles, Ind., trio won Best of Show while participating in their first-ever art show.
Only a handful of the 225 Chautauqua exhibitors are from the local region. The Paynes are one of 78 new artists at this year’s show.
This year’s Chautauqua was moved a week later on the calendar to stay just a week ahead of the St. James Court Art Fair in Louisville. Many artists traveling from far away participate in both shows and keeping them back-to-back makes it easier for them, Chautauqua officials said. Next year’s show dates are Sept. 28-29.
The Paynes were among several artists receiving awards, along with two honorable mentions.
Felted fibers artist Lizzie Gulick of Louisville, Ky., returned for only her second year at the Chautauqua to again collect first place in the Craft category. She has successfully impressed two separate sets of judges in doing so, since the judges change each year. Second-year Chautauqua artists Jon and Mary Lee of Lewis Center, Ohio, earned second place with their Cloisonne enamel art. Third place in Craft went to newcomer Debbie Wiles, a gourd artist from Mattoon, Ill.
In the Fine Art category, Guiteau Lanoue of Houston won first place in his first appearance at the show. Lanoue does papermaking as his art. Second place in Fine Art went to Tim Peters, a Winter Haven, Fla., resident who won Best of Show here last year in his first appearance. Peters makes unique pieces such as vases and framed tiles. Derrick Riley of Lexington, Ky., earned third place with his wood cuts and screen prints.
Jeri Landers won Best Presentation, an award she has collected multiple times over the years. The author and artist from Rutledge, Tenn., writes and illustrates colorful children’s books.
Honorable mentions were awarded to William Waite of Prairie du Chien, Wisc., and Eli Helman of Easthampton, Mass. Waite makes puzzles, while Helman creates ink illustrations.
The awards were created by metal works artist David Shadwick of Wilmore, Ky.
This year’s show attracted perhaps the largest crowd in recent years because of the cool, ideal weather with temperatures in the mid-70s each day. Co-coordinators Amy Fischmer and Jenny Straub said they were pleased with the large turnout.
The art show featured a circus theme, with Turners Circus of Louisville entertaining folks in the South Lawn of the Lanier Mansion. The Chalk Walk returned for a second year. Another new attraction was a Chautauqua shuttle bus running the length of Main Street in downtown Madison.
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