Twenty-four talented, local crafters took their talenets to the street earlier this month for the Fourth Annual Appalachian Craft Fair sponsored by the Bell County Cooperative Extension Service.
Crafters gathered on the Courthouse Square just as the day was starting, displaying their homemade goods, some even offering items for sell. Then each crafter sat down and began working on their projects, so that attendees could see those items being made.
John Brock, wood turner, spoke with students and adults alike about his craft, while demonstrating the art.
“All of my life, I’ve been interested in craftsmanship,” he said. “I even earned part of my college tuition from making and carving turkeys from pine cones, making flowers, seed picture flower baskets out of different varieties of seeds, and other things.” The master wood turner put his hobby aside for 31 years of teaching. He retired in 1997 and has since developed his talents.
Joey and Tammie Beason, “Appalachian Toy Makers” had some of their collection of 75-100 toys on display and for sale at the Craft Fair. Students enjoyed stopping by the Beason’s table to pick up an Appalachian Rag Doll or a Hillbilly Cell Phone.
John Hendrickson, Ron Presnell and Marvin Amburgy are three local woodcarvers who make up the Pine Mountain Carver group. The three men discussed their craft with passersby and displaying different pieces. The goal of the group is to keep the art of wood carving alive with a younger generation.
Wood carver and wood turner Lonnie Rickett has passed his crafting along to at least one person: Thomas Heck. Rickett sold a turned wood bowl to Heck at last year’s Appalachian Craft Fair. That’s all it took for Heck to get really interested in the art.
“I bought a bowl and got interested, went to Lonnie’s house and he taught me how to do it,” Heck said.
Heck has been turning wood for eight months now and is the newest crafter to take part in the Appalachian Craft Fair, right alongside his teacher.
There are many quilters, knitters, ladies who crochet, woodworkers, general crafters and artists who make the Appalachian Craft Fair possible and successful, in addition to Bell County UK Cooperative Extension Service Agents, staff and volunteers.
Crafters who participated in the 2012 Appalachian Craft Fair were Thornley Alexander, Marvin Amburgy, Teresa Baker, Joe and Tammie Beason, John Brock, Mitchell Charles, Roberta Dean, Bobby Garrett, Rena Green, John Hendrickson, Jewell Meyers, Russ Mills, Charlie Nagle, Jennifer Parks, Ron and Dinah Presnell, Lonnie and Cathy Rickett, Bernice Rogers, Wanda Shackleford and Janice Stover.
Other activities included Elizabeth Madon’s class from Pineville presenting storytelling, the White Sisters singing and Lexie Brock singing “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and “Blessings,” Mickey Wilder singing and Dinah Presnell demonstrating basketry.
The Appalachian Craft Fair started in 2009 with the goal of sharing the knowledge and skills involved in Appalachian crafts with others.
For more information about the Annual Appalachian Craft Fair, call the Bell County Cooperative Extension Service office at 337-2376. There is no fee to participate.