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Craft Luminary
Oral Histories
Craft Luminary Oral Histories Listing (PDF)

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The KCHEA Craft Luminary Project interviews are in the repositories for the Kentucky Historical Society's Oral History Commission, at these links:
KCHEA Craft Luminaries Collection

Stringed Instruments: The Art of the Luthier


You can view the individual bios and interview descriptions with direct links for each on this page as listed below. 

Alphabetical Index:   

Adams  |  Adkins  |  Alvic  | Allen  |  Andrews Atcher  |  Barker  |  Barnes  |   L. Bellando  |  R. Bellando  |  Bird  | Bickel  |  Bowen  |  Brinkman  |  Brunner  | Caudill Colmer  |  J. Cooper  | C. Cooper  |  R. Cooper  |  Cornelison  |  Cornett Cotton  |  Currier  |  Di Teresa Dial | DeLuca | Faoro |Ferguson  |  Fifield Foose  |  Glenn  |  Glotzbach  |  Goldstein  |  Grissom  |  Hackley  |  Hadley  |  Hall  |  Hatfield HicksHeffner  |  Hochstrasser  |  Hyleck  |  Iwanski  | Kendrick  |  Lamb  |  Leedy  |  Lewis  |  Lowe-Masuhr Luallen  | Mateus  |   May  |  McLain  |  Middleton  |  Mize  |  Molinaro  |  Moosnick  |  Neat  |  Newman Ogden  |  Pen  | Pierce  |  Pross  B. Ratliff  |  K. Ratliff  |  B.T. Ratliff  |  Reed  |  Redmon  |  Reichard  |   Rigsby  |  Sandoval  |  Seigel  |  Shands  |  Shepard  |  Sizemore  |  Taylor  |  Waddell  |  Wakim  Weaver  |  Williams  |  Wolfson  |  Woolfolk  |  Workman  |  Wright  |  Zurick


Lester Pross


Lester Pross is a recognized Appalachian landscape painter, who was the chair of the Berea College Art Department for many years. He was the first president of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen (KGAC) and in that capacity coordinated the Kentucky Guild Train. The Louisville and Nashville Railroad donated two cars and hauled them to many communities around the state.  One car held a potter who demonstrated making ceramics and the other an exhibition of crafts from throughout the country.

Lester talked in great detail about people who came together from academia, state government, and the crafts community to support the train and the process of the Guild managing, staffing, and programming activities. Transcript (07) Video (07) Transcript (08) Video (08)


Marie Hochstrasser

Marie Hochstrasser is a weaver and former owner of a yarn and weaving supply business.  She attended Smith College and California College of Arts and Crafts prior to receiving her bachelor’s degree in Applied Arts from the University of California, Los Angeles and acquired her Master’s Degree in Art Education/ Textile Research from the University of Oregon.  Marie has taught art education and weaving through workshops and at Transylvania University, Asbury College, and the University of Kentucky.  She is past president of the Lexington Fiber Guild and KGAC and instrumental in founding of the Lexington Arts Council.  She has received the Rude Osolnik Award and has been designated Kentucky Crafted Emeritus.

Marie talked about her development as an artist, her teaching, and her role in developing the crafts through various organizations in the state. Transcript  Video


Arturo Alonzo Sandoval
Arturo Sandoval first took a weaving course in 1965 at California State College-Los Angeles and in 1971 completed a Master of Fine Arts in Fiber at Cranbrook Academy. He taught at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and in 1974 joined the University of Kentucky Department of Art faculty.  Among his many honors he has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Al Smith Fellowships, and the Rude Osolnik Award.  He has served on the Board of the American Craft Council and advisory boards of the KGAC and Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation.

Arturo talked about his development as an artist, his teaching, and his work with craft organizations both on the state and national levels.  He discussed having a vibrant crafts community in Kentucky for his students to join on graduating. Transcript  Video


Dan Neil Barnes

Dan Barnes was born into a family of builders and craftsmen and showed an early interest in art and making things. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Human Environmental Design from the University of Kentucky and opened his own business in Lexington in 1986. Barnes received a B.A. degree in Human Environmental Design at the University of Kentucky studying under Arturo Sandoval, Miles Weiner and John Tuska. He is an active member of the KGAC and other institutions supporting crafts in the state and his work has been featured in the magazine “Arts Across Kentucky” and on KET’s television programs “Mixed Media” and “Kentucky Life.” 


In his first interview, Dan talked about the importance of KGAC and other resources in Kentucky in the development of his career. In his second interview, he leads us through his evolution from a stained glass artist and upholsterer into a mixed media artist using different metals like copper, brass, aluminum with the glass to make sculptures and wall pieces. He talks about what drives him to create as an artist and his experiences and travels that influenced his work and business. 08/16/07 Transcript  Video 03/18/15 Transcript Video


Emily Wolfson

Emily (Wilson) Wolfson is a weaver, watercolorist, educator, and longtime crafts advocate. She studied design at the Newcomb School of Art, Tulane University, spent a year in Paris studying under Fernand Leger, earned a master’s degree in art from Louisiana State University.  Wolfson taught at Murray State College, was the director of the Evansville Art Museum, and taught at Evansville College, before joining the faculty at Indiana University for ten years and finally returning to again teach at Murray State.  She is a charter member and was president of the KGAC during the first Guild Fair.  She has received the Governor's Community Arts Award and the Rude Osolnik Award. Emily passed away in 2015.

Emily talked about her development as an artist and her life as an educator.  She related how the KGAC was a unique organization because it welcomed both artists and craftspeople and how the Guild sought to be inclusive in membership from college educated to mountain people who had learned skills from family members. Transcript (part 1)  Transcript (part 2)  Video (part 1)  Video (part 2)


Fred Shepard
Fred Shepard spent most of his career teaching ceramics at Murray State University.  In retirement from teaching he continues to run a ceramic studio outside of Murray.  He is a past KGAC president.


Fred talked about his teaching and involvement with KGAC.  He recalled the rugged nature of camping out and ‘making do’ at the early KGAC Fairs. Transcript  Video


Neil Di Teresa
Neil Di Teresa is a painter and has been on the Berea College faculty since the early 1960s.  He did his undergraduate work at Pratt Institute and received a master’s degree from the University of New Mexico.  He has been the director of the Summer Puppetry Caravan for Appalachia since 1970 where students conduct puppet making workshops and perform puppet shows as part of their college work-study.

Neil talked about living in Berea and participating in Guild fairs as a painter. Transcript  Video


Dave Caudill
Dave Caudill attended the University of Kentucky and the Louisville School of Art.  Caudill produces stainless steel sculpture.  He is a participant in the activities of Kentucky Craft Marketing and of KGAC and has been a Board member of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.

Dave talked about how the many different organizations devoted to crafts have helped in the development of his career.  He also talked about his participation in setting the agendas for these groups. Transcript  Video


Fran Redmon
Fran Redmon earned a bachelor’s degree in commercial art from Western Kentucky University. She began as a graphic artist in state government in 1977, became a marketing coordinator for the newly formed Crafts Division of the Kentucky Department of Arts in 1981. From 1986 through 2007, she served as director of the Kentucky Craft Marketing, a program of the Kentucky Arts Council.  She was the recipient of the Craft Organization Development Association’s national award for “Outstanding Service, Creative Thinking, and Leadership.”  Fran has held craft leadership positions in Kentucky and nationally, serving on several boards, advisory councils and various state government committees. She is semi-retired and currently consults in craft entrepreneurial and program development, operates Redmon2 Marketing + Design with her husband, and has taken up her own artwork including pastel paintings and photography.

Fran talked about the many institutions working to support craft in Kentucky and how they provided services and cooperated in their efforts. Transcript (10/16/07)  Video 

(9/23/08) (Part I, Transcript Video (Part II  Video 

David Glenn
David Glenn is a woodworker and furniture maker who learned his craft at home and still uses many of the tools of his father and his grandfather.  He was at one time, the oldest continually displaying artist at the St. James Art Fair, having displayed there every year since 1971.  He is a past KGAC president.  He is Kentucky Crafted Emeritus award recipient and received the Kentucky Crafted: The Market Craft Marketing Program volunteer award -- The David and Donna Glenn Award, named after them for their outstanding contributions. 

David talked about his own work and the importance of organizations to independent craftspeople.  He discussed his demonstrating and other support he has provided to several different craft organizations in Kentucky. Transcript  Video


Richard Bellando
Richard Bellando was co-owner and vice president in charge of sales and operations of Churchill Weavers.  Before that, he served as the director of the Berea College Student Crafts Industries.  He graduated from Berea College and did postgraduate work at Vanderbilt University.  He was the first executive director of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen from 1967-1970.  He currently serves on the boards of numerous arts, business, and civic organizations.

Richard talked about the early Guild fairs and the craftspeople who participated in them.  He also discussed running a major crafts business. Transcript (part 1)  Transcript (part 2)  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)


Jerry Workman
Jerry Workman attended Berea College and took a job traveling and demonstrating on the Kentucky Art Train.  He is a past president of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen. He spent most of his career working for Save the Children in Berea where he trained new craftsmen and gave technical assistance to producers in selection of materials, design, and color combinations. He set the direction for Appalachian Fireside Crafts that sells the work of these craftspeople.

Jerry talked about his long involvement with crafts and craftspeople and the need for supporting agencies to help people derive income from crafts. Transcript  Video

Philis Alvic
Philis Alvic is an artist, weaver, and writer, who graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.  She received the Certificate of Excellence from the Handweavers Guild of America, an Al Smith Fellowship, and several grants from the Kentucky Foundation for Women.  She has written many magazine articles and presented academic papers on crafts and crafts history.  Two of her books have been published—one on early 20th century Appalachian weaving centers and the other on crafts of Armenia.  She has been a craft development consultant in thirteen different countries.

Philis talked about living and working in Kentucky since 1976.  She put the growth of the Kentucky craft organizations in the historical context of using crafts as an economic development tool in Appalachia. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)


Paul Hadley       
Paul Hadley married one of the daughters of the founders of Churchill Weavers and eventually took over running the business.  Paul represented the Department of Economic Development (later the Department of Commerce) that financed The Kentucky Art Train when it was set up.

Paul talked about managing Churchill Weavers, one of Kentucky’s largest craft industries, and about his responsibilities with the Department of Economic Development. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2) Video (part 3)


Walter Cornelison
Walter Cornelison has spent over 60 years at Bybee Pottery in Waco.  Webster Cornelison started the business in the early 1800s on land granted to Conrad Cornelison Jr. for service during the Revolutionary War and it has been family operated since. Walter passed away in 2015.

Walter talked about running a family business in a small Kentucky community.  He discussed production management and marketing and participating in early KGAC fairs. Transcript  Video

Joyce Cooper
Joyce Cooper has worked in both candlemaking and in textiles.  She and her woodworker husband ran The Cooper Shop in Old Town, Berea for 14 years. Joyce joined the KGAC in 1967 and is a longtime member of the Southern Highland Craft Guild.

Joyce contrasted exhibiting at the Southern Highlands fair and the KGAC fair.  She discussed working in several craft areas and running a retail crafts business. Transcript   Video


Jim & Nancy Wright
Nancy and Jim Wright met in a pottery class at the University of Illinois.  After getting married in 1961, they taught at a number of different universities and eventually started a pottery in Richmond that is now thirty-five years old.  They are members of the KGAC and the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program, which awarded them Kentucky Crafted Emeritus.

Nancy and Jim talked about the development of a family run ceramics business and how over the years the services available to independent craftspeople have expanded. Transcript  Video


Lila Bellando
Lila Davis Bellando graduated from Berea College and obtained a master's degree at Eastern Kentucky University.  Before becoming co-owner and president of Churchill Weavers in charge of design and product development, she was an elementary art teacher.  She has extensive affiliations, past and present, with boards of arts, civic, and education organizations, including serving as the vice chair of the Kentucky State Board of Education.  In 1988 she received the Education Award, Governor’s Awards in the Arts, for significant contributions to the arts in education.

Lila talked about taking over the Churchill Weavers and how she and her husband guided the businesses until its recent closing.  She also talked about the many craft organizations that Churchill benefited from and that she helped to guide. Transcript  Video


Linda Fifield
Linda Fifield was raised in rural Kentucky with her extended family engaged in functional crafts.  She was inspired by seeing an exhibition at Chicago’s Field Museum and began her exploration of beading.  Linda has evolved a unique presentation of beading over wood turned vessels.

Linda talked about influences of place and family in the development of her career.  She discussed the work and benefits she has derived from participation with many different craft programs in Kentucky. Transcript  Video


Miriam Woolfolk
Miriam Woolfolk joined the Lexington Art League in the mid-1960s and served as president of the board of directors during the mid-1970s.  She helped to start the Woodland Art Fair in Lexington.  She is a painter and has engaged in many different types of crafts.

Miriam talked about the creative process in many different types of media.  She also discussed the role of a local artist support system and her participation with the Lexington art community.

Transcript  Video

Marilyn Moosnick

Marilyn Moosnick was an art activist.  She received the Michael Newton Award presented by the Americans for the Arts for leadership in arts fundraising.  Moosnick was instrumental in starting the Lexington Council of the Arts in 1972 and served as the first chair.  She was on the state arts council under five governors and served as chair.  She lent her support to several craft initiatives in the state.

Marilyn talked about how she became interested in the arts and her many efforts to support arts activities. Transcript (part 1)  Video (part 1) Transcript (part 2) Video (part 2)


Jim Foose
Robert James Foose is a landscape painter, a watercolorist, and a book illustrator. He has taught at the University of Kentucky since 1984 and served as chair of the Art Department.  He was the third president of KGAC.

Jim talked about the KGAC in his and that of his students’ careers.  He had observations on exhibiting at early fairs. Transcript  Video

LaVon Williams

LaVon Von Williams, Jr. is a fifth-generation woodcarver and folk artist and maintains a studio in Lexington.  His work reflects the African-American experience.  He received the Artist Award in the Governor’s Awards in the Arts.

LaVon discusses being a sculptor and folk artist who deals with ethnic subjects. Transcript  Video

Tim Glotzbach
Tim Glotzbach earned a Master of Fine Art in Jewelry/Metalsmithing from Southern Illinois University.  He is the current director of the Berea College Student Crafts Industries and former dean of the Kentucky School of Craft.  He was awarded the Rude Osolnik Award for outstanding individual efforts in crafts advocacy and education, and excellence in personal design and workmanship.

Tim discussed being a craft educator and helping to define some of the major craft institutional programs in the state. Transcript Video

Garry Barker
Garry Barker grew up in Eastern Kentucky and graduated from Berea College.  His first job out of college was working for the Southern Highland Handicraft Guild in the late 1960s.  He returned to Kentucky as the director of KGAC and then moved to Berea College where he held several positions in the crafts program.  He directed the Kentucky Folk Arts Center in Morehead.  Garry is a writer of several books, including The Handcraft Revival in Southern Appalachia, 1930 – 1990 (The University of Tennessee Press, 1991).

Garry talked about promoting and supporting crafts activities in a series of institutions over the years.  He particularly addressed his time as director of KGAC. Transcript (part 1) Video (part 1) Video (part 2)

Joe Molinaro
Joe Molinaro studied ceramics at Ball State University and received a master’s degree from Southern Illinois University.  He now teaches ceramics at Eastern Kentucky University and is a KGAC member.  He has long been interested in the pottery traditions of Ecuador and makes frequent trips there.  He is a Rude Osolnik Award recipient.

Joe talked about the relationships between contemporary and traditional pottery, his own approach to ceramics, and his work with students—both in Kentucky and Ecuador. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)

Anne Ogden
Anne Ogden took the job of craft coordinator with the Kentucky Arts Commission in the late 1970s and quickly acquainted herself with craftspeople around the state.  She made connections in the formative years between the Kentucky Guild, the Craft Marketing Program, and the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation.   She recently retired from working at the J. B. Speed Museum.

Anne discussed the starting of Kentucky Craft Marketing and the Art and Craft Foundation and how it fit with the efforts of KGAC to serve craftspeople. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)

Sarah Frederick
Sarah Frederick has degrees from Mills College and the University of Louisville and has studied at the Massachusetts College of Art and the Haystack Mountain School.  For years she supported herself and her children with pottery business in Louisville.  She is a KGAC member and a Rude Osolnik Award recipient, and a Kentucky Crafted Emeritus designee.

Sarah talked about running a ceramic studio with employees and balancing making a living with also producing art. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)

Wayne Ferguson
Wayne Ferguson attended the University of Kentucky and worked for many years in specialized art programs in public schools throughout the state.  He is interested in pottery of Native Americans, which is reflected in his own work.  He is a Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen member and a Rude Osolnik Award recipient.

Wayne talked about his work with young people and learning from Native Americans.  He discussed the major currents of his production. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)


Crit Luallen
Crit Luallen has been in public service for over 30 years and most recently served as Kentucky State Auditor from 2003 through 2011. Prior to public office, Ms. Luallen served seven years as Secretary of the Governor's Executive Cabinet. During her public service career, Ms. Luallen worked for six governors in the positions of State Budget Director, Secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, Secretary of the State Tourism Cabinet, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of the Arts, and Special Assistant to the Governor. During her state government tenure, Ms. Luallen helped secure funding for the Governor's School for the Arts and the Kentucky History Center. She was also instrumental in the development of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program. She initiated the country’s first economic impact study on craft with an Appalachian Regional Commission grant. The significance of Ms. Luallen's work has been recognized with many honors including the 2011 recipient of the Livingston Taylor Ethics Award and Governing Magazine's Public Official of the Year 2009 Award. Ms. Luallen is a graduate of Centre College, where she serves on the Board of Trustees.

Crit talked about the importance of crafts as economic development in Kentucky and the many different ways that she encouraged crafts as worthy of government resources. Transcript  Video


Lois Mateus
Lois Mateus was the first commissioner for the Department of the Arts under the Brown administration.  She was active in both the creation of the Craft Marketing Program and the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation.  As Arts Commissioner she and her staff oversaw the initial department store promotions, initiated by Phyllis George.  Later she was instrumental in establishing the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and continued on the board until her recent retirement.  After leaving state government she rose to the position of vice president for corporation communications at Brown Forman. 

Lois talked about the sequence of events that led to crafts support by the state.  She also addressed the need for another separate craft organization—The Art and Craft Foundation. Transcript Video


Al Shands

As a young filmmaker Alfred Shands produced 35 documentary films for television and received many distinguished awards.  He and his wife became interested in Kentucky crafts in the early 1970's, ceramics in particular, and set about educating themselves about art and craft.  They put together one of the most significant private collections of contemporary crafts in the country.  Reverend Shands has served on arts boards across Kentucky including the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, University of Kentucky Art Museum in Lexington, Actors Theater of Louisville, Kentucky Opera, Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill, and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.  Shands has also served on many nationally significant boards, including the American Craft Council.

Al talked about the development of the Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts and his wife’s involvement in its history, as well as his involvement in the museums in Louisville. Transcript  Video


Gwen Heffner
Gwen received a Master of Arts from the University of Louisville and became a gallery owner and studio potter.   Gwen is well respected in her field as an artist, workshop presenter (teacher/lecturer), juror, arts consultant, curator, and writer.  She is the recipient of the Al Smith Fellowship and has been presented the Rude Osolnik Award from the Kentucky Arts Council and Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.  She is currently curator and artist liaison for the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea.

Gwen talked about her development as a potter, her involvement in the community as a gallery owner and educator, and the founding and development of the Kentucky Artisan Center. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)


Marlene Grissom
Marlene graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts.  Three years later became a board member of the Art Center Association and in 1965, served as the acting director of the Louisville School of Art.  Marlene opened and directed the Byck Gallery of Art.  She led in the development of the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation (now the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft) including chair of the board.  She is active on many boards and committees serving the community at the local and state level and has received outstanding awards as a woman of distinction in business and the arts.  

Marlene talked about the history of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the integration of the waterfront development and the Fund for the Arts in Louisville. Transcript  Video


Walter Hyleck
Wally Hyleck graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in ceramics and art history from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana.  He was a professor of fine art at Berea College from 1970 - 2008.  He served as director of the Ceramic Apprenticeship Program and chairman of the art department as well as the Berea College Executive Council for several of those years.  As an artist his work has been shown nationally and internationally in several hundred exhibits and is in many public collections.

Wally talked about his life, from being a student of ceramics, to becoming a professor of fine art, and art department chair, at Berea College.  He also gave a tour of his home studio and discussed his ongoing work as a potter. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)

Mary and Robin Reed
Robin and Mary Reed, a husband and wife team, established Appalachian Crafts in 1972.  They operate this small cottage industry from their farm in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky.  The Reeds create baskets and cornhusk dolls and flowers, a crafts tradition which dates back over 300 years.  Robin and Mary have been active members of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program since 1982 and received their Emeritus Award in 2002.  They are members of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft. They are featured in Phyllis George's book "Kentucky Crafted, Handmade and Heart Felt." 

Mary and Robin discussed the history and cultural significance of basket making and cornhusk art, which both go back to early Egyptian times, and the importance of local art and craft organizations in the development and preservation of craft work in Kentucky. Transcript  Video

Carole and Chris Pierce
Carole is a self-taught artist who is inspired by nature.  She is an accomplished weaver and exhibiting member of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.

Chris is a retired Art Education professor from Berea College and Berea Community Schools and continues to direct a summer creative arts program for children.   He is an accomplished artist in mixed media metal jewelry and a member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.

Carole and Chris spoke of their involvement in the Berea community through their craftsmanship and college crafts and teaching.  Carole explained how her interest in weaving lead to her employment and later volunteer activities.  Chris spoke of his medium and teaching position at Berea College.  Transcript  Video

Larry Hackley

Larry Hackley studied ceramics and sculpture and received a Master of Fine Arts in 1973 from the University of Kentucky.  He taught ceramics and design prior to becoming a private folk art dealer.  He opened Hackley Gallery in Winchester in 1995.  He continues to specialize in contemporary folk art. 

Larry spoke of the issues relating to definition, value, and appreciation of folk art in Kentucky.  He shared information on its history and sources. Transcript  Video (part 1) Video (part 2)


Kay Lowe-Masuhr
Kay was deputy commission and later commissioner of the Department of the Arts following Lois Mateus.  She oversaw the early development of the Craft Marketing Program, Kentucky Crafted: The Market, as well as the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, now the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.  She continues to be politically active.  

Kay talked about the significance of craftwork in the cultural heritage of Kentucky and the role government and private initiatives have played in developing the arts and encouraging the growth of markets for quality craft products. Transcript  Video

Minnie Adkins
Minnie is a seasoned woodcarver who started carving in her childhood but did not achieve notoriety until well into her 50's when she received national attention for her whimsical, original carvings, and particularly distinguished herself as a mentor of other folk artists.  She has received many awards for leadership and folk art, as well as an honorary Doctorate from Morehead State University.

Minnie Adkins talked about the role of her husband and others had in her development and the obstacles she had to overcome. Transcript Video


Tim Lewis

Tim began as a maker of decorative walking sticks, but went on to become one of a very few self-taught stone carvers in Kentucky.  His first major recognition came in 1996, when he was commissioned to create a large outdoor piece that became a permanent installation in Atlanta, Georgia and was underwritten by Coca-Cola in honor of the Summer Olympic Games.

Tim Lewis talked about his development from carving sticks to becoming a successful stone carver. Transcript Video


Ronald Cooper
Ronald began making art in the late 1980's when he was already in his late 50's.  Cooper is known for his graphic portrayal of hell and the devil, which he presents in the form of cautionary tales narrated through his pieces.  In 1995 he was honored to receive an Al Smith Fellowship for Individual Artists from the Kentucky Arts Council.

Ronald Cooper talked about the role of religion and narration in his work. Transcript Video


Calvin Cooper
Calvin became known late in life when he began crafting birds and animals assembled out of wood, using specially selected twigs and natural branch formations.   The Cooper Rooster, typically painted in two colors, with white or other colored spots, has become highly recognizable and is sought after by collectors.   He is nationally recognized for his craft.

Calvin Cooper talked about the influence of growing up in Eastern Kentucky and serving as a veteran in WWI. Transcript Video


Donna and Lewis Lamb (daughter and father)

With the support and influence of her father, and some instructional books, Donna Lamb began to build guitars and pursued the art of inlay, using only hand tools. Lewis built string instruments early in his life, out of necessity, because there was no money to purchase one. He farmed and he and Donna still live on the same property where he was born in rural Kentucky.

Donna Lamb tells the story of her interest in music from childhood. Transcript  Video 


Warren May
Warren was born in a log cabin without electricity and was always whittling and making things in his dad’s workshop. He was exposed to gospel and country music and influenced by Homer Ledford.  He received a teaching degree in woodworking and carpentry from Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). While teaching he started building instruments. With his father’s support, he developed his skills as a luthier and opened a retail business in Berea. 

Warren May tells about his rural upbringing and experience as a student at EKU as well as his work as a luthier in retail business in Berea. Transcript  Video I  VideoII


Gary Cotton 
He is accompanied by Dr. John Rice, a friend and avid collector and player of the mandolin. Gary talks about his philosophy as a luthier and gives a description of many of the instruments and their history. He expresses his appreciation for clients such as Dr. Rice, and talks about the information gained by Dr. Rice’s radiology skills by providing x-rays and MRIs of instruments. Transcript  Video


Neil Kendrick
Neil’s father played the guitar and bought one for his children when Neil was 10 years old. Neil built his first guitar from a kit and thereafter learned to make them from scratch using journals and the Internet for instructions.  Homer Ledford was a mentor to Neil. 

He talks about the evolution of machinery and finishing products, materials he likes to use, his customers and his views on apprenticeships and being a luthier as a primary career. Transcript  Video


Cathy Currier
Cathy currently owns and manages a sales and repair business in Richmond where she teaches classes in luthiery.

Cathy describes her history as a luthier, growing up as part of her family’s music store, and studying woodworking and instrument making.  She talks about her decision to do repair work in lieu of building instruments, the challenge of being a problem-solver, making her own tools, collecting string instruments, the ongoing changes in instruments, the value of networking with other luthiers, and the enjoyment of her informal music club. Transcript  VideoI


George Wakim
George is a self-taught violin player whose talents led him to perform with Homer Ledford and Jean Ritchie.  He bought a violin from J.B. Miller and began to experiment with repair.  He spent time observing what J.B. did in his shop and J.B. allowed him to use his tools and provided advice.  George continues to play Middle Eastern music in Lexington and in his native country, Lebanon.

The interview starts with George playing the Oud, an instrument from Syria that he became familiar with while living in the Middle East. George reviews his history of discovering string instruments in this region and coming to the United States in 1984 to study engineering at the University of Kentucky.  He talks of his musical pursuits in Kentucky and the designs and acoustic effects of making the Oud. Transcript  VideoI  VideoII


Roy Bowen, Scott Leedy, and Monti Weaver
Roy grew up in Winchester where he still lives.  He played in bands throughout junior and senior high.  He developed his skills as a woodworker and worked in a repair shop in Lexington to gain experience.  

Scott lived in different locations in central Kentucky as a child.  He learned bass guitar and drums and played with friends in bands.  He was working in construction cabinet shops when he answered an ad for repair work that Roy had listed.  They worked out of Roy’s basement repairing instruments and it soon became clear that there was a need for a full-time luthier service.  

Monti is from London, Kentucky.  After working as a car mechanic for several years, he heard about Roy and Scott's business and applied for a job.  He assists in building the guitars and works in the paint studio applying the various colors that customers choose.

Roy tells how playing in bands and needing to repair his own instruments lead to his current career.

Scott talks about his childhood interest in music and how he became an employee and later, a partner of Roy's in business.  They talk about the recent use of a CNC machine and the shifting to computerization and growing the business.  Roy and Scott reflect on going into business on their own and offer advice to others considering this. Transcript  VideoI


Ron Pen
Ron grew up in Chicago and began piano at an early age, but guitar later became his passion.  He was Chair of the Fine Arts Department at the Latin School of Chicago and subsequently chair of the Fine Arts Department at Saint Martin's School in New Orleans.  Ron’s mother’s family was from Kentucky, so Ron moved to the University of Kentucky to pursue his doctorate.  This led to his authorship of a book on John Jacob Niles and his appreciation for instrument makers. 

Ron talked of the differences in the behavior of children from differing socio-economic families.  He speaks of his childhood in Chicago and his search to find the history of the guitar that took him to Ireland and Scotland.  He reviews his education and how he ended up at the University of Kentucky.  The interview ends with him reflecting on the changing technology and the use of computers in making instruments. Transcript  Video


Art Mize
Art was raised in rural Kentucky in a religious environment that did not allow the playing of instruments and limited singing to religious hymns.  In spite of this, his family obtained string instruments and played together in their home.  In sixth grade his dad was transferred to northern Illinois where Art had private violin lessons and played in the school orchestra.  Two years later the family moved back to Kentucky where he encountered blue grass, jazz and other diverse types of music. He was influenced by Ron Pen, Homer Ledford, whose band he played with, and J.B. Miller.

Art discusses his personal history, his admiration and apprenticeship with JB Miller.  He showed samples of violins from various European countries. Transcript  VideoI  VideoII

Steve Rigsby
A trumpet player since fourth grade, he majored in music at Morehead State University.  He taught music, retiring after 27 years.  An uncle gave him a guitar that he repaired, since there were no luthiers in the area.  He later took an instrument repair class at MSU, where he found his talent.  Restoration became an interest and he worked in many repairs shops before opening his own in Lexington.

Steve talks about the influence of his family, his experience at Eastern Kentucky University, and his career as a music teacher before becoming a luthier.  He defines the difference between restoration and repair and explains his definition of a luthier.  He talks about the certification required to work for dealers, the local woods he uses, the need to involve the musician when performing a set up, and the business side of making parts. Transcript  VideoI   VideoII


Frank Neat
Frank bought his first banjo in 1965, as a teenager, after seeing a neighbor play one.  He met a luthier who piqued his curiosity and soon after was offered a job making banjos.  Many of the old banjos needed neck repair or replacement, which Frank became proficient at doing. He works with his son Ricky, who specializes in inlay.

Frank talks about his first banjo that he played as a teenager and his exposure to a luthier shortly thereafter who influenced him.  He reviews the history of the Gibson banjo, which was initially used by bluegrass musicians in the 1920’s. He talks about three-finger banjo picking, its history, banjo parts, banjo players who use his instruments, bluegrass musicians and, what influences the quality of the banjo. Transcript  
VideoI  VideoII


Arthur Hatfield
Arthur Hatfield built his first banjo as a young teenager, but chose to become a cabinet maker. At the age of 50, he became a full-time luthier.  He refers to himself as an instrument maker, which in his mind differs from a luthier. 

He discusses the challenges of being a luthier, his one-man operation, and the differences between repair work and restoration, which defines his interpretation of being a professional. He also demonstrates the building of a banjo. Transcript ​VideoI  VideoII


Harry Bickel

A dentist by trade, Harry became interested in stringed instruments in the 1960’s when he met Bluegrass musicians in Louisville.  He purchased an old Victorian home and rented rooms to musicians.  A band was formed and he soon learned how to repair and make parts needed for restorations from one of the tenants.  His basement became his workshop and business grew as his reputation spread. 

Harry’s interview contains detailed technical information regarding different types of instruments and a description of the services he provides. Transcript  Video

Gary Cornett
Gary was born and raised in Layson, where he still lives.  His mother sang gospel in the church choir and his dad was a woodworker.  He learned skills from both.  He owned a blacktop paving company until a few years ago, when he was badly injured.  He became a self-taught luthier and learned from extensive reading.  While passionate about building guitars, he can also do repairs on many different types of string instruments.  He is proficient at inlaying, making parts and constructing instruments.  He prefers that his wife do the finishing work.  He doesn’t want an apprentice but hopes a grandchild will carry on with the business.

Gary talks about the special wood he uses and gives us a tour of the studio describing his process and tools.  The interview ends with the interviewer, Jesse Wells, playing a guitar that Gary recently completed. Transcript  Video

Raymond McLain
Raymond first touched an instrument shortly after he learned to walk and was fascinated by the resonating tone of the strings.  As a youngster he joined his family as a player in their consortium of string instruments.  The McLain family band soon became a weekly television show, which ended when the family moved to Berea when he was 17 years old.  The family band continued to perform and traveled abroad, performing in 53 countries. While living in Berea, he became friends with Homer Ledford, whose support he feels was critical to his family’s success.  He often had to repair his own instruments while on the road; he does not consider himself a luthier. He is currently the director of the traditional music school in Morehead.

Raymond talks about the importance of music and the value of an academic setting where Appalachian music is studied. Transcript



Wayne Andrews
As President of Morehead State University, Wayne Andrews presided over the opening of the new Traditional Music School in 2012, which offers the first traditional music Bachelor’s Degree in Kentucky.  Dr. Andrews was Raymond McLain's student before coming to Kentucky 

His interview contains segments with the school’s director, Raymond McLain, who demonstrates the banjo and sings a duet with Dr. Andrews. Transcript 

Kenny and Buddy Ratliff
Kenny didn’t have a mentor other than his father, Buddy, which he remembers first watching at the age of three.  He began playing violin at age seven and built his first violin in sculpture class at Morehead State University.  He designed the instrument to look old by limiting the finish and distressing the wood.  He is talented in painting and carving, which adds a unique quality and craftsmanship to the design.  He enjoys writing personal notes inside the instruments to reflect what is happening in his personal life at the time.  In 1987 Kenny began to build mandolins’ which obtained a better tone and sold well.

Buddy played classical music on the guitar before playing the fiddle.  His first fiddle was a gift from an uncle.  He opened it to make a repair and became familiar with the construction.

Kenny tells of the influence of his father and his experience at Eastern Kentucky University in instrument making as well as his decision to build mandolins as a luthier. Buddy talks about his first fiddle and how he became familiar with its construction and repair. He has passed this knowledge on to his sons, Kenny and Steve. Transcript  

Susan Goldstein

Susan is an artist, curator, and art collector.  She graduated from the University of Vermont with a B.A. in Elementary Education and earned a M.A. degree in Counseling Psychology from Tuft's University and taught in the public school system.  An innovative clay artist, her work has been included in many national and regional exhibitions, including the Governor's Mansion in Frankfort and the Congressional Office Building in Washington DC.  She has numerous past and present board affiliations including the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, the Lexington Art League, Lexington Fayette County Government, and the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, where she served as president.  In 2009, she was nominated by the Lexington Arts Council to receive the National Philanthropy Day Award.  She is the founding president for the Kentucky Craft History & Education Association (KCHEA).

Susan speaks of her childhood love of working with her hand and how she never considered it to be a vocation, so she followed in her family’s tradition by obtaining a degree in educational counseling.  She talks of her love of craft, taking a ceramics course, and becoming an artist.  Susan speaks of her gratitude to the Lexington Art League for presenting her work in a solo show and how it led to her involvement as a volunteer.  She recounts her journey from that time, to directing four city galleries, becoming the president of the Kentucky Guild, to being inspired to found KCHEA. Transcript Video

Nancy Atcher

Nancy has a B.S. in business from Indiana University.  In 1983, she was the first executive director of the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, now known as the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville, Kentucky.  In 1987, she joined the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program, a program of the Kentucky Arts Council, where she assisted in orchestrating many successful initiatives.  In 2001, she coordinated the Program’s Product Development Initiative, teaming with artists, craftspeople, and retailers to build a retail program for Kentucky products.  Since her retirement in 2008, she has served on various community boards and committees in Frankfort including the BlueGrass Theater Guild, First United Methodist Church Fine Arts Committee, and the Art in the Gardens at Liberty Hall Steering Committee.  She held the position of secretary for the Kentucky Craft History & Education Association from July 2010 to June 2015.

In her interview, Nancy traces her personal growth from high school on and talks about her employment at the Kentucky Art & Craft Foundation, following her return to college.  Her story of working in the arts includes the development of the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program and Kentucky Crafted: The Market.  She enjoyed being part of these organizations, helping in their growth which has been an important part of Kentucky’s craft heritage. Transcript Video


Mary Stuart Reichard
In 1996, Mary Stuart Reichard received a B.A. in biology and art from the University of Louisville. She has worked in fiber for many years, taking classes in Kentucky and surrounding states.  She has taught in public and private schools, owned and operated a gift shop, taught at the Louisville Science Center, and led classes and public tours at The Falls of the Ohio.  She has volunteered extensively at the Louisville Science Center, the Little Loomhouse, and the Lou Tate Foundation.  She is a juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen (KGAC) in textiles.  She served as president for KGAC, 1995-1996.  During her tenure she was instrumental in obtaining financial aid for artists in Berea as well as organizing a committee to promote the concept of an artisans’ center in Berea.  She is on the board for the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville.  Currently, she works in the fiber arts and teaches her granddaughters her love for creating with fibers.

Mary Stuart discusses stories about her family history and how handwork was a tradition passed down from one generation of women to the next.  She talks about combining science and art in her teaching career.  Mary shares her involvement with the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, from beginning as an artist to becoming president of the board, and her views on how it has changed over the years. Transcript Video

Anne Barnes Bird

As a child, Anne Barnes Bird’s grandmother introduced her to her passion for yarns and fabrics and her mother encouraged her to create her own designs.  Anne earned a M.A. in teaching in creative arts from the University of Louisville.  She has taught all ages from kindergarten through high school and at the college level beginning in 1975. Anne is an exhibiting member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsman (KGAC) and served as president in 1993-1994. She is member of the Handweavers Guild of America, LAFTA, and TNNA, and exhibits annually at the St. James Court Art Show.  In 1982, Anne opened Designs in Textiles where she teaches textile classes and sells supplies and equipment.  She is a board member and past–president of the Louisville Craftsmen’s Guild, and the Lou Tate Foundation.  She is the senior faculty member of the Clarksville Community School Corporation, teaching all areas of high school art.  She enjoys spinning yarn and felting hats.


Anne speaks about her experience with the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen, the development of the organization, and the introduction of workshops in design, business, and presentation.  She discusses her current teaching job and responsibilities in professional educational organizations. Transcript Video


Ruth Ann Iwanski (Lewis Newman & Anna Hicks)

Sister Ruth Ann Iwanski was born in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin.  She has a B.A. degree from Alverno College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a M.A. degree from Webster College in Webster Groves, Missouri, and a M.A. degree from Texas Woman’s University.  From 1969 to 1976, she held several teaching positions in Wisconsin and Texas.  She served at St. Francis School for developmentally disabled children in Freeport, Illinois, as a consultant for adapted physical education, recreation therapy and research (1976-1984), and as administrator of the school (1984-1996).  She was director of David Craft Center in David, Kentucky (1996-2013) and, since 2013, has served as an instructor at Mountain Comprehensive Care in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.  Sister Ruth Ann currently resides in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.  

Ruth Ann talks about the St.Vincent Mission and the establishment of David Appalachian Crafts (DAC), a church owned enterprise, and its growth through the 17 years of her employment.  She discusses how it is being affected by economic concerns in the craft industry and other related changes.  Lewis Newman and Anna Hicks join her part way into the interview and recount their personal stories of their childhood and how they came to Kentucky.  They speak about how the DAC affected not only their lives as artists, but the whole community. Transcript Video

B. Terry Ratliff

Terry Ratliff was born in eastern Kentucky and when he was twelve years-old his family moved to Indiana for employment.  He attended community college in Kentucky and transferred to the University of Kentucky obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mental health.  He worked for several years in community mental health in eastern Kentucky.  After losing his job due to funding cuts, he helped a friend build a log house and then built one for his own family.  He began building furniture.  Wanting to learn all he could, he studied traditional furniture makers.  For 8 years he used only a shaving horse and a drawknife, and eventually added a drill press for making holes.  He has been making chairs for more than 35 years.  Terry was a regular demonstrator at the Kentucky Folklife Festival and an instructor for Family Folk week at the Hindman Settlement School.  He is currently teaching woodworking at the Kentucky School of Craft.

Terry talks about his return to the land, the home of his grandparents, and the impact of the nature-filled environment on his work.  Terry reviews his involvement and the encouragement he received from Kentucky art organizations such as the Kentucky Arts Council and the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, and the effect of the book on crafts written by Phyllis George.  Terry gives an overview of life as an artist, his personal growth and success, and his outlook for others who wish to become independent craftspeople. Transcript Video

Ed Brinkman

Ed Brinkman was hired as the second Director of the Kentucky Guild Train. He held that position until 1967 when he and his wife Judy moved back to Penland, North Carolina. Before taking the position with the Guild he taught ceramics at the Penland School of Crafts. Both he and Judy, a noted weaver, worked together planning exhibits and demonstrating their craft in the various Kentucky cities that hosted the Guild Train.

During his interview Mr. Brinkman chronicled his tenure with the Guild and the day to day operations of the program along with some personal stories dealing with visitors and Guild officials. Transcript Video

Dr. James Middleton

Dr. Middleton was born and raised in Hart County, Kentucky, the center of a two-hundred year-old, regional basket making tradition that has evolved into what is now called the Mammoth Cave White Oak Baskets.  Growing up, Jim developed a strong appreciation for many types of beautiful baskets made for homes and tourists who traveled along Highway 31W on their way to Mammoth Cave and points south.  After starting his family medical practice, he decided to help conserve this rich tradition by sponsoring an annual basket making contest at the Hart County Fair each Fourth of July.  He bought the winning baskets from all the many categories and displayed them on the walls of his large meandering Family Medical Clinic of Hart County.  Baskets cover nearly every wall, which both honors the makers in the community and serves as the museum of Hart County baskets.  In 2001, Jim helped establish the Mammoth Cave Basket Makers Guild.  He continues to support their efforts to preserve and promote traditional basket making.

In his interview, James explores his love of baskets and his efforts to conserve the traditions through collecting winning baskets and displaying them in his clinic. Transcript Video

Leona Waddell
Leona Waddell was born in 1928 into a family of basket makers.  Like many similar families, they traded baskets for groceries and clothing.  When Leona started her own family, she sold baskets to the stands along Dixie Highway, where tourists purchased the distinctive Hart County baskets.  Later, a broker sold them to upscale stores in New York.  Because she was never recognized or paid what her baskets were worth, out of frustration she quit basket making for 17 years and worked various jobs, such as a seamstress and cook.  She retired in 1997 and began making baskets again to earn a little extra money, which changed when she won first prize at the Hart County Fair.  Encouraged, she refined her technique and began making a wider variety of baskets, finally receiving the recognition and fair price she deserved.  In 2001, she helped found the Mammoth Cave Basket Makers Guild to preserve and promote traditional basket making of the south central Kentucky.  In 2012, Leona was awarded the Kentucky Governor’s Folk Heritage Award.  One of her baskets is on exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Leona talks about her place in the Hart County basket tradition—one of the strongest regional craft traditions in the Commonwealth. Transcript  Video

Tim Hall
Tim was a frame carpenter who found himself out of work when interest rates shot up in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.  With time on his hands, he turned to his hobby of wood carving ducks, birds, and wildflowers.  Tim attended the first Kentucky Crafted show in 1982 at the Kentucky Horse Park and sold everything, which launched his new career as a full-time woodcarver.  His work has been presented to dignitaries foreign and domestic by Kentucky Governors, including Queen Elizabeth II of England.  Tim’s carved ornament hung on the White House Christmas tree during the George W. Bush administration.  He traveled to Japan where a replica of his studio was constructed for him to demonstrate his wood carving.

Tim talks about how he draws his inspiration from nature and his surroundings.  He is still studying and trying to improve with each piece he makes.  He credits God for giving him an opportunity to do what he loves and signs all his pieces with “Made by Tim Hall with God’s help.” Transcript Video

Jennifer Zurick
Jennifer is a self-taught artist specializing in black willow bark, which she has been harvesting and weaving into baskets since 1980.  She is the recipient of a 2010 United States Artists Fellowship, two Kentucky Arts Council Artist Fellowships, and was selected for the 1999 Kentucky Arts Council Cultural Exchange Residency in Ecuador.  Her work is included in a number of museum collections, including the Renwick Gallery at the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.  She has won prizes and awards at national exhibitions and shows. 

Jennifer talks about the process of gathering and preparing the willow bark for weaving her baskets.  She speaks of the influences that her international travels have had on the development of her baskets. Transcript  Video

Rebekka Seigel
Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Rebekka Seigel is a textile artist living in Owen County, Kentucky.  Her grandmother was a quilter, and her daughter is an artist.  Rebekka makes art quilts, carrying on the skills she learned from her grandmother and passing on her passion for art to her daughter.  Her work has been included in exhibitions around the country, including in the American Quilt Society’s annual competition, in which she has won awards on three occasions.  Her quilts are part of the permanent collection of the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History.  For decades she shared her love of quilting and art with school children across the Commonwealth as an artist-in-residence for the Kentucky Arts Council.  In 1995 she traveled to Northern Ireland as an artist-in-residence.

Rebekka’s interview is about her life and art.  She talks about her family connections in the arts and the satisfaction from engaging children in the hands-on process of sewing and creating. Transcript Video

Craig Dial
Bringing a background in retail, Craig Dial came from Kansas in 1987 to be the director of Red Bird Mission Crafts in Beverly, Kentucky. He held his position at the Mission for 27 years. The goal of the Mission being to increase income for the rural Southeastern Appalachian community families. Craig discussed the role of the Mission in supporting craft producers in the surrounding region in Eastern Kentucky. He reviewed his efforts to assist craftspeople in producing high quality crafts, helping them choose their products, purchasing materials at wholesale, pricing their products, and introducing them to computers.

He talked about how the Mission purchased their crafts and then sold them in the Mission store or at craft shows, both wholesale and retail across the country. He covers the role of Methodist churches in supporting the Mission through local shows and helping to reduce costs. Transcript Video

Elmer Lucille Allen
Born in Louisville in 1931, Elmer grew up in the racially segregated West End. She was a graduate of Central High School, earned a BA at Nazareth College (Spalding University) in 1953, and a masters in chemistry at the University of Louisville in 2002. She was the first African-American chemist at Brown-Forman Corporation and retired as a Senior Analytical Chemist after 31 years. She is both a ceramic and fiber artist, learning to sew as a child, and taking her first pottery classes at a neighborhood church. She would continue her art studies at the University of Louisville. Her large Shibori inspired fabric works as well as her nonfunctional ceramic teapots have been widely recognized. Her artwork has been featured in hundreds of exhibits and received numerous awards. She has a long history of community involvement and support for the arts. In her interview, she talked about her life growing up in Louisville and her influences.

She discusses her educational experiences during segregated times and her career at Brown Forman and how she developed an interest in art and pursued it in the community and at the University of Louisville. She speaks of her commitment to teaching others in the community while she continues to learn her craft. Transcript I Video I  Transcript II Video II


Neil and Mary Colmer

Neil came to Berea College from Southeast Ohio in 1968 and was assigned to work in the weavery where he fell in love with the traditional patterns. Mary came to Berea from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to attend the Christmas Country Dance school. They met at the dance and eventually married in 1977.  Neil worked at Fort Boonesborough State Park and Churchill Weavers before opening a studio in Berea in 1984.  Mary was a doll maker and learned to make corn shuck dolls from Jean Ritchie’s sister.  To date she has made 11,779 corn shucks dolls.


Neil and Mary talk about how they met and their life’s work together.  They have had their shop open in Berea for more than 30 years and hope to retire and close the shop this year. Transcript Video

Warren Brunner
Warren was born in 1928 in Wisconsin.  He studied photography at Winonna Institute of Photography in Indiana. In 1954 he came to Berea to work for Mrs. Mattson and ended up buying her studio in 1960.  During the “War on Poverty” era he worked for over 30 different agencies documenting both the people and the scenic beauty of the Appalachian region.

Warren talks about his career in photography and the many places it has taken him. He has worked with many noted individuals such as Gurney Norman, Loyal Jones, Tom Boyd, James Still, Bob Gates and Al Fritsch. He has published eleven books of his photos, in collaboration with some of the above mentioned people documenting the people and places of Appalachia. He has donated his photo collection to Berea College. Transcript Video

John Taylor

John Taylor is the son of John B. Taylor who acquired Louisville Pottery in 1938 and formed the JB Taylor Company. He placed his name on the bottom of the pieces and transformed the pottery into a major supplier of dishware, flowerpots and bakeware. Under John Taylor’s leadership new patterns and shapes were created. He marketed his dishes throughout the country and created several designs that are still produced today at Louisville Stoneware. Many patterns have come and gone over the years with several still painted today. One of the most popular patterns – Bachelor Button – was created during Taylor’s tenure by artist Edith Ellis. Mamie Eisenhower had this pattern as her every day dishes in the White House. John’s dad sold the pottery to John Robertson in 1970 who changed the name to Louisville Stoneware.


John talked his life and work at Louisville Stoneware, originally founded in 1815. Transcript Video

Judy Sizemore

Judy Sizemore is a freelance writer, arts and cultural consultant, community artist and teaching artist. She serves as an arts education consultant to Kentucky Educational Television, the University of Kentucky Department of Anthropology and several school districts, focusing on integrating arts across the curriculum and 21st Century Learning Skills/Unbridled Learning. She developed the Arts across the Curriculum Program for the City of Berea and helps to coordinate the city’s annual Festival of Learnshops. She was instrumental in developing the Community Scholars Program of the Kentucky Folklife Program. She is certified as both a Community Scholar and Community Scholar Trainer and serves as a cultural researcher for Berea College External Programs. She has developed regional and community-based cultural heritage driving tours, cell phone tours, and cultural websites. Sizemore served as outreach director for the Kentucky Arts Council for four years and before that as a regional circuit rider for the Kentucky Arts Council in Eastern Kentucky.


Judy talked about her life as an artist and work with artists throughout Kentucky over the years after she moved to the state with her husband. Transcript Video

Dobree Adams

Dobree is an artist working in weaving and felt and also photography.  Although born in Mississippi, she was raised in Kentucky.  A Wellesley College graduate, she started her working life on the West Coast in computer project management.   She returned to Kentucky and now lives on a farm outside of Frankfort.

She talks about her creative process and the importance of spinning and dyeing her own yarns.  She, also, outlines the development of her artistic career from influential workshops to exhibitions both nationally and internationally.   Starting with recording inspirational natural scenes, photography has developed into another mode of expression.  Most recently, she has been exploring the creative possibilities of felting. Transcript Video

Lou Deluca
Lou grew up in Wilmington, Delaware.  When he was thirteen years old he was sent to prep school in New Haven, CT. then received a BA in Political Science and Government from Yale, a Bachelor of Law from University of Colorado at Boulder.  He returned to Delaware to work in his father’s law firm for a few years before deciding he didn’t like it and returned to school at Harvard where he received a degree in MCP Urban Studies/Affairs.  His career includes being a city planner for New Haven, CT, Assistant Dean & Associate Professor at Yale School of Art & Architecture.  He came to the University of Kentucky in the early 1970’s to be the Director of the Mountain Program and lecturer in the School of Architecture.  From there he went to Frankfort and worked as the Director of Arts & Humanities in the KY Department of Educations, the Executive Director of the Kentucky Arts Council and Deputy Secretary of the cabinet for Education, Arts & Humanities before retiring in 2003.

Lou talked about his career as an arts administrator in various positions with Kentucky State Government.  Transcript Video

Victoria Faoro

Victoria was born and raised in upper New York State.  She attended the University at Albany, (SUNY) were she earned a Bachelor’s (1971) and Master’s (1972) degree in English Language and Literature/Letters.  For the next twenty years she taught middle and high school English, was a writer, editor, and adjunct instructor, and executive director of the Community Arts Council before becoming the Executive Editor for the American Quilter Society Magazine and their books.  In 1991 Victoria came to Kentucky and became the founding Executive Director of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah.  She was there for over 10 years and during her time the Museum received the KY Governor’s Award in the Arts in 2011.  In 2001 she became the founding Executive Director of the KY Artisan Center in Berea.  The Center was awarded the Governor’s Award in the Arts in 2013.  Victoria retired from there in 2016.


Victoria talked about how she came to Kentucky to establish the National Quilt Museum in Paducah and then being the founding Director of the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. Transcript Video

Craft Luminary Oral Histories Listing (PDF)

Di Teresa
Bellando, R
Cooper, J
Bellando, L
Lewis, T
Cooper, R
Cooper, C
Cornett, G
Ratliff, K & B
Ratliff, T
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