Artisans prepare for this weekend’s Sheltowee Artisan Fair – The Story of the Commonwealth Journal | Ad On Picture

Are you looking for a unique Christmas present, a decorative piece for your home or a unique jewellery? You’ve come to the right place at the Sheltowee Artisans Art Fair this weekend.

On Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the annual market place of the local artist guild takes place in the Center for Rural Development

Admission is free for visitors, but prepare to find something you can’t live without.

Among the expected 80 artisans who will be vendors at the show are some well-known artisans from Somerset and Pulaski, while others hail from surrounding areas such as Nicholasville, Lexington, Parkers Lake, Yosemite, Richmond, London and Berea.

Skills include woodworking, leatherworking, painting, quilting, basket weaving, photography, jewelry making, candle making and clay sculpting.

Two of those who have signed up to exhibit their wares this year are relatively new to the show. Zoe Shephard Gilmore returns for her sophomore year showing off her macrame work while Janet Moran makes her debut with her art quilts.

Some may ask, “What is art quilting?”

“Traditional quilts are art, don’t get me wrong, and I still make traditional quilts. But I also make art,” Moran said.

This means using quilting techniques and fabrics to create a piece that is meant to be placed on a wall and viewed rather than used.

“Actually, a lot of them are framed because that’s the best way for me to show them,” she said.

“I see it as painting with fabric. I tell a story with fabric. … It amazes me that I can take a blank piece of cloth and paint on it and do all sorts of things. But if you give me a blank canvas, there’s nothing I can do.”

Moran has been quilting for 33 years, beginning when she lived in England as part of a US Army family.

She then lived in Texas, where she owned a quilt shop and sewing machine dealership with a business partner for 10 years.

“I wanted to get into art quilting, and my clients wanted to stay traditional,” she said. So, after a few years, it was time to give up the business and make the kind of pieces she envisioned.

She and her husband moved to Somerset just a few years ago – in the midst of COVID, she said.

She learned about the Sheltowee Guild through the local newspaper and attended last year’s show.

She later met Sheltowee Chairman David Spillman, who invited her to run for jury duty.

She said she brought some of her finest pieces and an anonymous panel of other craftsmen thought them to be of excellent quality.

“You don’t have to be perfect or a master or anything, but they still make sure you know what you’re doing,” she said.

The Sheltowee Guild was not their first jury, nor is Somerset their first arts-centric community. She is affiliated with the Chicken Farm Art Center in San Angelo, Texas, she said, where she has her own studio and teaches classes.

“San Angelo had something like I see in Somerset – and again I’m super excited about it. San Angelo had a really strong, active artist community. And I see that in Somerset. I didn’t know that when I moved to Somerset and I’m really glad to see that.”

Shephard Gilmore hasn’t been crafting as long as Moran, but she got her start at an early age when her mother taught her how to tie small trinkets with macrame.

Then, at the age of 19, she took it up again to do something to unwind in the evenings.

“A few years later, here we are,” she said.

In addition to macrame, Shephard Gilmore makes some abstract fiber art.

“Everything I make is hand-tied. No needles or tools, just lots of knots with my hands,” she laughed.

Shephard Gilmore said she has a full-time job between crafting and teaching yoga. Some of her macrame pieces are artistic while others are functional.

“I create a lot of different things with macrame, I do a lot of home decor, like wall pieces, and functional things like plant hangers, key rings, jewelry, even clothing decorated with macrame. But I also like to do more abstract, artistic work. I like to do really big work. That costs a lot of cable and time.”

She was introduced to the guild by a friend, Jade Ellis of A Bazaar Universe, and said it was easy for her to get on the jury.

“Last year was my first year at the Sheltowee Artisan Fair. It was a really nice introduction to the local craft community so I look forward to returning.”

Moran is also looking forward to this weekend. “You can talk to people and get answers from people about how they see your work. It’s nice to get that feedback from people,” she said.

Leave a Comment