Basketmaking in South Central Kentucky Narrative Stage

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Two baskets made by the Long Family. Although many baskets made in South Central Kentucky are made out of white oak, the Longs use willow and honeysuckle.

This event has been cancelled due to weather, but will be rescheduled soon. Stay tuned!

Basketmaking is one of the most longstanding and vibrant traditional art forms in the Mammoth Cave region. Although most baskets in South Central Kentucky are made of white oak, other basketmaking traditions exist as well, such as willow and honeysuckle. Join fieldworker Josh Chrysler and special guests Charles, Charlene, and Brandon Long at Mammoth Cave National Park on July 28 for a discussion of the willow and honeysuckle basketmaking traditions in their family. Topics of discussion include the utilitarian and artistic elements of the baskets and the role that basketmaking has played for the Longs.

This free event will take place in the park amphitheater on Tuesday, July 28, at 7:30 PM. Contact Chrysler at chrysler.joshua@gmail.com for more information.

Hunters and their Dogs in the Mammoth Cave Region

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Hunters in the Mammoth Cave region of south-central Kentucky have been training dogs to aid in hunting for generations. Different game requires different breeds of dogs that are specifically bred and trained for their unique hunting and tracking skills. Join Folklorist-in-the-Park Josh Chrysler and special guests, John Meredith, a rabbit hunter and his Beagle; Tommy Smith, a coon and squirrel hunter and his Treeing Walker Coonhound; and Heather Streible, a duck and goose hunter and her Labrador Retriever, for a discussion of the hunting traditions in the Mammoth Cave area.

This discussion will be held at Mammoth Cave National Park’s ampitheater at 7:30 p.m. Contact Chrysler at chrysler.joshua@gmail.com for more information.

Funding for this event and supporting research was provided by an NEA ArtWorks grant.

See photos from this past event below.

Travel Exhibit Panels on Display at Taylor Co. Public Library

In early 2014, KFP began working on a set of exhibit panels discussing Kentucky’s white oak basket-making tradition. Funded by a recently awarded NEA ArtWorks grant, these free-standing, 3′ x 7′ retractable panels incorporate images of basket-makers, their work, and the life narratives of these artists to help contextualize this important local tradition for a wide audience. To enhance the project and provide an even greater understanding of this important regional tradition, we have written additional funding into the grant to bring basket-makers into each library location for hands-on demonstrations and discussion about their work.

These six panels, previously in Glasgow at the Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library, have moved on to the Taylor Co. Public Library, where they will stay through the first week of August. Beth Hester of Basket Maker’s Catalog will join the library at 5:30 p.m. on August 6 for a lecture and workshop. The lecture portion is open to all, but the hour-long workshop is limited to 20 participants. Contact Jessie Harden, Adult Services Librarian, at jessieharden@tcplibrary.org to register.

See photos from our last workshop on June 23 at theMary Wood Weldon Memorial Library below

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KFP Partnering with Mammoth Cave National Park for Summer Survey

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Josh Chrysler, a recent graduate of WKU’s Folk Studies program, will act as Folklorist in the Park at Mammoth Cave.

The Kentucky Folklife Program is partnering with Mammoth Cave National Park for a special 2015 summer-long, National Endowment for the Arts-sponsored project, titled Folklorist in the Park. The Kentucky Folklife Program has hired Josh Chrysler, a recent graduate from WKU’s Folk Studies master’s program, to work as the Folklorist in the Park.

This will be done through ethnographic interviews, oral histories and photography, which will be placed in the Folklife Archives in the Kentucky Museum at WKU, as well as with the archives at Mammoth Cave National Park. The Kentucky Folklife Program will then be working with Mammoth Cave National Park staff to create special events, such as evening folklife presentations at the Park, to showcase the traditional culture and arts of the region to both park visitors and community members. These programs will be occurring later as the summer progresses. Since 1989, the mission of the Kentucky Folklife Program has been to engage with Kentucky communities to document, present and conserve the diverse traditional arts and cultural heritage of the entire state. This summer, Chrysler and the Kentucky Folklife Program will be focusing on documenting the traditional culture, arts and music of the Mammoth Cave region.

Brent Björkman, director of the Kentucky Folklife Program as well as the Kentucky Museum, emphasized the importance of this project: “This kind of documentation and presentation at the Park really emphasizes the fact that the traditional arts and cultural heritage of the Mammoth Cave region are not just important historically, but they are also dynamically alive today, and vitally important to the community. This project celebrates both the history of the Mammoth Cave region and its future moving forward.”

Chrysler and the Kentucky Folklife Program would also like to ask for help in this project. If you or anybody you know practices a traditional skill or art, including but not limited to basketmaking, quilting, traditional music, hunting practices, traditional food preparation or recipes, comment on this post or contact Chrysler directly at (270) 791-8653. Chrysler has already begun work on the project, and will continue through the end of August 2015.

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Traveling Exhibit Panels in Glasgow

In early 2014, KFP began working on a set of exhibit panels discussing Kentucky’s white oak basket-making tradition. Funded by a recently awarded NEA ArtWorks grant, these free-standing, 3′ x 7′ retractable panels incorporate images of basket-makers, their work, and the life narratives of these artists to help contextualize this important local tradition for a wide audience. To enhance the project and provide an even greater understanding of this important regional tradition, we have written additional funding into the grant to bring basket-makers into each library location for hands-on demonstrations and discussion about their work.

These six panels, previously in Morgantown at the Butler Co. Public Library, have moved on to the Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library, where they will stay until the end of next month. Beth Hester of Basket Maker’s Catalog will join the library at 5 p.m. on June 23 for a lecture and workshop. Contact Amy Tollison, Adult Services Specialist, at atollison@weldonpubliclibrary.org to sign up.

See photos from our last workshop on May 13 at the Butler Co. Public Library below.

Traveling Exhibit Panels Moving On

In early 2014, KFP began working on a set of exhibit panels discussing Kentucky’s white oak basketmaking tradition. Funded by a recently awarded NEA ArtWorks grant, these free-standing, 3′ x 7′ retractable panels incorporate images of basketmakers, their work, and the life narratives of these artists to help contextualize this important local tradition for a wide audience. To enhance the project and provide an even greater understanding of this important regional tradition, we have written additional funding into the grant to bring basketmakers into each library location for hands-on demonstrations and discussion about their work.

These six panels are currently at the Hardin County Public Library, but will be moving on to the Butler County Public Library in Morgantown on April 9. Beth Hester of Basket Maker’s Catalog will join the library at 11 a.m. on May 13 for a lecture and workshop. Contact Kenna Martin, director of the Butler County Public Library, at kenna.martin@bcplky.org to sign up.

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Kentucky Strings: Bluegrass & Beyond

In collaboration with the WKU Cultural Enhancement Series, the Kentucky Folklife Program is excited to host “Kentucky Strings: Bluegrass Music and Beyond,” a showcase of Kentucky’s traditional acoustic music, on April 16 from noon to 6 p.m. Featured performers include Dale Ann Bradley, Kentucky Wild Horse, Mt. Victor Revue, The Pennyrilers, The Carmonas, Becky & the Butler County Boys, and Kentucky Just Us.

Plans for the afternoon include two participatory narrative stages with musicians Dale Ann Bradley and John Harrod (Kentucky Wild Horse). From 2 p.m. to 3 p.m., Harrod will discuss his experiences documenting, teaching, and disseminating Kentucky’s traditional fiddle styles. From 3 p.m. to 4 p.m., Bradley, five-time winner of IBMA’s Female Vocalist of the Year award, will lead a discussion on women in songwriting.

Both the concert and narrative stages are free and open to the public. The main stage will overlook WKU’s South Lawn, directly behind the Downing Student Union. Visitors are welcome to bring camping chairs, blankets, and coolers, although WKU strictly enforces a dry campus policy. Narrative stages will be held indoors in the union’s auditorium.

Free on-campus parking will be available for attendees at Parking Structure 2, situated between the Houchens Industries L.T. Smith Stadium and Diddle Arena. Free parking is available everywhere on campus after 4:30 p.m. CT, with the exception of parking meters. Please refer to this campus parking map when planning your visit.

Above: From left to right, Becky & the Butler County Boys, The Carmonas, and Kentucky Just Us. All three groups successfully auditioned to perform for “Kentucky Strings: Bluegrass Music and Beyond.” Photos courtesy of William Kolb, special to Potter College.

Paddy Bowman Visits WKU

KFP and the Department of Folk Studies & Anthropology are excited to welcome Paddy Bowman, director of Local Learning: The National Network for Folk Arts in Education, to Western for a short residency during the month of April. In addition to working with students and faculty, Bowman will give a public presentation entitled “Dress to Express” on Tuesday, April 14, at the Kentucky Museum. Details below.paddy

Photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Arts

Spring 2015 Pioneer Cabin Concert

The Kentucky Folklife Program is excited to welcome 2001 NEA National Heritage Fellow Eddie Pennington and his son, Alonzo Pennington, to the cabin on Sunday, March 1, at 4 p.m. for this semester’s Pioneer Cabin Concert.

Recognized among his peers as one of the best living thumb-style guitarists, Eddie plays in the style of Western Kentucky’s own Merle Travis.

Hear Eddie play and explain the Muhlenberg County style in this video from the Kentucky Arts Council:

No tickets are needed for this performance, although seating is extremely limited. Please email us at cabinconcerts@wku.edu to reserve a spot by February 27. There is a $10 entrance fee charged at the door to cover costs. Children 13 and younger do not need to pay, but please include them in your reservations.