Sunday, January 29, 2012

Meet you at Market!

Setting up the 'architectural artist' booth at Market last spring
Kentucky holds the distinction of being one of the few states to sponsor a wholesale show for its art and craft businesses. So last year at the Kentucky Arts Council's (KAC's) 4 day spring event known as "Kentucky Crafted: The Market" (most artists, simply refer to the event as "Market") I volunteered at the Architectural Artists' Booth passing out fliers and talking with patrons. As event-goers walked through the exhibit, sometimes I knew the other architectural artists work and sometimes I didn't.

"Who does this amazing work?" - Well, if I was LUCKY I'd say, "My friend Craig Kaviar made that piece. He has his own booth here at Market, if you'd like to see more..." and then I'd pull out the directory map and point them in the right direction. Sometimes I'd have to say, "I don't know, Let's check the tag,". But I was certain to know the answer the next time someone asked.

A lot of the architectural artists don't have their own booths and wouldn't otherwise be represented at Market. Most people don't know that they have the opportunity to get custom work installed in their own home, custom made & installed by fabulously talented artists. 

So this is how I came across the work of another woman blacksmith, born on January 17th. I'm not sure what the chances are, of one state having 2 woman blacksmiths with the same birthday, but I think it's pretty cool.
At last spring's Market I came across this beautiful lock 
set on a table in a corner, and it hadn't been getting a lot of attention. "Look at this thing!" I heard someone say, and I walked over to acknowledge the fine craftsmanship myself, too. "Yes, That is amazing. It says here, it's made by 'Marsha Nelson'". And I read them her bio and made sure they left with a full-color KAC booklet listing all of the architectural artists & photos of Marsha's (& everyone's) work.

The following Fall Matthew and I had a client who asked us about some great big door pulls for his front doors. "The only thing more fun, would be a great big key and it clanked as I turned it," the client said. 
"I think we can make that happen," I replied,
 reminding my husband of Marsha's work
Custom lock set by Marsha Nelson
that I had seen at Market the spring before.

We called Marsha and asked her if she would be interested in being commissioned by one of our clients to make this custom lock, with a "great big key". She said "sure!" and got to work after we measured, planned our piece to fit with it, and sent her dimensions. After many months of cutting, hammering & whitesmithing (whitesmithing is the finishing work done to the cold metal... like endless hours of filing and polishing when the steel is cold, not glowing hot like when the blacksmith works it) Marsha was finished & tonight she delivered it to our home, with her husband Kyle Meadows.

Can't wait to install it with our door pulls tomorrow.

I am so proud of the fine craftsmanship found here in Kentucky and the work of our Arts Council to promote them.
This spring Market is the first days of March, and this year it is the Convention Center in Lexington. More info here:


  1. Wonderful blog entry! It was great to meet you both. I am amazed that it turns out Matthew and I have some friends in common, and even worked at the same apple orchard in Hendersonville, NC!

  2. It was nice to meet you and Marsha too, Kyle. I'm still amazed as well about the orchard.

    Good Blog entry , Karine. Go KAC!!