To see some of the best hand made furniture, quilts, pottery, and about 20 different art forms, all you have to do is drive to Downtown Hindman. That's where the Appalachian Artisan Center is and our destination for our final One Tank Trip of 2007.
Opening the doors to the Appalachian Artisan Center is like stepping inside the upscale art and history center of the region.
"It's only artwork by East Kentucky artists. Many of these artists, it's the only place they sell their work," said Stuart Burrill, Executive Director of the Appalachian Artisan Center.
So far, about 150 artists from 49 counties have been juried in to sell their work at the center. Five professional artists critique the work to make sure only the best represent Appalachia.
"You can come here and buy this beautiful handmade furniture, sometimes meet the person who's making, or at least find out a lot more about the person who made it, whose actual hands made it, not machines in China. This was made right here in East Kentucky for you," Burrill said.
Even the door to the Appalachian Artisan Center was hand crafted by an East Kentucky artisan and if you're a craftsman yourself, you can develop your skills right here in Hindman. People who would like to start their own business, can rent a space through the artisan center to make their artwork. Straight from San Diego, master artist in residence, Todd Partridge, now has a chance to live a dream.
"I've got a line of benches that I've been making that I want to continue on," Partridge said.
With equipment and workable wood available at the center, Partridge can create a variety of pieces while perfecting his craft.
"Most the work I do are one of a kind pieces, really high end, rather expensive work and I'm looking to develop a line of work which is a little bit more affordable," Partridge said.
Being on Main Street in Hindman, you can come in and chat with the actual artists and sometimes request custom details. Here it's the details and background of a piece that adds to its value. Jan Stanfill uses her Eastern Kentucky roots for inspiration.
"A lot of my pieces are dogwoods. I actually spent my summers on a farm with no electricity so I learned to do quilting and soap making," Stanfill said.
The artwork will soon also serve as décor for the center's new cafe, opening soon.