It’s been 200 years since Indiana became a state.
A part of the bicentennial celebration is honoring and preserving historical art, crafts and craftsmanship.
Imagine the skill and artistry needed to change a piece of wood into an Indiana shaped bowl, or create a leaf from a piece of iron. It’s all about saluting Indiana’s heritage.
Between the sounds of iron smacking the anvil, to a hand crafted tool hewing wood to make a bowl. Two men preserve history, one swipe at a time.
“We don’t want to lose those things,” says Keith Ruble. “And it’s important to teach other people to keep those crafts alive.”
With the Indiana bicentennial this year, Indiana folk arts is showcasing talented artisans throughout the entire state.
Parke County’s John Bennett, has 40 years of experience with metal working and more than 15 years with blacksmithing.
“What blacksmithing gives people, it’s like woodworking,” says Bennett. “It’s like a lot of the old crafts. It takes time. It takes a lot of time.”
From quilting and doll making to violin making and wood carving, Indiana’s history is preserved in more ways than just books.
“Most of what I make is going to be here long after I’m gone, long after I’m gone,” says Bennett. “So you make something that is timeless. It’s always going to be there.”
Traditional Arts Indiana works to record, showcase and celebrate the exclusive arts and cultural traditions of Hoosiers. Vigo County wood-worker, Keith Ruble, believes it’s worth the effort.
“It’s amazing how many people out there who are interested in learning how to do this,” says Ruble. “And it’s just something you can’t pick up and learn. It takes lots of years and years of practice to hand do what I do.”
According to their catalog, the Indiana folk arts: 200 years of Tradition and Innovation traveling exhibit represents a decade’s worth of work.
Events for 2016 are as follows:
9th: Traditional Arts Indiana Along the Ohio River, Clifty Falls State Park
5th-21st: Indiana State Fair, Indiana Arts Building
3rd: Fiber Arts Weekend, Spring Mill State Park
10th: Heritage Arts with Traditional Arts Indiana, Salamonie Reservoir
17th: Lotus Festival, Bloomington
18th: State Bicentennial Torch Relay, Lanier Mansion State Historic Site
1st: Harvest Festival and Craft Fair, Harmonie State Park
15th: Traditional Arts Indiana Artisans, Brown County State Park
15th: Hoosier Homecoming, Indiana State House