Market Fair Vendor Spotlight: Old Dominion Forge and J. Henderson Artifacts

The wood is chopped, the rat catcher is ready, and we’ve warned the neighbors we’ll be shooting off cannons–Market Fair preparations are underway! Today for our Vendor Spotlight, we’re talking to purveyors of tablewares–Kyle of Old Dominion Forge and Tracy and Jay of J. Henderson Artifacts. Read on to learn more about the manufacture of historic cutlery and the production of stoneware!

Here’s what Kyle of Old Dominion Forge has to say about his practice and his Market Fair experiences.


Kyle at work in the forge. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion Forge. 

My main focus is in making cutlery; reproductions of the knives and swords that would have been used in colonial America. I got started making knives in the mid-90s, but had been working in the forge for several years before, making period fireplace tools, cooking utensils, and other colonial period ironwork. In addition to my blade work, I also offer reproduction and original colonial pewter, nicely scrimshawed powder horns made by my dad, and an ever-changing assortment of high quality, artisan made reproductions.

I’ve been to every Market Fair, except one. I think one of the best things about the Locust Grove Market Fair is the period feel of the event. The house and grounds make a great backdrop, and the high-quality and dedication of those attending make it one of the best. Setting up for an show such as the Market Fair can be a lot of work, but of course I enjoy seeing all my friends and also getting to talk customers about my work.

Seriously, keeping stocked is one of my greatest challenges. A tremendous number of hours goes into each project I make. It can take months to build enough to cover one show.

Some of the other events I can be found at include: Ft. DeChartres 18th century Market Fair, The Fair at New Boston, and the Fort Frederick Market Fair. Indoor shows include: Conner The Longrifles Antique Arms Show, The Contemporary Longrifle Association Annual Show, and the Kalamazoo Living History show.

Market Fair is an amazing gathering of some of the most talented artisans in the Midwest. The Fair pulls in some nationally known artists, several of who have been selected for Early American Life Magazine’s annual Directory of Traditional American Crafts. If its pottery, hand-weaving, fine furniture, ironwork, tinsmithing, leatherwork, etc. that you are looking for Market Fair has work from some of the best 18th century artisans in the country.


Some of Kyle’s handiwork. Photo courtesy of Old Dominion Forge. 

For the next part of our table setting, we turn to Tracy and Jay of J. Henderson Artifacts in Southern Indiana.


J. Henderson is a popular staple of Market Fair.

We’ve been attending Market Fair for a while, and we’ve been established tradespeople since 1999. Jay and I both apprenticed at Dakota Stoneware in Bushnell, SD. Jay was there for about 8 years, me for 2, before we started our own business. Our specialty is wood-fired salt-glazed stoneware, in historical designs. We travel the eastern US to historic shows and sites, mainly in the spring and fall. Our home and studio are in south central Indiana.

We really enjoy Market Fair’s 18th century atmosphere, being part of a quality event, and getting to see all of our traveling friends before winter. It’s always a challenge being a self employed artist, and Market Fair has always been our last event of the year, a chance to catch up with some of our favorite people before we switch over to off-season mode.

We are so pleased to welcome Kyle, Tracy, and Jay back to Market Fair this year! Look for them October 29-30! It’ll be another wonderful year of fun and frolic.

Yours sincerely,


Market Fair Vendor Spotlight: Peggy of Loom Hall

Market Fair is almost here! This year’s event will be held October 29-30, 10am-4:30pm each day. We so look forward to this event this year, because it means we can really travel back to the 18th century, and we get to see old friends from around the country gathered together! Our vendor spotlights over the next few weeks will highlight some of the wonderful people who help make Market Fair so fun and authentic with their goods and trades! Let’s start with Peggy, from Loom Hall Textiles!


Peggy at her loom. Photo courtesy of Loom Hall. 


I’ve been hand-weaving and creating handspun yarn for a fairly long time. I’m still learning from researching historic textiles and from interacting with others in the trade.  I learned to weave during the Bicentennial of our nation, so history seems to have been a large part of my fibercraft career. Raising sheep for 4-H, and later as an adult, has given me an appreciation for taking raw fleece through the entire process of washing, carding, spinning and dyeing yarn to use in creating handwoven textiles. Since then I have focused on applying the skills and knowledge necessary to create heirloom-quality textiles inspired by those of the 18th and early 19th century. My husband and I live in southern Indiana, on the farm originally owned by my great-grandparents, and we raise Shetland sheep, Jersey cattle, and Angora goats.

Last year was my first year as a vendor at the Market Fair, my husband and I enjoyed it very much! It’s a wonderful event; we heard so many positive comments from the visiting public, and enjoyed making or renewing acquaintance with the other re-enactors, both merchants and military. Our friend Madeline Norman, of Ballyhoo Farm, brought some of her sheep, and they were quite popular the entire weekend.

I like visiting with other craftsmen at 18th century events. What I enjoy most, though, is helping people understand how textiles are made, how we appreciate our flocks and our tools and equipment, and that it is entirely possible to create items of value and usefulness by employing processes and tools from two centuries ago.

The challenges of my trade are to keep learning, continue researching, and to share with and learn from others of the same trade and those who are in the museum or re-enacting communities. Sourcing quality materials is a challenge to some weavers, but our flock of Shetland sheep provide the raw material of locally-grown fleece that’s spun into wool yarns for weaving blankets, coverlets, and for knitting. Probably the most amusing challenge is to help the public, who may be first-time attendees at historic events, understand why we would want to “spend time making things when they sell that a lot cheaper at Walmart.” They have no idea that the historic approach to craftsmanship is light-years removed from the modern industrial, factory-produced product with planned-obsolescence and profit margin as key driving factors. What we do takes time, care, craftsmanship, expertise, and more, and results in useful and beautiful objects, like a woven coverlet or a sgraffito-decorated redware platter, that will last much longer and whose origin is known to us, because we made it or we know the artist who did.


Peggy’s handiwork. Photo courtesy of Loom Hall.


Peggy’s craftsmanship on display. Photo courtesy of Loom Hall.

Besides the October Locust Grove Market Fair, I am an exhibitor/vendor at several 18th century and living history events primarily in Indiana, such as the Vincennes Rendezvous in May, the 1812 Muster at Musee de Venoge in June, Locust Grove’s Hemp Festival, and contemporary events such as Mack’s Merry Market Holiday Show in Terre Haute and Christmas in New Harmony.

Being a craftsman-vendor at Market Fair is a great experience, we meet so many interesting people, and each person who comes into the booth or watches the spinning or weaving demo has some kind of feedback or question for us. I guess what I look forward to the most is the moment when the historic tent is up, my booth is filled with textiles and yarns I have created, and I put on the “costume” of a shift, short-gown, petticoats, apron, and daycap, and step into the 18th century. Walking along the lane of Locust Grove, stepping over fallen walnuts and autumn leaves, and smelling the wood smoke of the re-enactor’s cooking fires…..there is nothing like that to bring peace and contentment, and a sense of adventure.  We can’t wait for the Fair weekend to begin!


Thanks for sharing, Peggy! We can’t wait to have you (and the sheep!) back again at Locust Grove.

With deepest regards,


Volunteer Spotlight: Claudia R.

One of the best parts of working at Locust Grove is sharing the stories of early Kentucky and the Croghan and Clark families with all the schoolchildren who come through our doors every year. We have many wonderful docents who dedicate their weekday mornings to leading students on tours of the house and outbuildings, talking to them about everything under the sun, from fireplaces to hearth cooking to dyeing. One of these intrepid volunteers is Claudia R., a retired teacher who has been volunteering at Locust Grove since 1994. Read on to learn more about Claudia and what she loves about Locust Grove!


When she’s not at Locust Grove, Claudia spends her time chasing after her grandchildren!

What is your volunteer position at Locust Grove? 
Docent, mostly for school tours

How did you become a volunteer? 
I started out on the Education Committee and then served on the Board. Gwynne Potts was one of my sorority sisters, and talked me into becoming a docent when I was retiring from teaching and serving at the Kentucky Department of Education. After I was on the Board, I started thinking “I really ought to learn enough to be a docent.”

What is your favorite part of volunteering at Locust Grove? 
I prefer field trips because of my 30-odd years as a teacher. I love meeting people and talking to the people who come in. I like telling the Croghan story and the story of this family and this place–it’s wonderful.
What else would you like people to know about you? 
My biggest hobbies are doing wildflower walks in Cherokee Park and bicycling. I’m a big wildflower enthusiast. I also enjoy traveling by bicycle! It’s an interesting way to see a country.

Those school tours are certainly lucky to have a guide as enthusiastic as Claudia teach them about Locust Grove! For more information on volunteering at Locust Grove, why not go here? And if you’re interested in being featured or nominating someone for the volunteer spotlight, go ahead and fill out this form. And to all of our volunteers–-thank you for helping us share Locust Grove with the world–we couldn’t do it without you!

Very truly yours,


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