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.

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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.

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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.

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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,

Hannah

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