Market Fair Vendor Spotlight: 96 District Fabrics

The wait is almost over–Market Fair is this weekend! The event runs 10am-4:30pm daily on Saturday, October 29, and Sunday, October 30. We’ll have new activities and vendors, but lots of familiar faces as well, including the subject of our last vendor spotlight. Beth of 96 District Fabrics graciously agreed to tell us about her life with period fabrics! Take it away, Beth!

My husband Jimmy and I own 96 District Fabrics and we sell period appropriate fabrics, patterns and sewing accessories for reenactors. We bought the business five years ago from friends and we quit our jobs and took on this business full time. We plan to continue with this career path until it is no longer enjoyable.

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The 96 District Team, Beth and Jimmy. Photo courtesy of 96 District Fabrics. 

 

This will be our fifth year in attendance at  Market Fair. We do quite a few different time periods and we look forward to seeing our friends from different regions and time periods. We never have a dull moment! It’s exciting to be a merchant … getting to help people create their custom outfits and helping them pick just the right fabric for just the right project.  We look forward to seeing what our customers have created from previous years purchases and getting involved in what new projects and ideas they have for their next undertaking. Most of the fabrics we carry were created for a different purpose whether it be for quilting, curtains or upholstery. Not just reenactors buy our products as many people appreciate good quality all natural fabrics. Something of which you don’t find very often in modern fabric stores. One of our main challenges is continuously searching for period appropriate fabrics at an affordable price for our customers.

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Silks and ribbons and more! Photo courtesy of 96 District Fabrics. 

We attend 25 to 30 events a year while some are only a weekend others last a week and one even lasts for two weeks. Customers can look up our website and see what events we will be attending throughout the year. We are only a phone call or email away!

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Look for the 96 District Tent this weekend! Photo courtesy of Heather Hiner. 

Thanks, Beth! We can’t wait to see you this weekend and see all the treasures you have with you!

We hope to see all of you at Market Fair this weekend–the sheep are returning, children can muster with the militia, there will be music and games and shopping and delicious food–truly, what more could you want? Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for children. Check our website and this blog before you visit for the full schedule of events. We’ll also have updates on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  If you see your friendly neighborhood blogger Hannah racing around with a camera, please say hello! It’s always a pleasure to meet new friends. Meet you in the 18th century!

Humbly yours,

Hannah

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

Recreating 1816: Costumed Interpreters at Locust Grove

It’s an exciting time of year here at Locust Grove, as we look forward to all the fun events coming up in 2016. Our intrepid volunteer cast of Costumed Interpreters are looking for a few good men and women to join the cast of Croghan and Clark family members, neighbors, and friends. Today, Amy L., the corps’ Theatrical Director who portrays Emilia Clark, is our guest blogger, presenting 10 Frequently Asked Questions About the First Person Interpreter Program. Take it away, Amy!

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The 2015 Costumed Interpreter Corps at Christmastide. Photo courtesy of Fox and Rose Photography.
#10 Are you hot?
It’s Kentucky in July. Next question.
#9 What is the First Person Interpreter program, anyway?
We are an amateur cast of volunteer performers who combine our love of interactive theater with a passion for history. First person interpreters are cast in the roles of members of the Croghan and Clark families as well as other notable Louisvillians with a connection to Locust Grove.
Interactive theater means that we are in character any time we are out and dressed on the property, but unlike going to a play, we are interacting with Locust Grove’s visitors. Most of what we do involves improvisational theater. The goal of this program is to bring Locust Grove alive the way it would have been in 1816; full of sounds, movement, and people!
Interpreters are present in the house and grounds of Locust Grove at many events such as Gardner’s Fair and Antiques Market. We are also able to take center stage on the Fourth of July and at Christmastide. Our goal is to continue integrating ourselves into Locust Grove’s programming- but to do that, we need volunteers!
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Charles and Nicholas survey Locust Grove from the porch with their cousin, Eloise Bullitt, Summer 2015.
#8 Is there a script?
Many people ask us if we have a script. Since most of what we do is improvisational, in the strictest sense the answer is ‘no’, but that does not mean you are on your own or that we just ‘make everything up’.
The closest thing we have to a traditional script would be the wonderful transcriptions of the letters and other documents the Croghan and Clark families left behind. We study material culture and day to day life to present the frame that important historical events took place in.
Many interpreters also take on individual research projects on an aspect of material culture which interests them, such as painting, sewing, or games of the period.
During rehearsals and workshops, we practice taking this information and discussing it in a natural, conversational style. For example, since we interpret the year 1816, we spend a good deal of time talking about the process Indiana statehood as it unfolded throughout the year.
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Amy as Emilia Clarke speaks to guests to Locust Grove. Photo Courtesy of Fox and Rose Photography.
#7 Are you wearing stays?
Yep! See #3
#6 How do I get involved?
Locust Grove will be holding auditions for the program at 6:30 pm on Tuesday, April 5th. If you absolutely cannot make that time but would like to participate, we can schedule another audition time for you. To set up an audition email Locust Grove’s Program Coordinator Brian Cushing at bcushing@locustgrove.org.
After you have scheduled your audition we will send you a few monologues to choose from. These are taken from letters Written by members of the Croghan family. At your audition, you will read the monologue of your choice.
There will also be an improvisational component to your audition. We will ask you to pretend that you are an interpreter portraying a member of the Croghan family, and a member of the audition panel will pretend to be a Locust Grove guest who asks you questions. This is NOT a history test- we just want to see if you are comfortable interacting with visitors in an improvisational environment.
Since we are recreating 1816 at Locust Grove, we are limited to a set cast list based on who we know was in Louisville at the time. As with any audition process, we cannot guarantee anyone a place in the cast.
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Noah H. as Charles Croghan and Sam L. as William Croghan, Jr. face off in a game of checkers. Photo courtesy of Fox and Rose Photography.
#5 Do I have to have a background in theater?
No! Many of our performers have extensive amateur resumes, while others had never acted before joining the cast. Some of them have joined the program in order to push themselves past their comfort zone by doing something new.
#4 What happens if I am cast?
Then grasshopper, your training begins.
Before anyone performs as an interpreter, they must complete a series of workshops. These are designed to prepare you to discuss historical events and daily life in 1816 Louisville. All interpreters are required to complete six workshops per year, and new participants must complete workshops on the history of the home, clothing of the period, and physical characterization and character development before they can perform at Locust Grove.
We actually offer far more than 6 workshops per year, so cast members with different schedules have the opportunity to fulfill these requirements. You will also have to have approved clothing to venture out in.
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Amy works with Jocelyn and Noah H. during a CI workshop.
#3 Are costumes provided, or will I have to make my own?
All clothing worn in this program has to pass approval by the Costume Director. Since we are a living museum display, our clothing has to meet the same standards as any static display in the house.
Most first person interpreters provide all of their own costumes. We are able to provide some costuming for first year participants to help you get started, though this is limited to what is available in the Locust Grove stash and available on a first come, first serve, basis.
We want to empower our volunteers to take ownership of their impression and clothing is a significant buy-in that accomplishes this.
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Brian Cushing and Brandon V. work on a piece for the reenactment of the 1822 wedding Ann Croghan to General Thomas Jesup.
#2 Do I need to know how to sew?
No! We are also committed to helping our folks learn to be self-sufficient and create their own clothing. We currently have several workshops scheduled on the clothing of the period and how to create it.
For those of you who choose to ‘sew with your wallet’, we will help you find an approved tailor to work with.
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Mia S. works on a wardrobe piece.
#1 And the most important thing to know about this program- We work hard, and we play hard!
We recognize that we are asking a lot of our volunteer interpreters, so possibly the most amazing thing about this program is how consistently our cast continues to raise the bar and surpass even our expectations.
Being a part of this program really is an amazing rush, and at the end of the day, even if we are tired and our feet hurt, none of us would trade one second for a quiet day at home.
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Such silliness! Photo courtesy of Fox and Rose Photography.

Thanks so much, Amy! Check here for the full audition notice, check us out on Facebook, or contact Brian Cushing at bcushing@locustgrove.org. Break a leg, everyone!
Theatrically yours,
Hannah