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Contents:
Program 1204

1. jewelry artist Ray Bridewell
2. the Shannon Lamp Service
3. mystery writer Laurien Berenson
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Campbell County

For more information:
Bridewell Frost and Form, (859) 491-3402

Producer: Cheryl Beckley
Videographer: David Brinkley
Editor: D. Anthony Noel


Born of Fire

Jewelry designer Ray Bridewell

When most artists take the pot out of the kiln, they’re nearing the end of the creation process. But for Ray Bridewell, that’s just the beginning.

While making some pottery one day in 2000, Ray noticed that the runoff from the glaze had formed delicate, multicolored crystals. Usually these leavings are just part of what’s thrown out when the oven is cleaned. But their beauty got him to thinking about some other possibilities. These days, he stokes up his kiln (to 2,300 degrees) not to fire pots but to deliberately create these “trash” crystals of quartz. Then he shapes and polishes them and wraps them in hand-crafted strands of sterling silver—a process that may take several months—to create one-of-a-kind pendants and earrings.

By experimenting with various glaze ingredients, Ray has learned to turn out a range of colors. But exactly what will emerge each time the kiln cools down is always a mystery. As it solidifies, the quartz may form flowers, snowflakes, starbursts, or some other pattern. The unpredictability means that each finished piece of jewelry is truly a unique creation.

A Northern Kentucky University graduate, Ray operates his studio and online sales business out of his home in Bellevue. When not working on his delicate creations, he is usually traveling throughout the region to show them off, hoping to expand his market.

Watch This Story (5:53)




Fayette County

For more information:
Shannon Lamp Service Inc., 1210 N. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40505, (859) 255-5285

Producer, editor: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Amelia Cutadean


Lighting the Way

Shannon Lamp Service

The wares of Shannon Lamp Service in Lexington aren’t made from trash, but some of them do start from unexpected sources. The family-run business has created lamps from Army surplus ammunition cases (with camouflage shades, of course), bowling pins, old roller skates, minnow buckets, a child’s toy playhouse, and even a mannequin leg (à la A Christmas Story). For a radio broadcaster, Shannon’s turned an old cart machine—a machine that plays pre-recorded cartridges, much like the eight-track players of the 1970s—into a lamp that turns on when you insert the cart and switches off when you push Eject. When we visited, Shannon’s was working on another special project with a broadcasting connection: A local radio show challenged the company’s boast that “We can make a lamp out of anything” by commissioning a lamp to be made from a guitar autographed by country star Clint Black.

The family-run business, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2006, also manufactures lampshades on-site and sells a wide variety of other lamps, including Aladdin-style and other oil lamps and restored antique varieties, as well as replacement parts.

The business got its start in 1956, when Coleman Shannon opened a copper and brass plating shop in a Quonset hut near downtown Lexington, using a 1938 Plymouth to make his deliveries. Shannon’s moved a few times before settling into the current location, a former residence that’s been extensively remodeled and added to. Over the years, lamps moved from a sideline to the main focus, and various members of Coleman’s family joined him as the business expanded. The shade-making operation (under the brand name Shamrock shades) was added in 1972. Recently, the family has also branched out into chair caning.

Since Shannon’s is based in Central Kentucky, it makes sense that certain types of novelty lamps would be steady sellers: UK Wildcats, Cincinnati Reds, and of course horse-themed creations are always popular in the area. But in 2005, one of those “went national” thanks to a film. A scene in the movie Dreamer set in the Dakota Fanning character’s bedroom prompted numerous calls to the studio asking where people could get the lamp seen briefly in the background, which featured an animated silhouette of a horse. The answer? Shannon Lamp Service, of course.

Watch This Story (7:12)




Woodford County

For more information:
LaurienBerenson.com

Producer, editor: Valerie Trimble
Videographer: Prentice Walker
Audio: Brent Abshear
Editor: Jim Piston


It’s a Mystery

Writer Laurien Berenson

Like Ray Bridewell, Laurien Berenson says that the results of her artistic process can be quite surprising. The mystery author confesses that sometimes even she doesn’t know “whodunit” until after she’s finished writing.

Laurien is the author of the popular Melanie Travis mystery series, in which the co-stars are dogs—poodles, like the ones she herself lives with, or beagles, Labradors, or cocker spaniels.

A native of Connecticut, Laurien recently moved to Versailles, where she and her husband also have established a small thoroughbred racing operation. The farm is something of a dream come true for the writer, who has had a passion for riding ever since childhood. When we visited, she was even thinking about a possible new series of mystery novels that would involve horses.

Watch This Story (9:39)


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