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Contents:
Program 706

1. Yardbirds
2. blacksmith Dick Wright
3. space-age design
4. Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge
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Jefferson County

For more information:
Bandana/Yardbirds, 2921 S. 2nd St., Louisville, KY 40208, (502) 637-8752

Producer, videographer, editor: Cheryl Beckley


The Art of Junk

Yardbirds and more

Where others see junk, the imaginative artisans at Louisville’s Bandana/Yardbirds see potential art—and a business opportunity. They turn discarded garden tools and oddly shaped pieces of scrap metal into fanciful animal sculptures. Trowels become beaks, rakes turn into rows of toes or fanned-out tails, pipes and washers are transformed into legs and eyes, and voilà! A bird nature never envisioned is ready for a bright paint job and a new life serving as a colorful accent for someone’s home or yard.

Birds of all shapes and sizes are still the company mainstay. But over the past several years, the line of critters produced by Yardbirds has expanded to include insects, frogs, the occasional cat—and yes, junkyard dogs.

In this visit, owner Richard Kolb, welder/designer Doug Dobson, and production manager Philip Smith show you around and describe the creative and sometimes serendipitous process by which one person’s trash becomes another person’s art.




Oldham County

Producer, videographer, editor: Cheryl Beckley


The Wright Stuff

Blacksmith Dick Wright

Working in metal is hardly a new art, of course. Our next segment spotlights a man who would be quite at home talking shop with the Yardbirds folks about heat tolerances and stress factors and metal-shaping techniques. But his methods and his products are of a much more traditional variety. Dick Wright of Oldham County carries on the ancient art of blacksmithing, using techniques that harken back to the days when even the garden implements themselves were hand-crafted.




Jefferson County

Producer, videographer, editor: Ernie Lee Martin


Back to the Future

Seeking out space-age design

Now, it’s “retro.” But then, it was a designer’s vision of the future.

Nancy Farmer of Louisville collects examples of “space-age” design. This craze of the late 1950s and ’60s, inspired by Sputnik and the ensuing space race between the United States and the USSR, found its way into everything from TV shows and movies (like the highly influential 2001: A Space Odyssey) to fashion. Even in a state that’s always been better known for celebrating tradition, Farmer has found plenty of examples of “futuristic” design in automobiles, buildings, and home furnishings. In this segment, she takes viewers along to see some of her favorite finds from her travels around Kentucky.

So far, of course, the 21st century isn’t looking much like the way it was envisioned in The Jetsons. And the “space-age” artifacts of 40 or more years ago are now themselves something of a reason for nostalgia. But they also raise fascinating questions about how we imagine the future—and why things turned out so differently from what the designers predicted.




Marshall County

For more information:
Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge, P.O. Box 89, Benton, KY 42025, (270) 527-5770

Producer, videographer: Gale Worth
Editor: Dan Taulbee


Wet and Wild

Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge

To close out this episode of Kentucky Life, we circle back around to birds—but this time of the flesh-and-feathers variety. Host Dave Shuffett joins manager Rick Huffines for a tour of the Clark’s River National Wildlife Refuge in Western Kentucky, a haven for migratory fowl from mallards to peregrine falcons to bald eagles.

Located along the East Fork of the Clark’s River near Benton, the refuge is the first National Wildlife Refuge to be designated entirely within Kentucky’s borders. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is still negotiating land purchases; eventually, Clark’s River NWR may total more than 18,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods in Marshall, McCracken, and Graves counties.

The lands preserved so far are open to the public. If you go, you’ll find plenty of water: In fact, the refuge’s outstanding natural value is that it represents a rare untouched wetland. That makes wading birds such as herons and egrets a likely sight during migration seasons. Natives such as wild turkeys and white-tail deer live there all year long.

Fishing and non-motorized boating are permitted.


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