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Program 109

1. quilt artist Rebekka Seigel
2. the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum
3. sculptor Rodney Hayes
4. Fort Boonesborough
Season One Menu

For more information:
• Rebekka Seigel, Quilt Artz, P.O. Box 172, Owenton, KY 40359, (502) 484-2970

Producer: Charlee Heaton Pagoulatos
Videographer: Gale Worth

Cover Art

Quilt artist Rebekka Seigel

Though located right in the middle of the “Golden Triangle” formed by Louisville, Lexington, and Cincinnati, Owen County is still largely rural. In the last few decades, it has attracted a number of artists and craftspeople. Here they can find an idyllic country life while being close enough to several big cities to be within easy reach of plenty of potential customers.

Rebekka Seigel and her husband, Greg, are among them. Greg is a potter who specializes in whimsical animal figures and garden sculptures. Rebekka, the subject of this profile, is a fiber artist of growing reputation.

She didn’t exactly start out as a “fiber artist,” though. Her quilting grew out of need and family tradition. Pregnant with her first child and drawing on what her own mother had taught her, she took up quilting because it seemed a practical, “motherly” thing to do. But she soon discovered the artist within, and today her highly original designs are in gallery and private collections. She has also become active in art education.

In this visit, she is at work on one of her “paper doll” quilts celebrating the lives of notable women. Tiny detachable outfits, representing what the subject might have worn at different times, are incorporated into the overall design of each quilt in this series.

For more information:
Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, Benham, KY 40807, (606) 848-1530. The Benham Lynch Coal Mining Communities page has a map and links to video and audio clips about the history of the area.

Producer/videographer: Gale Worth
Editor: Dan Taulbee

Underground History

The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum

Our next segment is an introduction to the story of coal mining in Kentucky, courtesy of the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum, opened in 1994 in Benham. Its four floors of exhibits pay tribute to generations of miners and give visitors a taste of this difficult and dangerous work. In addition to contemporary equipment, exhibits of items and photos from the past reach back to the days when oxen and mules provided the muscle for hauling. Visitors also can tour a small mock underground mine; plans call for a more extensive underground exhibit to be opened just down the road in Lynch.

Benham, on U.S. 119 in Harlan County, was a company town, built in 1911 by International Harvester, which had bought up land in the area to mine coal to feed its steel-making operations. The museum is located in the building that was the miners’ commissary.

In addition to mining artifacts, the Kentucky Coal Mining Museum houses items donated by Kentucky’s most famous “coal miner’s daughter,” Loretta Lynn. KET’s Carolyn Gwinn is the on-camera host for this tour.

Producer: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Lee Delaney
Editor: Esther Reed

Written in Stone

Rodney Hayes also works with hammer, chisel, and materials from the earth, but in the service of art. He carves designs in granite whose seemingly effortless fluidity belies the jarring techniques he must use.

Hayes was a student at Asbury College in Wilmore at the time we visited in 1995.

For more information:
Fort Boonesborough State Park, 4375 Boonesboro Road, Richmond, KY 40475, (859) 527-3131

• KET’s Electronic Field Trip to Fort Harrod and Fort Boonesborough includes frontier crafts demonstrations and historical background on life in 18th-century Kentucky.

Producer: Megan Moloney
Videographer: David Brinkley
Editor: Esther Reed

Daniel Slept Here

Fort Boonesborough

Circling back to history, the final stop for this program is a visit to Fort Boonesborough State Park in Madison County, site of the first settlement established by Daniel Boone in Kentucky.

With financial backing from several prominent friends and business associates, a Virginian named Richard Henderson had negotiated with the Cherokee to buy a huge tract of land in what is now central Kentucky. In 1775, he and Boone led parties to the Boonesborough site and built some log huts in a hollow near the Kentucky River. According to Henderson’s ambitious plan, Boonesborough was to become the seat of a new colony called Transylvania. But after several members of the party were killed on the journey from Virginia and others grew discouraged and turned back after a taste of life on the frontier, it became clear that the plan didn’t really have a chance of success. In 1778, the Virginia legislature stepped in and declared Henderson’s title to the land void.

By then, the holdouts among the settlers had moved into a fort higher up on the bluffs. There they soon withstood a nine-day siege by Indians and French Canadian troops under British command (reenacted each September at the park).

The protection afforded by the fort and the convenience of the river did make Boonesborough a refuge and important frontier trading center for the next several decades. But the town never grew very large, and it effectively ceased to exist by about 1820, when the U.S. Census simply counted up the residents in the county, not listing Boonesborough separately.

Archaeological surveys begun in the 1980s helped establish the dimensions and layout of the original fort, which was then replicated as a living history museum. Park visitors today can see furnishings, clothing, and craft demonstrations as they would have appeared in Boone’s day and ponder the perilous existence of an 18th-century pioneer. Our tour includes visits with hostess Frances Chism, broom maker Angela Smith, woodworker Kyle Whitaker, and weaver Mamie Hall.

SEASON 1 PROGRAMS: 101102103104105106107108109110111112113114115

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