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Program 908

1. Glassworks
2. harmonica master John Loeser
3. Simply Oaxaca
Season 9 Menu

Jefferson County

For more information:
Glassworks, 815 W. Market, Louisville, KY 40202, (502) 584-4510

Producer: Cheryl Beckley

Art of Glass


In the decades following the Civil War, Southern Indiana was a center of glass manufacturing, thanks both to local entrepreneurs and to abundant local deposits of sand with just the right properties for glass making. At one time in the late 19th century, the Depauw glassworks in New Albany was the region’s largest factory, employing 1,500 to 2,000 men to turn out plate glass, jars, and occasional more decorative items. Other related enterprises nearby included Louisville Art Glass, founded in 1875 and still in business as Architectural Art Glass Inc.

So in setting up shop in downtown Louisville, the founders of Glassworks (including the current owner of Architectural Glass Art, now headquartered at Glassworks) were drawing on a longstanding regional tradition. But this enterprise focuses on art, not industry.

Glassworks is a unique artists’ cooperative with studio space for as many as 50 artists and craftspeople at a time, including hot-glass, cold-glass, and flame-working facilities. Glass is often a collaborative medium, and bringing so many artisans together in one space helps to develop the careers of emerging artists by providing room to experiment and colleagues to learn from. Glassworks also emphasizes community education, including a schedule of classes and workshops. Tours are conducted for the general public as well as school groups, with specially created educational materials available. Two galleries offer permanent and rotating exhibitions of pieces by the “resident” artists and others.

Greenup County

Producer: G. Treg Ward

At Home with John and Mary

harmonica player John Loeser

In our next segment, host Dave Shuffett spends a little time with John and Mary Loeser of Kellen Hollow in Greenup County—two people who have spent a lot of time with each other. Married for 69 years, the two share a few of their secrets for a long-lasting relationship.

John is also an accomplished harmonica player. In fact, the harmonica is one of the few things that’s been part of his life longer than Mary has. So he also treats Dave to some front-porch-style tunes.

Fayette County

For more information:
• Simply Oaxaca, (859) 277-7399

Producer: Joy Flynn

From Mex to Lex

Simply Oaxaca

Walk into Simply Oaxaca, a small shop on Lexington’s Southland Drive, and you will see a fascinating array of pottery, weavings, paintings, jewelry, and fantastically colored wooden carvings, with subjects ranging from religious icons to whimsical animals. What you won’t see right away is that the store is also the home of a community center whose aims extend far beyond commerce.

Mexican immigrants Jacobo and Janice Aragon founded Simply Oaxaca to bring the art and culture of their native state to the Bluegrass State. In addition to running the store, they conduct seminars, workshops, and exhibits designed to further understanding of Hispanic cultures and traditions among their adopted neighbors. Meanwhile, for Central Kentucky’s growing Mexican population, Simply Oaxaca also functions as a little piece of home.

Located in southeastern Mexico on the Pacific coast, Oaxaca is a land of variety, both in scenery and in population. It is the most ethnically diverse state in Mexico, and its landscapes range from ancient ruins like Monte Alban to jungles to mountains to beaches. But it is also one of Mexico’s poorest states, with a formerly agriculture-based economy giving way to dependence on tourism. As people have been forced to move off the land and seek their livelihood in Oaxaca city, traditional arts and crafts such as those spotlighted at the Aragons’ shop have also become increasingly important as a source of income.

The items on sale at Simply Oaxaca are all hand-crafted. The Aragons buy the pieces directly from their creators to help ensure that the artisans receive a greater share of the proceeds from their work.

Kentucky Life made a second visit to Simply Oaxaca to explore Day of the Dead traditions in Program 917.

SEASON 9 PROGRAMS: 901902903904905906907908909: Along Highway 62

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