Harvest of Imagination

Louisville celebrities
contribute talents for charity

Louisville Stoneware auction benefits food bank

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (December 2004) – As the holiday season unfurls, we often think of those less fortunate than ourselves. Louisville Stoneware has jumped to the cause and extended a helping hand by collaborating with Kentucky Harvest organizers to sponsor an event that will benefit many.

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December 2004 Cover

For the third consecutive year, a fund raiser auction of uniquely hand-painted Louisville Stoneware will be held Thursday, Dec. 2, at Louisville Stoneware’s downtown location at 731 Brent St. Pottery pieces have been embellished for “Harvest of Imagination” by “celebrity artists” and prominent people in the community, said Louisville Stoneware marketing and public relations representative Sandi Ratliff.
Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. with cocktails, courtesy of Brown-Forman Corp., and hors d’oeuvres provided by Cafe’ Emilie, Chef Joshua Moore and Shuckman’s Fish Co. An auction preview and registration will follow at 6 p.m., with the auction beginning at 6:30 p.m. Admission is open to the public with a monetary or canned good donation at the door.
This event is the brainchild of Louisville Stoneware owner Christina Lee Brown and Kentucky Harvest founder Stan Curtis. The two put their heads together and came up with a fun, artsy way to donate to those in need.
When the event began three years ago, $6,000 was raised, said Ratliff. The amount climbed drastically with last year’s total of $20,000.
More than 30 celebrities were involved in the 2003 Harvest of Imagination. This year’s lineup includes plates, platters and mugs painted by filmmaker Stu Pollard, Sen. John Kerry, Ritchie Farmer, Keanu Reeves, John Conti and Heather French Henry. Many local news media personnel are also participating, including Byron Crawford, Dawne Gee, Bob Domine, Gary Roedemeier, Terry Meiners, Jackie Hayes, Rachel Platt, Fred Cowgill and Barry Bernson.
Harvest of Imagination is a nine-month project. Artists are sought immediately following the Kentucky Derby in May, said Ratliff. The majority of them come to Louisville Stoneware throughout the year, and Ratliff said a booth was even set up at this year’s PGA Championship golf tournament for the purpose of seeking celebrity and local artists.

Christy Brown

Photo provided

Louisville Stoneware owner Christy Lee Brown with husband Owsley Brown II.

Louisville Stoneware is known worldwide for its remarkable handcrafted pottery. It is one of the country’s oldest and most revered stoneware manufacturing firms. Many of the pottery patterns go back decades and are collector items.
In 1815, Jacob Lewis began experimenting with local clay, sending samples to Pennsylvania and England for assessment of pottery feasibility. By 1829, pottery was being manufactured at the corner of Main and Jackson streets in downtown Louisville. Lewis employed experienced English potters.
For a time, Louisville Stoneware was known as Louisville Pottery and has had various owners. Since March 1997, Brown, a Louisville community leader and civic activist, has owned the company. The clay that is used is mined in the region.
Gary Roedemeier of WHAS-TV 11 is one of the local media persons who painted pottery for Harvest of Imagination.
“I painted my platter right in the middle of the baseball season, and since I’m a baseball fan, I chose a baseball theme,” Roedemeier said,
His platter features a baseball diamond and bases in St. Louis Cardinals colors red and blue. Roedemeier said that since the Cardinals won the World Series the year he was born, one corner of the platter has 1942 on it and the other contains “St. L.”
Roedemeier has always supported Kentucky Harvest and his friend, Curtis. While Roedemeier painted his pottery, a 2-year-old was having a handprint made across the table from him.

Louisville Stoneware’s
‘Harvest of imagination’

• 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at 731 Brent St., Louisville, Ky.
• What: Auction of stoneware pieces painted by “celebrity artists” with proceeds to benefit Kentucky Harvest food bank.
• Information: (502) 582-1900 or sandi@louisvillestoneware.com

“I helped distract the toddler and got him to smile, even though he didn’t want any part of the hand paint. His plate and my plate were finished, and I’m not sure there was very much difference in our artistic abilities.”
Fellow co-worker Joe Arnold painted a snack bowl. It has a “Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjacks” theme to it. It contains red baseball stitches on the inside of the bowl and words from “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on the outside rim.
“I am a big fan of Kentucky Harvest and am eager to help the cause,” said Arnold. “Louisville Stoneware is wonderful. They help non-artistic people like me apply ideas that we might otherwise be unable to do on our own.”

Ed Hamilton

Photo provided

Kentucky artist
Ed Hamilton.

Most of the participants are modest about their artistic talent, and even timid about the outcome. But all agree it is for a good cause.
Rachel Platt, also of WHAS-TV 11, painted a platter with stars and a moon. Her simple “Peace on Earth” theme included a moon with an old-fashioned “Peace” sign in the center.
“I think it’s important all year long to remember those serving our country and to hope for peace. The holidays make that hope even more pronounced,” said Platt.
Kentucky Harvest collects and distributes more than 6,000 pounds of food a day in Louisville and southern Indiana. Restaurants, farmers, hospitals, bakeries, caterers, groceries, hotels and individuals donate more than 23 million pounds of food.

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