Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild Show

Retired Henry County teacher
Ashby pursues new art career

She will display, sell gourds at
September arts and crafts show

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (September 2008) – Joanne Ashby would like to know more about her Irish and Scottish ancestors. The idea is often a source of inspiration for her when creating decorative gourds.

Joanne Ashby

Photo provided

Joanne Ashby, a member of the
Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild,
creates fine art pieces using gourds.

Ashby, 60, works with colored pencils on gourds, “getting my inspiration from old hand-written manuscripts,” she said. She had seen gourd art before at the Taylorsville Gourd Show and been impressed.
When her husband, Mitch, grew over a wagon load of gourds one year and told her to do something with them, Ashby began embellishing them and hasn’t stopped since.
Ashby is one of more than 30 members of the Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild. The guild will be hosting its ninth annual Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild Show from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sept. 3 at the 4-H Center at the Henry County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 421 in New Castle.
The arts and craft show will exhibit artists who create paintings, jewelry, wooden bowls, carvings, painted furniture, toys, quilts, candles, woolen items, leatherwork, baskets and dolls, and much more, said Malissa Beatty, guild president. Food will also be available from the Henry County Senior Citizens.
Born and raised in Suffern, N.Y., Ashby came to Kentucky in fall 1966 to attend Morehead State University. It was there that she met her future husband and decided to stay in Kentucky.
While in college, Ashby enjoyed working in a variety of media. She had majored in weaving but also took classes in drawing, painting, printing and clay, all mediums that she enjoyed pursuing.
For a time she put her artwork aside and was a stay at home mom to her four children. She worked as a bookkeeper at Farmer Deposit Bank for seven years after they were all in school. She then worked as a teacher’s aide while working on her Art Education degree at Kentucky State University in Frankfort.
In 1992, Ashby began teaching elementary school art in the Henry County Public School System. “As an art teacher I had to work with a lot of different art media,” she said of her teaching experiences.
In addition to painting gourds, she also creates small stained glass pieces, such as suncatchers. “Now that I am retired from teaching, I am hoping to spend more time working on my art.”
The guild’s art show is a way for her to showcase what she loves to do best. People who attend are serious about art. They come looking to buy crafts, she said.
Ashby is a charter member of the guild. She joined because she said at the time the county needed to get artists organized and have art shows, she said.
For the past three years, Ashby has been a vendor at the Kentucky Renaissance Fair and the Celtic Fest in Eminence, Ky. This has allowed her another venue in which to sell her work.
Ashby has shared her time and talents through the Indian Summer Camp, held each year in July at Cedarmore Baptist Camp in Bagdad, Ky. She has volunteered as arts and crafts director for the past 14 years at this camp for children with cancer.
Ashby made the decision to volunteer at the camp shortly after her own diagnosis with breast cancer. She participated in a cancer camp in Spokane, Wash., this past summer.

• For more information about the Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild Show, contact Malissa Beatty at (502) 743-5497 or (502) 220-8968.

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