Forkland Abraham Lincoln Museum
Forkland Community Center Lincoln Museum is sponsoring a show of the arts
and crafts of Forkland during the
41st Forkland Festival
and Revue on October 12-13, 2012, featuring many artists and craftspersons with
connections to Forkland.
This year, the Forkland Heritage Festival and Revue, October 12-13, will
celebrate its 41st anniversary. The traditions of Forkland (or the “Fork,”
as natives sometimes refer to the area where Boyle, Casey, and Marion
Counties meet) include arts and crafts created by many people who either
live there or who have ties to the area through ancestry or land. Many of
these works have been displayed and sold each year at the Forkland Festival.
Some artists and craftspersons have moved away but still have strong
connections to Forkland and credit their experiences on the Fork as
influencing their work.
Carving by Guy Ingram
For most of the past forty years, the late Marjory Ellis held art classes
for adults during the school year and for children during the summer months.
Marjory inspired many people, both young and old, to always keep art as a
part of their lives. Her Forkland Community Center art room was a cozy place
where everyone felt at home. There was also a mixture
of joy and playfulness as the children swarmed onto the playground during
breaks from class. Currently, art classes for children and adults are taught
at the Community Center by John Gorley and Pat Williams, both former
students of Marjory.
Several artists and craftsmen in the Forkland area were self-taught men and
women who enjoyed working with their hands. Sometimes they made functional
items. At other times, they made pretty things or things that made political
statements. Clarence “Peg” Westerfield was a master at weaving chair bottoms
and making the wooden tools needed to produce the bark for such work. Alma
Ellis developed a use for empty fertilizer bags by wetting the inner lining
of the bags and twisting them into ropes to make woven chair seats. Now
Louis Ewbank, current Forkland Festival chairman, weaves Shaker cloth tapes
to make the seats of ladder-back chairs he sells at antique shows.
In an out-of-the-way place like Forkland, people could not just run to town
for every little thing they needed, so they would often improvise. Being
thrifty and having lived through a depression encouraged the quilters, who
could take a bag of rags and some good muslin and soon produce a piece of
beauty to grace a bed. Quilts were passed down in families, and the Forkland
show will not only display one of Betty Followell's quilts, but also quilts
made by her mother and her great-grandmother.
Sending us messages about their makers and the past, woodcarvers such as Guy
Ingram and Marvin Holt show us vignettes of days gone by and tell stories
through their carvings in the show. Sometimes what is important is the wood
and where it came from; woodworker Darrell Ellis can tell the story behind
each piece of wood he has used.
Other artists whose works will be on display in the show are no longer
living, but their works live on and tell us about their lives. The late
painters Paul Overstreet and John Stamper were both selected as Bicentennial
Heritage Artists, and Robert Rawlings was a painter of primitives who drew
on his memory to recall the Gravel Switch and Forkland areas of earlier
days. Through Robert's memory, as revealed by his paintings, we can still
see how the people in Forkland lived when he was young.
Forkland also has produced performing artists. Jeanne Penn Lane has written
hit songs, and her daughter Dawn Osborne will perform some of them at the
Forkland Arts and Crafts Show reception on July 14th, 6 to 8 p.m., at the
Community Arts Center. Also, Ashley Gorley writes hit songs for Carrie
Underwood and other country stars.
The Forkland Community Center Lincoln Museum is open May through October on
Saturdays from 12 noon to 4 pm or by appointment (contact Wayne Thurman,