Local Artisans Celebrated at Folklife Gala

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The talent of artisans, local authors, historical groups and musicians will be on display for the sixth annual West Virginia Folklife Center Gala on Saturday, Oct. 7, at Fairmont State's Colebank Hall. The gala will also feature the presentation of the 2006 B.B. Maurer West Virginia Folklife Scholar Award, the 2006 Traditions Salute Award, a wine tasting and a silent auction.

A $15 admission fee per person covers the cost of the gala events, except for the wine tasting. Those who wish to participate in the wine tasting will be asked to show proper ID. Fairmont State students and children younger than 10 will be admitted for free.

One of the artisans to display her work will be Michele Porta, owner of Bello Vetro da Michele Studios in Parkersburg, W.Va. Porta uses a technique called "lampworking" to create glass beads for original jewelry designs.

A bench-mounted torch creates a flame about 2000 degrees Fahrenheit, which is the temperature necessary to get glass to a molten state. Glass rods of various colors are melted around a metal mandrel to form a bead. All beads are free-formed using gravity and a graphite paddle. After the beads are formed, they are decorated with elements such as fine silver, copper, gold leaf, fine silver wire, reduction frits, goldstone and adverturine. The beads are then placed in a kiln to stabilize the glass and are slowly cooled to room temperature by the digital control on the kiln. After the beads are cooled, they are cleaned and strung into jewelry.

"Only sterling, Swarovski crystal and semi-precious stones are used in my creations," Porta said. "I never create two pieces alike, unless a customer requests. Therefore, my customers are assured of never seeing their piece on someone else."

Other displays and exhibits planned include the following: Dr. Beth Newcome, Fairmont State Vintage Clothing Collection; Ron Hilling, wood working, West Virginia Folklife Center; Stephanie White, cookbook project, West Virginia Folklife Center; Pricketts Fort; Vandalia Heritage Foundation Legacy Program; Creed Holden, Coal Culture Miners Day Exhibit; Russell Bonasso, author of "Fire in the Hole;" Randy Hess, wood working; Dr. Rhonda Sanford, water colors; Kaleidoscope, breast cancer awareness; Mandy Steele, Mandy's Artworks; Bob Tinnell, author of "Feast of the Seven Fishes;" Linda King and Helen Efaw, basketmaking; Dora Grubb, Marion County Historical Society; Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival; Charlotte Meade, author and poet; African American Culture; Rosalyn Queen Alonso, Italian Customs and Cookbook; West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival; Josh Floyd, pottery making; Mountain Heritage Quilter's Guild; Mary Stewart, stained glass making; Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., Folklife Center Kennedy Barn Restoration Fund; Debra Tropea, Life Everlasting folk arts; Jack Wills, Copper's Mill; Sandra Edwards, Art Soup, Fairmont artisans; Dr. Judith Kreutzer, genealogy study; Homemade Wines and Lambert West Virginia Wines; McClain Printing Company, books; JoAnn Lough, early Fairmont State theatre history and early Fairmont history; Kathleen Crawford and Matilda McNaughton, handcrafts.

Musicians scheduled to perform include Pat Harper, hammered dulcimer; Bill Stalnaker, blues guitar; and Michael Stewart and Friends, folk music.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Folklife Center Kennedy Barn Restoration Fund at the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc. Funds will be used to help renovate what will become the permanent home of the Folklife Center, the former Kennedy Barn/Colonial Apartments building on the west side of the Fairmont State campus. The renovated facility will include a great room, a gallery and reception area, as well as space for offices and archival storage. Currently located in the Education Building, the center is part of the FSU Department of Language & Literature.

For more information on how you can make a gift in support of the programs sponsored by the West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State or for special limited, legacy naming opportunities in the new Folklife Center facility, contact Kim Riggi of the Fairmont State Foundation, Inc., at (304) 367-4014 or toll-free at (800) 372-2586. For more information about the West Virginia Folklife Center at Fairmont State, visit http://www2.fairmontstate.edu/wvfolklife/index.htm.