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Skills Day reinforces heritage crafts, introduces new projects
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Taking care of three of her young grandchildren on weekdays affords Janet Meadows of Tollesboro an opportunity to pass on skills that are quickly falling by the wayside–skills like basket weaving.
Meadows is a member of the Fleming County Cooperative Extension Homemakers club. At the recent Skills Day hosted in Flemingsburg, but including Homemakers from 10 counties, Meadows spent the day crafting a basket.
“Every year I make a basket,” she said. “I enjoy a lot of hands on things; maybe it’s because of the Indian in me (Meadows is half Cherokee) that I like the baskets, but I’m a quilter too.” Known affectionately to her grandchildren as “Nanny,” Meadows wants to pass on handcrafting skills to the children.
“They are always saying, ‘Oh Nanny, I want to help,’” she said. “It’s important that they learn about these things, and I want to teach them what I know.”
Basket making wasn’t the only skill available to learn at the Skills Day. Nearly 100 participants busied themselves learning to make crocheted necklaces, stockings made from recycled denim, Christmas ornaments crafted from recycled plastic bottles, holiday wreaths, mini barn quilts and kimekomi decorations – a Japanese-style craft using strips of fabric and other embellishments on Styrofoam balls.
Some of the participants also chose to go into the kitchen and learn to make pumpkin rolls and jelly rolls.
“We do this just to share techniques,” said Donna Fryman, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension agent for family and consumer sciences in Fleming County. “We offer a variety because not everyone likes the same thing. We want to keep these skills going for future generations.” Fryman said many of the participants take the projects home and share them with their families or other groups in which they are involved. Some, she said, begin making items to sell and become quite successful at it.
This was the first year for Skills Day to take place in the fall with more of a holiday emphasis. Fryman said participation was way up and they’ll probably try the same timing for next year’s event.
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