When the Kentucky Artisans at the Saddle Factory opened its doors two years ago, the intent was to feature local artists while offering unique gifts for the community to purchase. The first year, as with anything new, was a success as both artists came out of the woodwork to have their creativity shown, and people came by to appreciate and buy the many different pieces offered.
Now, as its third year begins, it seems as though people have forgotten about the place, said manager Linda Harlin, who wants to remind the community they are still there and the variety of artistic wares is plenty.
“We still have people come in and say they didn’t even know we were here,” said Harlin, a local artist herself.
Harlin said there are so many unique items for sale and at reasonable prices. She added that she was concerned that some thought the Artisans were very expensive, but in fact are not. “I think our name may make people think they cannot afford the items, but we are just down to earth,” said Harlin.
The Kentucky Artisans at the Saddle Factor is run solely by volunteers. They rely on the purchasing of items within to not only help the local artists, but to help pay utilities as well. According to Harlin, the past couple of months have been a struggle to stay open. This is something she would like to see change.
Some of the items for sale include acrylic and oil paintings, bath and body products, books by local authors, blown glass candles, children’s clothing and toys, crochet work, home and holiday decor, gifts for men and women, jewelry, kitchen tools, knitting, photography, pottery, woodwork and so much more.
The Saddle Factory, where the Artisans is located, is located on east 4th Street in Russellville. Organizers decided to utilize this space because of its historic relevance to the community. The building also serves as an area historic museum and featured changing exhibits, including the original weathervane that is believed to have been shot by the notorious Jesse James Gang in 1868. Other exhibits focus o the local artists, the integration of the segregated school systems and the 19th century colleges of Logan County.
This historic structure was built in 1817 and is perhaps the oldest industrial building in Kentucky. The Saddle factory has been restored to its original layout. In 1820 there were 44 workers, mainly indentured servants and slaves, living on the same site making saddles, bridles, shoes and a variety of other leather goods. Early Kentucky saddles and primitive tools are on display as well. Living quarters for the workers were located in the attic, where they drew and wrote on the plaster walls.
The Kentucky Artisans in the Saddler Factory offers a unique shopping experience from visitors and the opportunity to purchase original artwork, ceramics, crafts and gift items handmade by local artists. There are also scheduled events held and future events such as painting classes, quilt shows, student art exhibits, youth artist camp and gallery, concerts on the lawn, photography workshops and exhibits and ghost stories and cider on the lawn.
Harlin plans on offering singles and couples painting classes in February. She hasn’t selected a date yet, but will publish one when she decides. The class will be held in the back building on the property, which has been cleaned out for shows and classes.
If you are interested in either showing and selling your art work or volunteering one to two hours a week at the Artisans, please call Linda Harlin at 847-0231. If you are interested in finding out more about the Kentucky Artisans at the Saddle Factor visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KentuckyArtisans.