Sprawling comfortably over 64 acres of pristine Moscow woods, the Artisan Center at Maple Creek has become a cocoon of local creativity that is being nurtured, protected, and promoted by Steve and Gwen Herndon.
Steve Herndon, who has owned the construction and design company Wolfhaus Homes for years, said that the idea to open the Artisan Center came about in a very interesting way.
When his construction business had grown to the point where he lacked the time for more hand-crafted pursuits (the thing that got him started), he went searching for a way to get back into that side of the arts.
Steve was speaking with friends and participants at one of the many annual hand-made art trade shows around the country one day when one said that they had a historic log cabin/barn available; they suggested that Steve buy it.
That log barn, a beautifully restored 1800's log structure, was purchased, dismantled, and moved to Moscow by Herndon in the Fall of 2005.
Now home to the Artisan Center, the cabin, which is from St. Leon, Ind., provides 5,000 square feet of space (three floors) for artisans to display their works. There is also an Artisan School for those many artisans to hold weekly workshops and demonstrations.
"We founded the Artisan Center because we love hand-crafted art," said Steve. "We need to support our local artists and we wanted the Artisan Center to be a showcase for that."
Lively bluegrass music plays as one strolls through the museum center - two levels filled with fiber arts, pottery, furniture, ironworks, and wood carvings, (and much more) from hundreds of local artists.
But not just local artists, the center also displays artists' works from outside the local area.
"We have found top-quality work everywhere that we have travelled in America," Steve said. "We only ask that everything be hand-made and be made in this country - that is vital."
The Artisan Center hopes to enrich everyone's life with art by offering classes or workshops in all types of pottery, painting, blacksmithing, wood turning, wood carving, weaving, fiber dyeing, soap making, basket making, stained glass, and more.
The Artisan Center is hosting an Appalachian Arts Festival Oct. 13 - 14.
The festival will feature live interaction with demonstrating artists from the Organic Farm at Bear Creek and provide food, music, and child-friendly activities. The public will get the chance to appreciate the art that will be on display and have some fun while doing so, Steve said.
"We want people to know that we are here," he said. "We have many future plans, some already in the works, and it is a beautiful place where one can appreciate local art."
The Artisan Center at Maple Creek is open from Monday-Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m., and Sunday noon-6 p.m. For special events and workshops, call (513) 876-0081 or visit www.maplecreekart.com.