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The Indiana Festival
-- 2009
-- 2008
-- 2007
-- 2006
Arts Fair on the Square

TAI at the Indiana Festival -- 2009

TAI once again participated in Conner Prairie's annual Indiana Festival and featured the following artists:
Bill Wiseman -- Dulcimer maker
Anthony Nava -- Native American flute maker
Tony Artis -- Drum maker
Enoch Carson -- Wood carver
Viki Graber -- Basket weaver
Carol Powers -- Pysanky
Dani Tippman -- Herbalist
Julane Lund -- Norwegian hardanger fiddle

TAI at the Indiana Festival -- 2008

On June 7-8, 2008, Tai participated at the Indiana Festival at Conner Prairie. This time, however, it came along with a massive storm that flooded roads and towns that surround the Conner Prairie site. As a result, much of the festival on Saturday was rained and flooded out. However, on Sunday, TAI participated with the following TAI artists:
Harold Klosterkemper -- Old Time Fiddle Music
Roy Spight and Prince Julius -- African Drums in Indianapolis
James Yang -- Writing Art: Chinese Calligraphy
Iuri Santos -- Capoeira Angola: Afro-Brazilian Cultural Art.
Bernice Enyeart -- Quilts are Feelings.

TAI at the Indiana Festival -- 2007

On June 1-3, 2007, TAI once more participated at the Indiana Festival at Conner Prairie. The following is a description of TAI artists that participated this year.

Crafting Sound: Indiana Instrument Makers

Explore the new Crafting Sound website, featuring images, audio, and video of various instrument builders in Indiana.

Randy Lucas
Randy Lucas in the midst of building another instrument.
Instrument builders select, cut, carve, scrape, and bend materials to sculpt sounds and tones. From violins and guitars to ocarinas and berimbaus, Indiana boasts a rich heritage of instrument playing and making that reflects the diversity of Hoosiers. Indiana is internationally recognized as a center of instrument manufacturing, but the state’s tradition of independent instrument builders is less well known. Some of the finest handcrafted instruments in the world are made in private workshops throughout Indiana. These include familiar instruments like violins, silver flutes, and guitars that represent a musical heritage common to most of the U.S., while instruments like santours, kannels, and tamburitzas, show the cultural variety found in Indiana.

Roy Spight, Drum Maker, Indianapolis, IN

Roy Spight
Roy Spight, African drum maker.
Roy Spight, a master drum maker in Indianapolis, learned about African drums and music from his older brother, an avid collector and musician. A member of the groups Drums of West Africa, Roy is dedicated to the educational and community building aspects of his music and instruments. He is a key member of the strong drumming scene in Indianapolis, and he builds and repairs drums for many of the city’s of the best players. Inspired by the instruments of the continent, his instruments reflect the visual and tonal qualities he values in drums.

Geoff Davis, Ukulele Maker, Noblesville, IN

Geoff Davis
Geoff Davis enjoying his handmade ukelele.
Geoff Davis has played ukuleles since his childhood, but has only recently started building them in a workshop behind his home in Indianapolis. Ukuleles, typically considered only a Hawaiian instrument, have a long history in Indiana, dating back as far as the 1920s. Hoosier-built ukuleles were even sold at one time in Hawaii until cultural protection laws required a label identifying true Hawaiian ukuleles as “Made in Hawaii.”

Jamon Zeiler, Guitar Maker, Rising Sun, IN

Jamon Zeiler
Jamon Zeiler holding one of his guitars.
Jamon builds innovative guitars in his shop in Rising Sun, Indiana. All of his instruments are one of a kind, hand-built from his designs, molds and patterns. While he learned some of his techniques from a luthier building school, many of his instruments reflect years of learning from the many guitars he has played and repaired.

Eli Jackson, Banjos and Dulcimers Maker, Muncie, IN

Eli Jackson demonstrating his wooden toys to children.
Eli is a proficient, self-taught instrument builder, woodcarver, square dance caller, as well as a bluegrass and old-time musician, who has a story behind nearly every instrument he builds. His stories give each instrument a unique context and show that Eli highly values the sharing of memories. When he talks to young people, he tells them, "You don't need a lot of things to entertain yourself." When Eli performs and shares skills with groups, older people bring him memories while younger people bring him new ideas.





Iuri Santos, berimbau and capoeira master.

Iuri Santos, Capoeira Angola Contra Mestre and Berimbau Maker, Morgantown, IN

Iuri was born in Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, and has lived in Indiana since 1997. He began studying capoeira, a music based form of martial arts, at the age of 13, and today he leads the North Star Capoeira Angola group in Bloomington, which he founded in 2005. As part of this Afro-Brazilian tradition, practitioners make and play berimabaus, a one string musical bow, crafted from a stick, gourd, leather, wire, and string.



TAI at the Indiana Festival -- 2006

June 3-4, 2006
Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd., Fishers, Indiana


Ron Davis
Ron Davis making a walking stick at Conner Prairie's Indiana Festival.
Photo by Ilze Akerbergs
TAI collaborated with Conner Prairie to bring several artists from the I-69 Heritage Corridor to demonstrate their traditional crafts.

Additional information

The participating traditional artists included:

Joe Rice - Glass Worker (Madison County)
Three generations of Joe Rice’s family have built glass in Elwood, Indiana. He explains, “I think the people in Elwood have come to expect glass.” Rice continues to work in his grandfather John St Clair’s style, which is highly collectible. With his crew, Rice produces distinctive floral pattern paperweights in his factory, The House of Glass.

Glass is flexible, Rice says, but “very difficult to work – it requires some technique.” Because each paperweight is made by hand, “no two are exactly alike.” This variety is part of the product’s beauty. But Rice feels there is skill in making them similar. Their paperweights vary less than an ounce in weight.

Joe Rice’s passion for his art is clear: “I have done what I have done because I enjoyed it. The biggest benefit for me has not been the notoriety or the money, success, or any of those things; it’s been being able to see the enjoyment in people’s eyes that take the product home.”

Kip and Trent Gordon - Treeing walker hunting dogs (Hamilton County)
Brothers Kip and Trent Gordon run White River Kennel, where they breed Treeing Walker coonhounds in the tradition of their grandfather Lester Nance. “He’s basically the man that gave the Treeing Walker breed a name,” Kip says. “I’m really proud of my grandpa, because it basically went from nothing to the most popular big game hound in the world.”

Raising and hunting dogs has become a Gordon family tradition. Kip has been coon hunting since he was in the first or second grade. According to Kip, a good coonhound will have certain trademarks. A dog with a “cold nose” can track older scents. Good communication is essential; the hound uses different barks to tell his owner where he “locates” and “trees” a raccoon. “And you want them to be there no matter what,” Kip adds. “No matter how long it takes you, or how many mean dogs are there trying to make you leave.”

Geoff Davis - Uke Player and Builder (Hamilton County)
Geoff Davis has played ukuleles since his childhood, but has only recently started building them in a workshop behind his home in Indianapolis. Ukuleles, typically considered only a Hawaiian instrument, have a long history in Indiana, dating back as far as the 1920s. Hoosier-built ukuleles were even sold at one time in Hawaii until cultural protection laws required a label identifying true Hawaiian ukuleles as “Made in Hawaii.” At the Indiana Festival, you might hear Geoff play his favorite song, a Hawaiian tune called “I Like You.”

Mary Jane Stackhouse - Rag Rug Weaver (DeKalb County)
Mary Jane Stackhouse learned to weave from her mother. Today, she continues to weave traditional rag rugs. She works on two looms, one for narrow rugs and one for bigger ones. She has the current philosophy of recycling whatever she can, and rag rug weaving is a perfect craft to practice for recycling. Mary Jane has boxes and boxes full of rugs that she had woven, which she sells to her community and at various craft shows.

Eli Jackson - Canjos and Dulcimers Maker (Delaware County)
Eli is a proficient, self-taught instrument builder, woodcarver, square dance caller, as well as a bluegrass and old-time musician, who has a story behind nearly every instrument he builds. His stories give each instrument a unique context and show that Eli highly values the sharing of memories. When he talks to young people, he tells them, "You don't need a lot of things to entertain yourself." When Eli performs and shares skills with groups, older people bring him memories while younger people bring him new ideas.

Marguerite Cox - Quilter (Grant County)
Quilting has always been a part of Marguerite Cox’s life. While both her mother and aunt quilted, it was not until the 1970s that she began making her own quilts with the help of her mother-in-law. She continues to quilt almost every evening and is involved with the Friends of Quilters in Marion. She does not sell her quilts, but creates for her own enjoyment and gives them to family and friends.

Patria Smith- Gourd Artist (Allen County)
Patria Smith creates decorative gourds with Native American designs and motifs, an great demand, she grows each gourd herself. Even though she employs modern tools in her craft (like a woodburning pen), her gourds reflect her strong sense of personal aesthetics and Miami cultural heritage, which she is passing on to her grandchildren.

Hamilton County Cricket Team
The rich farm land of Southern Hamilton County has now sprouted into a technology hub for Indiana. With this boom in the information sciences, many Indiana and Pakistani immigrants have chosen to call Hamilton County their home. On weekends throughout the summer, members of these communities gather to play cricket, a popular game in their homeland.

Ronald Davis -- Walking stick maker
Inspired by his surroundings, experiences, and family, Ronald Davis is a wood carver and artist from Muncie who has created walking sticks to commemorate significant events such as the Gulf War, the space shuttle explosion, and the new millennium. He also paints to document his memories of people and places in his community.

Larry Hopkins
Fiddle-maker Larry Hopkins demonstrating his art at Bloomington's Fair on the Square 2005.
Photo by Jon Kay

Arts Fair on the Square


Traditional Arts Indiana is collaborating with the Bloomington Area Arts Council for the annual Arts Fair on the Square, taking place in the middle of June at the courthouse square in downtown Bloomington. The Arts Fair brings visual artists and craftspeople to the square, as well as a juried art show featuring over 50 regional and national artists and craftspeople. There are also interactive arts activities for children and adults and all types of music performances. Arts Fair on the Square also runs in conjunction with the Taste of Bloomington, a yearly event that offers sampling opportunities from over 35 local and regional restaurants, special music, and children's activities.

Roy Spight
Roy Spight plays a tongue drum he made at Arts Fair on the Square 2006.
Photo by Jon Kay
June 17, 2006, 10am-6pm
Courthouse Square, Downtown Bloomington, Indiana


In 2006, TAI featured musical instrument builders from around Indiana. Below are some of the artists that TAI featured:
Guitar maker Randy Lucas
Tamburitza maker Milan Opacich
African drum maker Julius Adeniyi
Drum maker Roy Spight
Fiddle and mandolin maker Larry Hopkins

These traditional artists demonstrated their art on the lawn of the courthouse.
For a write-up about this event, visit the Bloomington Area Arts Council website

Milan Opacich
Milan Opacich answers questions about his tamburitzas at the 2006 Fair on the Square.  Photo by Jon Kay

On June 18, 2005, TAI highlighted traditional artists from different parts of Indiana. TAI featured the following artists:

  • Larry Hopkins -- Fiddle and mandolin builder from Pekin. Inspired to take up playing fiddle by his uncles, Larry Hopkins taught himself to play old-time square-dance music. He also has gained a reputation for the quality fiddles and mandolins that he builds.
  • Daniel Cain -- Hoop-net maker from New Harmony. Hoop-net maker Dan Cain of New Harmony uses a hoop-net to fish for catfish in the Wabash River. Cain builds his own nets, a skill he learned from Jim Cooper, a legendary fisherman and net maker who died recently. Cain is one of the few remaining artisans in Indiana that know how to make these old-style nets, once common in this region.
  • Dale Drake -- Tatter from Martinsville. Tatting is the art of knotting thread with a small shuttle to make lace. Inspired by her paternal grandmother, Drake began tatting in 1968. Drake's tatting has embellished christening blankets for her grandsons and her daughter-in-law's wedding gown.
    tongue drum made by Roy Spight
    Playing one of Roy Spight's tongue drums.  Photo by Jon Kay
  • Ain Haas -- Estonian instrument builder from Indianapolis. During the 50 years of Soviet occupation, the small traditional kannels fell into disuse in Estonia, but kannel making continued in some parts of the US. Haas learned to make his first kannel from a Chicago Estonian-American master. He built his first instrument from birch wood from a tree in his parents' yeard. Haas doesn't make his instruments for profit. He doesn't want to "sell it to a stranger and not know what he's going to do with it." Instead, he encourages those who want to play the kannel to learn how to make it themselves. A small community of people have learned from him. He continues to give generously of his time to help others. When he's not building instruments, Haas teaches sociology at IUPUI.


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