On Saturday, May 4, Pamela Rucker, of Lancaster, will demonstrate woodturning on a small lathe from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea.

Rucker grew up surrounded by the creative activity and influence of her parents. Her father, Gerald Cooper, is a well-known Berea woodcarver and wood turner and her mother, Joyce Cooper, was a well-known fiber artist specializing in inkle loom weaving and machine quilting. As a young girl, Rucker was hired by her father to do the finish sanding of his candleholders. Working with her father to earn money, she came to love taking something rough and making it smooth – responding to the beauty of wood.

“While dad worked regularly at the lathe, he did not instruct me formally, probably for fear that I might injure my fingers since I played the guitar!” Rucker said.

After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in music and English at Hanover College in Indiana, Rucker went on to earn her divinity degree from the Presbyterian Seminary in Louisville, following her father’s footsteps into the ministry.

After settling into the ministry, Rucker began once again to work with wood. After her kids went to bed in the evenings and after her own pastoral duties were over, she would work at the lathe turning wood. Starting by making turned wooden gifts, Rucker eventually settled on smaller lathe work such as pocket watches, magnifying glasses, bottle stoppers and letter openers. She works on a “Mini-Jet” lathe, which can handle works up to 7 inches in diameter. She will be using this same lathe in her demonstration at the Kentucky Artisan Center on May 4.

Wood turnings by Rucker are regularly available at the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, located at 200 Artisan Way, just off Interstate 75 at Berea Exit 77. The center’s exhibits, shopping and travel information areas are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and the cafe is open from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Admission is free.

The center currently features works by more than 650 artisans from more than 100 counties across the Commonwealth. Two special exhibits, “The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea: Celebrating 10 Years,” is on display through Aug. 24, and “Connected by a Thread: Quilts by the Kentucky Six+” is on display in the lobby through June 29. For information about the center’s events call 859-985-5448, visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kentucky.artisan.center, or go to the center’s website at www.kentuckyartisancenter.ky.gov.

The Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea is an agency in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.



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