Creative craftsmanship is on tap for Saturday as the Starr Homeplace in Oak Ridge begins its 10th season.
“We’ve been blessed with decent weather every time,” said Homeplace founder Joe Rolfe of the monthly Community Days, in which artisans demonstrate their talents for the public. “We’ve only been rained out twice in the past decade.”
Since its founding in 2003, the Starr Homeplace has grown to include 19 historic buildings and a collection of artifacts, tools, books and other items that recall the rich history and arts of northeast Louisiana. The regular Community Days are opportunities for the public to see demonstrations by craftsmen and share in the experience of the creative economy – a concept that embraces all forms of human creativity, from art and music to boat building, woodworking and metallurgy.
In the beginning, Rolfe said, the Community Day events were held every month of the year, but extreme temperatures led to scaling down.
“Then we gradually cut back to months when the weather was right and we had the best attendance,” he said.
The highlight of Saturday’s Community Day will be blacksmithing demonstrations by artisans from Oklahoma, Texas, Mississippi and right here in Bastrop, including the work of local artisan Oma Frank Lee, who will make steel crosses and knives from old railroad spikes. The blacksmiths will also demonstrate metal casting in aluminum and pewter.
Rolfe said Saturday’s event will include birdhouses by a local builder and demonstrations of an Arduino-based CNC machine, which melds modern technology with high-precision wood-cutting. American Indian beadwork and batik – an Indonesian fabric dyeing technique – may also be on tap.
“Of course, all creative people are welcome to participate,” said Rolfe. “We’re interested in creative endeavors in all areas.”
Rolfe said the Homeplace is in need of volunteers to give demonstrations in various capacities, such as manning the letter press, doing leather work or even performing on the Homeplace’s collection of musical instruments. The next Community Days are slated for May 12, June 9, July 14, Sept. 8 and Oct. 13.
The Homeplace is located two miles north of Oak Ridge on La. 133. Saturday’s Community Day will begin at 8 a.m. and admission is $5. Chicken sausage gumbo will be served at lunchtime for a donation. To learn more, call 318.244.5700 or visit the Starr Homeplace on Facebook and at www.starrhomeplace.org.