Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana was just a couple weeks ago in April. I was asked to help chaperone my son’s 4th grade class and so  I took dozens of photos. I love stuff like this and the kids seemed to mostly enjoy it as well. I may be kidding myself, they were probably happy to not be in class…  Either way on with the show!

We jumped off the bus and went into the athenaeum for a short film about New Harmony and walked out to the Red Bank Reunion Band playing us a tune.

Red Bank ReUnion Band at Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

The first station we stopped at was with Johnny Appleseed telling his stories. Steve McPhail brought the character to life with the legends surrounding Johnny Appleseed.

Steve McPhail as Johnny Appleseed during the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

He was quite entertaining.

Steve McPhail as Johnny Appleseed during the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Just a few steps from Johnny Appleseed, was Claudie Parson demonstrating how to make handmade brooms out of broom corn. Broom making is an old-time trade. She even let me have some seeds so I can grow my own broom corn! I’ll let you know how it turns out.

children watching Claudie Parson demonstrate broom making at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Next up, two artisans were sharing a tent. A wood carver and rug maker.

Larry Stock is a woodwright and can use any wood from trees to make cups or spoons.

wood carver Larry Stock

It’s amazing to think of where we are now and how things are made with machinery and mass produced  out of plastic compared to how well things used to be made and were passed down in families to be used by generations. Just take a look at the skill it took to make utensils that you needed in everyday life.

wood carver tools

wood carver Larry Stock

Rug making was not only for comfort, but for decoration. Cleo Stock was the resident rug maker, she was using a hook. She showed me how to do it and she claims it’s easy.

Cleo Stock demonstrating how to make hook rugs at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016 Cleo Stock demonstrating how to make hook rugs at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

She had beautiful wall hangings and was happy to show me how to do it.

Cleo Stock's handmade hook rugs at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Next up was the bee keeper or apiarist, Irv Rueger. He’s been keeping bees and giving seminars for 30 years. He explains why bees were important to the Harmonists and how they are still so very vital to us now. He had a honey tasting table and we sampled orange blossom honey, clover honey and another one I can’t remember. I bought some honey candy and it was delicious.

Irv Rueger a bee keeper teaching about why bees are important at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016 Irv Rueger a bee keeper teaching about why bees are important at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Next to the Irv was John Bielik who is an itinerant artisan, instructor and living history interpreter. He does bookbinding and beautiful paper marbling.

John Bielik bookbinding and paper marbling at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

He is demonstrating how to make marble paper in these two photos.John Bielik bookbinding and paper marbling at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

John’s paper and products are featured in the shops at Colonial Williamsburg and the Atheneum at Historic New Harmony Indiana.

marbled paper items at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016 marbled paper items

Then we walked over to see two ladies demonstrating candle dipping. People in the early 1800’s made candles from the tallow or animal fat in a hand dipped process.

children watching candle dipping demonstrations at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

At this particular time, she was having a problem getting the pot to boil because the fire wouldn’t get going.children watching candle dipping demonstrations at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016 children watching candle dipping demonstrations at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

We had to wait to get into the next station, weaving with Peggy Taylor. Her website is Loom Hall.

Weaver Peggy Taylor in 1800's costume during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Peggy Taylor, weaver

Peggy is a friend of mine that I’ve met at the local art shows that we both had a booth at. It was fun to see her do her thing. She sat at her spinning wheel to begin with and schooled the kids on what it was like to have to weave your very own cloth in order to have towels and clothing to wear in the 19th century. It was a very time consuming process.

Weaver Peggy Taylor in 1800's costume during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

The wool she had came from the fleece of her own flock of Shetland sheep. Below she is spinning it into yarn. She said if the electric ever goes out, she just goes and spins yarn. It looked relaxing to do, it had a smooth rhythm to it.

Peggy Taylor spinning wool during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

All of this antique machinery is hers. The loom she told me belonged to an amish man who made rugs on it. I think it’s over one hundred years old. I loved hearing the clack clack clack sound it makes.

Peggy Taylor demonstrating on old wooden loom during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

While we waited to go into listen to Peggy, we had the pleasure of petting her sheep. There was even a baby lamb and it was soooo sweet! They were all so soft to touch.

Sheep for shearing Sheep for shearing Sheep for shearing

Look at this sweet thing! She was a little shy. I wish I could remember their names but I want to say one was Snowflake, Oak Leaf and I cannot remember the other.

Baby lamb at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016 Baby lamb at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

After listening to Peggy, we were just in time to go into the Oculus cabin. Jim Buchanan, an artist from Scotland converted this pioneer cabin into a camera obscura – a walk-in pinhole camera. It was really cool. You go in the door that has a small hole in it and stand all along the front wall and close the door to darken it. Give your eyes a little time to adjust to the dark and then remarkably, the outside is somehow reflected in through the whole and projected on to the back wall only upside down. The woman who was running the demonstration said that it could make you rather sick to your stomach after a while.

We back tracked to see some stations that we had missed and found our way to the soap making station. Puddy McCutchan was demonstrating the 1800’s process of using animal fat and lye.

Puddy McCutchan demonstrating soap making during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

To the left of her was a man who made bentwood containers. Marion Mitchell has devoted himself to the craft of making bentwood boxes.

Marion Mitchell demonstrating how to make bentwood boxes during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Right next to him was the station for artist, Polly Winkler-Mitchell. She wasn’t there when we walked up but she has been working with paper and scissors for the past 40 years. Scherenschnitte is the German word for scissor cutting. I actually have a few pieces of that style of art, though not by Polly. It’s a very pretty art that has a graphic quality to it.

Next we walked into a cabin that had more friends of mine, Tom and Ruth Wintczak. Tom is a potter and he gave the kids a lesson on being a potter. Tom is an award-winning potter and his wife, Ruth, is a great gardener and musician. If fact, I think they are both musicians.

Tom’s website and studio is called Bee Tree Pottery

Here, Tom is asking the kids what they thought people would eat off of if they didn’t have plates or bowls. They guessed the table and he said yes, and that actually people fashioned bowls carved into tables but the problem came with cleaning them. Bacteria, it can be your enemy in the 19th century!

Tom Wintczak at Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

children watching at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Tom then gave a demonstration.

Tom Wintczak at Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016 Tom Wintczak at Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Ruth was the one giving the lesson on the both the dulcimer and scheitholt, two string instruments used for entertainment during the 19th century. Here is Ruth waiting for her turn to demonstrate her music skills.

Ruth-Wintczak in 1800's costume during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Ruth tells us about how the musical instruments were entertainment for all the family.

Ruth-Wintczak in 1800's costume during Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

Enjoy her music!

Here’s the dulcimer…

and the scheitholt.

We walked to the Workmen’s Institute and watched them demonstrate how to make rope.

rope making

After the rope making, we were enticed by the smell of kettle corn floating through the air. I had 5 kids in my group and we all shared a big bag and made our way back up to the athenaeum to jump back on the bus to go to Murphy Auditorium and watch a hilarious presentation given by Albert Roberts about being a medical doctor on a ship for the queen in the 19th century.

Albert Roberts speaking about being a medical doctor during the 19th century at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

He talked about how you only had to be ten years old to join and the terminology of the ranks. They were seduced into joining by things like a big fancy hat and uniform, a sword and a firearm.

Albert Roberts speaking about being a medical doctor during the 19th century at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

He really had a humorous way of telling about the brutalities of war and surgery in a time before antibiotics. The kids were totally into it, and I won’t lie, I loved it as well.

Albert Roberts speaking about being a medical doctor during the 19th century at the Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana 2016

We then went to Murphy Park to have our lunch and let the kids wear themselves out while the adults had a nice break. I’ll tell you a nice adult beverage would’ve been perfect about now, but this was a school field trip so we just had to laugh and talk about how we would’ve loved a margarita about now.

For a final hurrah, we all walked across the street to the labyrinth to let the kids run yet even more. After loading all back up on the school bus, the 15 minute ride back to the school was hauntingly quiet. It was a full day and the kids were hot and tired and the adults were pretty much spent.

If you ever get the chance to go Heritage Artisans Days in New Harmony Indiana, you won’t be sorry. It was a fun filled day.

I got a lot of my information about the artisans here from a page they handed out. Probably written from someone at USI.


Learn more about me on the ‘About’ page in the menu at the top. I’m an artist – a painter mostly and an avid gardener. I paint a variety of subjects including birds, koi fish, my gardens, ponds and flowers as well as anything having to do with nature especially trees and tropical scenes. I also enjoy painting abstracts.

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paintings by Jaime Haney

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