National series A Craftsman’s Legacy profiles two Kentucky makers
For Release: 09/11/17 11:57 AM
Nationally televised series A Craftsman’s Legacy comes to Kentucky for the first time, featuring back-to-back episodes in October that profile two Kentucky craftsmen: furniture maker Mark Whitley of Smiths Grove, in Warren County, and copper still maker Christopher Kelley of Symsonia, in Graves County.
The episode spotlighting Whitley, titled “The Table Maker,” airs Monday, Oct. 2 at 6:30/5:30 pm on KET2. During the program, Whitley shows series host Eric Gorges the intricate process involved in creating one of his signature “twisted tables,” a sculptural piece of furniture reminiscent of the American Studio Movement of the 1940s. While demonstrating his hands-on approach to furniture making, Whitley talks about the importance of making something that will last for generations.
The episode featuring Kelley, titled “The Still Maker,” airs Monday, Oct. 9 at 6:30/5:30 pm on KET2. The series travels to Symsonia, home of Kelley’s Rockypoint Copper Stills, where Kelley illustrates the intricate process involved in creating an open pot still. While a master electrician and mechanical contractor by training, Kelley began making stills as a hobby, inspired by his moonshiner family history. His work quickly grew into a full-time career, which he is working to pass on to the next generation, including his 15-year-old son, Levi, who also appears in the program.
“It was such an honor to be chosen for an episode of A Craftsman’s Legacy,” said Whitley. “Eric and the crew have a passion for all things handmade that is evident in every aspect of the series.”
Kelley said instructing Gorges in the process of copper still making was rewarding: “Redsmithing, or coppersmithing, is a unique challenge. It takes hands-on learning to understand how much allowance is needed for expansion and contraction during brazing or welding,” Kelley said. “It is always a pleasure for me to teach others the craft of redsmithing, and during the journey I find myself learning from my prior advances and mistakes.”
Hosted by Eric Gorges, a renowned metal shaper and motorcycle builder in his own right, A Craftsman’s Legacy is a weekly series that travels America, looking for the country’s most talented makers, while exploring the history and the importance of their craft as it is practiced in America today. The series is produced by Hammer in Hand Productions and is distributed nationally by American Public Television. Funding for the series is made possible by support from the Ford Motor Company.
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