Spring Old Court Days

Former interior designer
finds new career making jewelry

Bunch will make her eighth
appearance at the Madison event

For the last seven years, accessory artist Julie Bunch has sold her handmade jewelry at Old Court Days, Madison’s biannual craft show. She recently relocated from Cincinnati to Battleground, Ind., but the greater distance to the show doesn’t deter her. She’ll be back on the corner of Jefferson and Main streets in May selling prepared pieces and making new ones on site.
The 46th annual Spring Old Court Days will take place downtown on Friday-Sunday, May 23-25. The show will last from approximately 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. In the event of adverse weather, individual vendors may pack up at their discretion.

Old Court Days

• 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, May 23-25 around
the Jefferson County (Ind.) Courthouse, Madison.

• Sponsored by The Pilot Club of Madison

• (812) 273-0550

The event is organized by the Jefferson County branch of the Pilot Club, a nonprofit organization focused on finding treatment and cures for brain-related diseases. The Pilot Club operates worldwide with active branches in the Bahamas, Hawaii and Japan. The Jefferson County branch also contributes to local children’s causes.
“We’ve also been a big hand in re-opening the Pathways Youth Shelter in Madison again,” said Linda McDaniel, Pilot Club treasurer and the coordinator of the Old Court Days fundraising committee.
Following budget cuts by the Department of Child Services, the Pathways Youth Shelter suspended operations in September 2012 and re-opened in March with a new license from the DCS. The Pilot Club also provides youth groups with needed items such as picnic tables and holds bicycle rodeos to teach children bike safety.
“What’s nice about Old Court Days,” said McDaniel, “is that it has everything from woodworking to baby clothes. We usually get the same vendors back each time in their same booths.”
Bunch said she looks forward to showcasing her jewelry for Old Court Days shoppers again. She began attending shortly after she began making jewelry eight years ago. She came to the art through natural progression – her background in interior design led her to work in floral design for 10 years.
“When I was doing that,” said Bunch, “they made you take classes. I took a jewelry class and eventually quit my job to focus on that full time.”
Bunch typically works in hammered metals, forming unique pieces from sheet copper and sterling silver. Two years ago, she began practicing lapidary, the art of cutting gemstones into decorative material, and incorporating it into her metals. She takes a natural approach to her designs, building from a stone’s shape and color to find what works together.
If something looks better with copper or silver, she bases her design around that aesthetic.
“Right now,” she said, “I’ve been getting into these cuff bracelets I really enjoy making. They’re a little bit of everything, hammering and wire works with cut stones or beads to embellish it. I’ll cut out a design and just starting adding to it. It’s just fun.”
She added that she isn’t hard on herself and doesn’t remake things over and over again. “I let things be what they are. Someone may like it even if it’s not my personal favorite. It’s funny, the things I think, ‘Oh, this will be awesome’ and may not sell for a while. It goes the other way around, too.”
Bunch said the cuff bracelets are a popular piece at Old Court Days in addition to the pendants she makes in the same creative style. Her bracelets are adjustable, which makes them good gifts.
Lately, Bunch has been expanding her skills as she decorates her new home in Battleground, making copper sconces, which she may start offering in the future along with some platters. Those, however, are time consuming and a couple hundred dollars apiece, whereas her jewelry sells at a more affordable $5-$75.
“I keep my prices fair so I’m not asked to negotiate often,” said Bunch. “When you make your own art, people appreciate what you put into it. I enjoy seeing people walk away with what I’ve made.” While she doesn’t believe artists and craftsman should give away work for less than their value, she believes they are better off pricing things fairly. “Your customers will see that, and it’s good for everyone.”

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