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Spring Old Court Days

Area vendors make Old Court Days
a fun place to find new treasures

From wood to metal to jewelry,
there’s lot of variety at show

(May 2018) – The “one of a kind” gift, not found in stores, uniquely personal, is what makes the Spring Old Court Days so special. The onsite artist can explain how the piece was made or work with the client to make a custom piece that specifically matches a personal item.

Spring Old Court Days

• 11 a.m. - 6 p.m. Friday;  9 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday; 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Sunday, May 25-27 around the Jefferson County (Ind.) Courthouse and Second Street.
• (812) 493-2024

This year’s show is set for Memorial Day Weekend, May 25-27, around the Jefferson County, Ind., Courthouse and Second Street parking lot in downtown Madison, Ind. The show is presented each spring and fall by The Pilot Club of Madison.
Returning popular vendors this year include Bob Capps of Hanover, Ind., an artist and woodworker who creates relief-carved wood plaques, lathe turned pens and lathe-turned bowls; Lisa Hayward with painted glass treasures, Winnie Costello of Pendleton, Ind., with handmade specialty soaps, and Becky and Ken Whittington with custom-crafted glass and silver jewelry. Many visitors return to this show each year to shop for new items from regular vendors who have become friends.
The admission-free show features unique handmade items, arts and crafts, antiques and collectibles, as well as food options from vendors. Hours of the show are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.  

Photo provided

Bob Capps of Hanover, Ind., makes all sorts of items out of wood. They include pens, plaques and more.

Bob Capps, 66, turned his woodworking hobby into a part-time business after he retired in 2011. He has been a woodworker all of his life, building furniture and anything and everything out of wood. Now he uses locally sourced hardwoods to create wood plaques featuring nature scenes, military emblems or any custom design on cherry and maple. Capps uses a computer numerically controlled machine with a 1/50 router bit to carve his designs. It takes six to eight hours to carve one 12x12-inch plaque. He then spends another six to eight hours to detail and finish each plaque. Another item he creates are custom made hardwood cutting boards.
He uses those same beautiful cherry and maple hardwoods for his lathe work, turning small, intricate pens and designing bowls of various sizes. All of his wood pieces are finished with clear lacquer that never turns yellow like polyurethane. The lacquer is the best way to highlight the unique woodgrain in each piece. Capps is self-taught, experimenting with tools, wood and techniques through trial and error to create his designs.
Long-time Old Court Days vendor Lisa Hayward brings her bright, hand-painted glassware to Madison for the spring show only, since she now does fall shows in her home state of Tennessee. She has been painting glass for more than 24 years, perfecting the types of paint and techniques to ensure that her pieces are durable. The durability is important because many of her pieces are designed as useful, everyday items that are even better when they are beautiful. 

Photo provided

Retirees Ken and Becky Whittington of Mooresville, Ind., enjoy selling their hand-made jewelry at area shows.

Her booth features a broad range of items, from small magnets that are useful as little gifts, such as “World’s Best Pet-Sitter” to larger decorative pieces. Hayward has observed that visitors to Old Court Days always enjoy items with paintings of birds.
“Artists at shows are judged every day by the quality of their work,” Hayward said. “While many items are for sale online, hand-crafted items must be seen and touched to validate and appreciate the quality of the item.”
Hayward said she always looks forward to seeing her repeat customers each year.
Costello of Pendleton, Ind., has done 14 Old Court Days shows in the last seven years due to the popularity of her olive oil and shea butter hand-made soaps. While she does sell online, she finds many clients stock up for the next six months, and some even buy for a year on her “buy 10, get 3 free” deal. Costello is passionate about the health benefits of using cold-processed olive oil and shea butter soaps with essential oils.  Individuals with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis find that the natural oils soften and hydrate their skin. 
Use of detergent-based hand and body soaps depletes the skin’s natural oils, which creates dry skin conditions. The dry skin is then treated with lotions and creams containing other chemicals.
All of those chemicals are readily absorbed through the skin. Soaps made with natural oils are now in demand by customers who experience softer skin, cuticles and heels. These soaps can also be used to wash hair or to take the place of shaving cream. The cold processed soaps take six weeks to cure. This type of soap is identifiable by the heavy weight of a bar. They are environmentally friendly as the bar soaps eliminate the need for the plastic bottles and pumps that build up in landfills.

Photo provided

Above are samples of Bob Capps’ intricate woodwork and carvings that he sells at his booth.

Recent retirees Becky and Ken Whittington of Mooresville, Ind., have more than 20 years of experience in art glass, starting with stained glass windows and sun-catchers in the 1990s. Today, their focus is jewelry, featuring exquisite hand-crafted glass beads and pendants.
Ken meticulously uses a mandrel which is wrapped with melting glass for each individual bead, and then finishing that bead in a 900 degree kiln for about 24 hours. A lampworking torch melts the glass, different size torches and oxygen-propane mixes create different temperatures. Softer glass can be worked at lower temperature, while very hard borosilicate glass requires the highest temperatures. Ken also does the soldering of silver jewelry that Becky designs.
Becky found her niche in silver jewelry while shopping for antiques. Old silverware is the medium for custom crafted bracelets. Her motto is that everyone should be able to find a bracelet in the right size. She will also design custom jewelry using family heirloom silverware so that everyone has a memory of grandma’s silverware. One project used iced tea spoons for a unique necklace. Their work has been featured in juried fine art shows as well as craft fairs.

Photo provided

Samples of Lisa Hayward’s painted glass are pictured above.

She and her sister, Terry Gore, manage the sales at shows. It has been a great way to enjoy time together as sisters. As for retirement, the Whittingtons find that jewelry business is now something that “keeps us active, gives us a purpose and something to do tomorrow.”  It’s the perfect retirement, they say.
Many vendors say they enjoy Old Court Days as one of their favorite shows. Capps described Old Court Days as a “great show.” Hayward said that after almost 20 years of shows, her cumulative time in Madison adds up to over three months. The location around the Courthouse is an easy place to set up. Costello values her friendships with other vendors each year, while Becky enjoys the manageable size of the show and the good selection of art and crafts. The Pilot Club members are helpful and hospitable, which gets vendors off to a good start.
Old Court Days is the primary fundraising project of the The          Pilot Club of Madison, a volunteer service organization which is affiliated with Pilot Club International. The focus is fundraising to promote an awareness of brain disorders and to improve the lives of those affected by the disorders.

 In addition, the club provides three local scholarships to value and recognize high school student volunteers.

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