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story.lead_photo.caption RACHEL DICKERSON/MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Dennis Bergen of Anderson works at a pottery wheel at the New Bethel School Preservation Association's Old Time Craft Festival on Saturday.

The sound of bluegrass music filled the air as the New Bethel School Preservation Association held its fourth annual Old Time Craft Festival at the schoolhouse on Saturday. The event was moved from the fall to the spring.

In front of the school, Dennis Bergen of Anderson was doing a pottery demonstration. He explained the steps. First, you center the clay on the wheel; then, you open the middle of it with your fingers; then, you form a cylinder.

"I'm trying to get the walls as thin as I can get them," he said.

Once the walls are thin enough, he can form it into the shape he wants, he said.

"Next, you just push it whatever direction you want it to go," he said.

Finally, the potter decides what kind of surface texture he wants. Bergen finished his with some wavy lines applied with a tool. He said it would need to dry for several days.

"When it's dried, it's called greenware. When it's fired, it's called bisque ware," he said.

Tori Bass was demonstrating Dutch-oven cooking over a fire. She made chicken and noodles and yeast bread and homemade banana bread. Her mother, Gina Matter, was helping her.

Matter said the secret to Dutch-oven cooking is to "make sure it doesn't burn. Stir it. Keep your fire at a good level so it's not making everything bubble over."

Matter said she learned from her mother and grandmother. Bass said a lot of the bowls and Dutch ovens they were using were passed down from great-aunts and great-grandmothers.

"It's just a family tradition of Dutch-oven cooking," Bass said.

Laura James of Anderson brought two miniature horses to the event, Black Jack and Barbie Doll.

"They can pull a cart or give kids a ride," she said. "I have lots of grandchildren; so they play with them. They ride with the saddle and they ride in the carts and they brush them. They're miniatures, not Shetlands. They're the smallest of the small. They've got a really sweet temperament."

Janet Mote was demonstrating a treadle sewing machine inside the school.

"I love history," she said. "I love to try and excite kids about history. There are so many exciting things about history."

She said she tries to cultivate old skills, like sewing and gardening.

"Modern life has certainly made us lose a lot of practical skills," she said.

Tim Scott of Anderson was demonstrating shoeing a horse. He said he learned to shoe horses when he was 13, and that was 40 years ago.

Scott said the purpose of putting a shoe on a horse is that the way humans use horses is unnatural and they will wear their hoofs out faster than they can grow. He said he has to balance them and make them as comfortable as possible. The hoof is made up of several different pieces. It has a white line of fibrous tissue where the nails should go. If the nail gets inside that line it can cause irritation and is called a hot nail.

"You can get the shoe on the foot without causing the horse any discomfort and it stays on the length of time it should," he said.

Karen Almeter, director of the New Bethel School Preservation Association, commented on why the group holds the event.

"We do the Old Time Craft Festival both to raise funds to restore the old school and for the enjoyment of the community. We want to preserve the old ways of doing things -- spinning, pottery, horseshoeing, sewing on a treadle sewing machine, churning butter -- by teaching them to others."

General News on 05/10/2018

Print Headline: Craft Festival Returns To New Bethel School

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