MADISONVILLE, Ky. (1/9/14) — Growing up in a family, whose artistic abilities go past above and beyond, Cassie Pendergraff started her online shop, “The Learn’d Housewife” to give herself a creative outlet, to help the local library purchase children’s books and support local artisans and crafters of all kinds.
“Two of my aunts paint and one of them recently started illustrating children’s books. My grandmother, uncle and my mom quilt. My dad’s mother made clothes and my uncle gardens, woodworks and recently started painting,” said Pendergraff. “Also, my dad is an excellent guitar player and my sister can sing. My papaw could make just about anything that flourished in his garden and my mammaw always spent her summers preserving the harvest.”
Pendergraff believes that she has been very lucky to have grown up in that type of family environment.
“Everyone has one talent or another,” said Pendergraff. “Growing up in a family like this I didn’t have a choice but to find something to do with my hands.”
However, it wasn’t until after her daughter was born that Pendergraff really took a more serious interest in making things. She also found out that the local library’s funding for books was drastically cut and she wanted the opportunity to give back by donating a dollar from every item she sold to help with the purchase of children’s books.
“I started out making little dolls for my daughter,” said Pendergraff. “I fell in love with so many of the fabrics I had used for quilts and other projects and I really wanted to find a special way to display them. That was almost six years ago and we’ve been sewing, cooking, baking and creating together ever since.”
Pendergraff’s items range from fabric button earrings to kitchen gear and recently, some of her items have been displayed at the Hopkins County-Madisonville Public Library craft fair. She’s also started an extension of The Learn’d Housewife, called “Mamma Cass’ Kitchen.”
“It’s for my kitchen paraphernalia, which includes cloth napkins and all the jams and jellies I make throughout the year with whatever happens to be in season,” said Pendergraff. “I also have two extracts at the moment. My most popular is Everlasting Vanilla Extract, which contains vanilla beans that can be reused time and time again. Also, I make a mint extract that features my absolute favorite mint plant. The chocolate mint is stellar in homemade ice-cream.”
This past Mother’s Day, Pendergraff started a few beehives and said that her interests fluctuates often and it is anyone’s guess what she might be creating next, but most likely will involve honey.
Pendergraff also wants to encourage people in the community to support local artists and crafters this year. She believes the community is full of imaginative people who can bring their own unique vision to the area and doesn’t limit that sentiment to not only traditional artists but also can be extended to local farmers, yoga instructors, new restaurants and coffee shops.
“While we normally think of artists and crafters as people who work with their hands to create paintings, quilts, jewelry, clothing, pottery, woodwork and other traditional ‘crafts,’ there is a world of people out there who are creating every day,” said Pendergraff. “All we have to do is look.”
SurfKY News Reporter
Photos by Cassie Pendergraff
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