Jon Kay on April 16, 2013

I stumbled on this YouTube video that aired in 1979 on WTTV show 4 Thought.  This segment features John Smith a fiddler and fiddle maker from Tunnelton, Indiana. He plays Old Dan Tucker and other old tunes, and talks about playing for square dance when he was ten years old and the process of making […]

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Jon Kay on April 12, 2013

I will be teaching Indiana Folklore and Folklife this summer at Indiana University and am enjoying putting together the Syllabus for the course.  This course explores the folklore and traditional arts of Indiana. First,we survey the oral traditions of our state. From local legends and ghost stories to jokes and personal experience narratives, we probe […]

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Jon Kay on January 29, 2013

I am planning a new podcast series about the history of folk arts in Indiana tentatively titled Indiana Folk Arts: 200 Years of Arts and Crafts in the Hoosier State. The aim is to identify 200 folk artists and objects for our state’s bicentennial in 2016. I will feature one artist for each year of […]

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Jon Kay on January 28, 2013

In a small country cemetery just outside Dugger, Indiana is a remarkable double treestump tombstone. These stones tend to be very biographical; the motifs carved into them often reveal information about the deceased, or at least how their family or community wanted to remember them. The spinning wheel is a common symbol for women who […]

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Jon Kay on January 23, 2013

I learned that Milan Opacich, tamburitza musician and luthier passed away Monday morning (January 21, 2013) at his home in Schererville, Indiana. Many folklorists who worked in Indiana will be familiar with his work, he was a key collaborator in the Gary Project and was featured by Richard Dorson in his classic Land of the […]

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Jon Kay on May 14, 2012

I was saddened to hear of the passing of old-time fiddler Joe Dawson of Bloomington. He grew up in Axsom Branch, a region in Brown County, which is now nearly forgotten, since it was cleared to build the Monroe Reservoir. While Joe first learned to play tunes in this rural community, it was later in […]

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Jon Kay on December 2, 2011

I wanted to let my listeners know about a podcast series that the TAI staff and I have been working on, Second Servings.  It is an internet radio program that explores the food traditions and cultures that give flavor to the Hoosier State.  From old time favorites like morel mushrooms and tenderloins to more recent […]

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Jon Kay on November 28, 2011

I was saddened to hear about the passing of oldtime fiddler Francis Geels of Decatur, Indiana, this summer. Born in 1925 in Adams County, Indiana, Francis grew up with music in his home. On both sides of his family, old-time music and country square dancing were weekly events. He played for house and barn dances […]

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Jon Kay on August 2, 2011

In the Clear Creek Cemetery, just south of Bloomington, Indiana there are three distinctive gravestones, each of which are shaped like a blacksmith anvil with a hammers resting atop the limestone marker.  I believe these stones, were locally crafted, probably for blacksmiths who worked for the quarries producing and repairing tools.  Two of the stones […]

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Jon Kay on July 28, 2011

I just finished making this video for the Indiana State Fair Master’s program. I was really inspired by Harold Stark’s story and his thoughts about making things as a memorial for those who taught him and shared information. If you go to the Indiana State Fair, please head over to the Pioneer Village and see […]

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A small town on the banks of the Ohio River, Cannelton, Indiana is known for its beautiful sandstone structures.  The Cannelton Cotton Mill is a mammoth sized block building built before the Civil War and Saint Michaels is an exquisite church made by the finest of stonemasons.   One of those talented artisans, Martin Heim emigrated from […]

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Jon Kay on June 29, 2011

I took my Indiana Folklore class to the Mathers Museum of World Cultures at IU last week. We were researching Indiana’s pottery traditions. I was specifically interested in the Museum’s collection of pots and jugs attributed to the Hendricksville pottery, in Green County Indiana. Ellen Seiber the Curator of Collections at the Mathers was very […]

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Jon Kay on June 23, 2011

Here is an impromptu performance of Steve “Spoon Man” Tankersley, playing the spoons outside the Salem Public Library, in Washington County, Indiana. I shot it with a little point and shoot camera and was surprised at how well it picked up the sound of the spoons. Steve learned to play from his father, but he […]

Continue reading about The Spoon Man Download (27.9MB) In this episode, I talk with Milan Opacich a National Heritage Fellow, tamburitza musician and luthier.  We discuss his life’s work of collecting artifacts, instruments and ephemera related to tamburitza in the United States. Writing for the ethnic magazine, Serb World USA, he has chronicled the history of this often-overlooked genre of […]

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Jon Kay on January 26, 2011 Download (27.0MB) In this episode, I talk with Curt  Witcher, the Senior Manager for Special Collections at the Allen County Public Library in Fort Wayne, Indiana. His work includes leading The Genealogy Center, which is a world-class research center for family and local history research.In this interview, Curt and I discuss general research strategies […]

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Jon Kay on November 22, 2010 Download (26.7MB) In this episode we talk with  historic preservationist John Staicer, who helped save the last 19th century saddletree factory in the United States. John not only helped place this vernacular treasure of Madison, Indiana  on the National Register Historic District, but he and several other professionals and volunteers worked to maintain the […]

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Jon Kay on August 20, 2010 Download (27.4MB) In this episode we meet with historical archaeologist Mike Strezewski and talk about his excavation of the Harmonist kiln site in New Harmony, Indiana. We will also meet with Tom Wintczak, a redware potter who made  plates, strainers and pitchers, inspired from the broken shards and pieces from the excavation site. We […]

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Jon Kay on July 25, 2010 Download (21.6MB) Welcome to the pilot episode of Artisan Ancestors. I think we have an interesting program for you today. In our feature segment,  I will be talking with Geoff Davis, a third generation ukulele player, and discuss how he discovered and researched Indiana’s lost history of ukulele building tradition. Also, in today’s program […]

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