Oral History Interview with Anne Ogden Part II

Kentucky Historical Society


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1:50 - Responsibilities at the Kentucky Arts Council / Kentucky craft climate during that time

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Keywords: Appalachian Fireside Crafts; Arts Center Association:Phyllis George; Berea College; China; Ecuador; Jerry Workman; Kentucky Arts Council; Nash Cox; Objects U.S.A.; Richard Nixon

10:07 - Form vs. function / handmade and mass production

14:53 - Programs at the Kentucky Arts Council

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Keywords: Alma Lesch; Artists Fellowship program; Governor's Award in the Arts; Kentucky Arts Council

16:58 - How the John Y. Brown administration changed the craft climate in Kentucky

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Keywords: Al Shands; Craft Marketing Program; John Y. Brown; Kentucky Arts Commission; Mary Shands; Phyllis George

20:20 - Working with the grants program for the Kentucky Arts Council

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Keywords: Adrian Swain; grants; Kentucky Arts Council; Louisville Visual Arts Association; Speed Museum

26:31 - Arts organizations competing for state funding

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Keywords: Appalshop; Louisville (KY); Speed Museum; Visual Art Association

31:51 - Arts organizations / artists with major influences on Kentucky craft

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Keywords: Adrian Swain; Arturo Sandoval; Berea College; Ed Malthrop; Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen; Marie Hoschstrasser; Rude Olsonik; woodworker

34:38 - Future hopes for craft in Kentucky

39:11 - Wayne Ferguson / Rude Osolnik


WILLIHNGANZ: Some of this, most of this in fact, we’ve probably already covered. But perhaps, not exactly the way they phrase it. So, I’m just going to read these to you the way they are, and if you want to comment further about them, that’s fine. If you don’t, we can move along. What was your background experience, education and career that brought you to the Kentucky Arts Council?

OGDEN: Yeah, I think we kind of talked about that.

WILLIHNGANZ: We’ve pretty much covered that.

OGDEN: Artistry and the House Beautiful Magazine Crafts Editor World, and the change that made me really want to come back home. I think it’s always exciting when something happens and it totally changes your life. And, it’s a big surprise, and that book that Mrs. Webb sent me to was one of those occasions.


OGDEN: I’ve had several of them in my life, including getting married for the first time at age fifty-three.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yes, that would be a change.

OGDEN: Laughter.

WILLIHNGANZ: That would definitely be a change .

OGDEN: It’s like a sea change, which is what we call our cottage in Maine .

WILLIHNGANZ: Oh, that’s terrific!

OGDEN: Transformation.


OGDEN: But, this was, in fact, that for me coming back here.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow! Hum, that’s terrific! You said your title was Craft Coordinator. Did this position exist prior to your hiring?

OGDEN: No. I think we mentioned this, too. A number of crafts people had come to Nash Cox, who was the Director of the Arts Commission, and said we want somebody on the staff who has our interests in mind, and have the Arts Commission itself pay more attention to our needs and interest.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay. What were your responsibilities as a KAC staffer?

OGDEN: Well, I probably had that written down in some form that makes a lot of sense than what I’m going to say. But, I think it was to determine the needs of the field, and then to try to develop more visibility, more funding sources, more connections for crafts people and crafts groups in the state, based on the needs that they expressed.


OGDEN: And it turned into really more of administering grants, too. I mean I did that. That was a big part of the job was making sure that people around the state…that crafts people knew what was available, and that the people who were overseeing the decisions had crafts people’s interest in mind. So, I actually was involved in choosing the jurors or the panelists, so to make sure that the people who were applying for funds had people who really understood what it is they needed.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow, a lot of responsibility there! What was the status of the craft movement at the time you came on board?

OGDEN: Well, in Kentucky we talked quite a little about the national scene, and that show Objects U.S.A., and In Praise of Hands, and how the whole field was just beginning a resurgence. Because clearly, in the earlier thirties and so forth, there was more active and then there was sort of a less active. And, I definitely think that the whole field was just getting ready to want to be more visible in Kentucky at the time. There were a lot of wonderful organizations that had been going for quite a while. And, we talked about Berea College and the importance it had in the field, and the Arts Center Association in Louisville. There were studio crafts people as well as the craft production centers, and so forth, and it was, I think, it was just a time that there became considerably more interests in the field. As evidence, Phyllis’ interest, Phyllis George wouldn’t have been interested at all if it hadn’t been that the field was beginning to become more active, I think.

WILLIHNGANZ: It may seem like a trivial observation, but it seems to me like the interest in the crafts area, art in general, sort of surged and drew down according to whether we were at war or not.

OGDEN: Well that’s interesting, yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: Just we get preoccupied with all of the drama and trauma of the war process and it’s interesting.

OGDEN: Well, and then I guess in the thirties certainly there were needs…income needs, and some of the organizations…a lot of various organizations in eastern Kentucky got started originally, to try to help people in areas that had a lot of poverty find alternate sources of income, and in that, the Hound Dog Hookers. There were people who came into east Kentucky from outside of the area to help start some of these places. There was a place called the Quicksand Craft Center and Vest. And, there were Lost Creek Craftsman, and various groups that were really started as economic development engines early on.

WILLIHNGANZ: But, don’t you think that to some extent the introduction of commercial interest can change radically the quality of the craft production?

OGDEN: I think it is something to be very careful about. And, I would say one of the things that Nash and I did was to go to Ecuador. We have a partnership, Kentucky does, with Ecuador, and to try to develop a kind of partnership in the crafts field there, so we would have exhibitions here, and would send Kentucky crafts people’s work there. And, I can’t remember exactly what actually happened, but we did go to Ecuador. And, at the time, I remember thinking, you know, when they’re trying to really promote these big craft production facilities, you really could lose a lot of the original kind of the quality of the craftsmanship of the time it takes to do things. And, another trip that I did once was, that was really fascinating, was I was in China right after Nixon in seventy-eight. And, a group of people who were involved in the crafts nationally went. And, one of the reasons China let us in, People’s Republic, let us in, because I mean, most people weren’t traveling there then…was that they wanted us to look at their craft production and make recommendations. Well, these were a lot of museum people, and a lot of us didn’t know, really, a lot about jade factories, or they had old looms that they had gotten in England, that were terrible on people’s ears and stuff, and making a terrible racket. And the jade factory was using water to carve them with no masks on or anything. But, going back to your question, I think, when you try to develop a production, you have to be really, really careful about the quality, because you can really slip up on it if you’re not careful. And, I think some of the organizations in Kentucky, like the group that Jerry Workman worked with, the Save the Children Federation, and Appalachian Fireside Crafts, always cared a lot about keeping the quality up as well as trying to develop opportunities for more of crafts people to be involved, so they would get more income. But, it’s a slippery slope, I have to say.

WILLIHNGANZ: It is a slippery slope, and I think any group or artist has to make decisions in terms of where they’re going to be along that line. I was interviewing Walter Cornelison from Bybee Pottery.

OGDEN: Sure, yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: And, I got the chance to drive to the original Bybee Pottery and go through it, and I shopped some of it.

OGDEN: That’s in Richmond isn’t it?

WILLIHNGANZ: Yes. And, you go in there and the roofs are, you know, about five foot eight or so, and I’m ducking down in there, and he was telling me that, you know, they got basically approached. And I don’t know if this was the Phyllis George initiative or how this came about. But, they got approached by Bloomingdale’s, and they wanted production on such a level they said, you know, we would have to completely change our process in order to meet those kinds of.

OGDEN: They didn’t do it.

WILLIHNGANZ: So, they didn’t do it.

OGDEN: Well. There were complaints at the time, I remember, about…because the Bloomingdale’s program had Christmas ornaments made out of old quilts. And, there was a kind of hue and cry that somebody was cutting up old quilts to make Christmas ornaments, to try to go into the sort of House Beautifully kind of, you know, approach. I did a little investigating on it, and found at least people were saying that they were old quilts that wouldn’t have been used anyway. I don’t know. I don’t know whether that’s true or not, but it certainly is an example of how you can get a real problem if you’re not on top of that kind of issue.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Well, there was a point at which crafts weren’t art. They were, I need a chair to sit on I’m going to make myself a chair.

OGDEN: Yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: And then at some point, they became stylishly designed, and then you had the merging of functionality, and the Shakers probably emphasizing this more than any group. They have functionality, and at the same time, they have a style on aesthetic that’s terrific. And you look at that transition, and how we’ve gone to now we make chairs that you don’t actually sit on because their so beautiful. I wouldn’t want you know.

OGDEN: Or, they’re not functional.


OGDEN: And, they’ve got sharp (unintelligible) things sticking out of them, or I don’t know what, or tea pots that don’t pour.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. A certain number of those too.

OGDEN: Laughter.

WILLIHNGANZ: But, they’re beautiful to look at, and terrific on the table. They look great !

OGDEN: It’s definitely…there’s a continuum on there between. But, I think, I mean, that’s the great genius of a lot of the Kentucky things is, they were so beautifully designed. And I don’t know why that’s the case. Seems that in Kentucky, instead of other places, that the things that were utilitarian were so beautiful…the coverlets and the quilts.


OGDEN: There is a quilt that the Speed has that’s just magnificent, that’s a Kentucky quilt. And you wonder where this vision…kind of some of these people came from, because they were not necessarily…didn’t go to art school .


OGDEN: And some people did, but not.

WILLIHNGANZ: That’s true. I’m always curious about where the line is between what we call hand crafts, because for instance, I was talking to some people from Louisville Stoneware, and I interviewed at one time the Manager of Production there. And, I was at the time writing resumes, and I wrote his history. And he was telling me basically about how they made a decision to be sort of middle of the road between actual handcrafting and manufactured bowls. So, they developed various processes which involved a certain amount of hand work.

OGDEN: People actually threw the pots on a wheel.

WILLIHNGANZ: Right. But they could do this at a level at a speed which made it semi-industrial.

OGDEN: Right.

WILLIHNGANZ: And you talk to Richard Belando about the development of the overhead hanging looms.


WILLIHNGANZ: That could move five times as fast as the old traditional hand looms, and how he trained people to basically shoot that shuttle across there, and work the pedals. And those looms just cranked, and they just put out material. I was interviewing another lady who does embroidery. Okay, embroidery is pretty neat stuff. I like that design, and she shows some of her stuff, and it’s wonderful. And, she tells me she does most of this on the computer. And she’ll design it on the computer, and the computer feeds it into a machine, and it embroiders for her.

OGDEN: Wow !

WILLIHNGANZ: Now where’s the line there .

OGDEN: Right.

WILLIHNGANZ: I mean is this really a hand…I mean she does hand typed.

OGDEN: Yeah. It has a lot similar with the whole book field. You know, like my friend in Monterey. I mean you set everything, all the type, by hand.

WILLIHNGANZ: Shoo! Not many people are doing that anymore.

OGDEN: I’ll show you a book that I did. It was wonderful! But, you know, I don’t know if one could answer when that line happens. And in the same way, when I was talking to Mrs. Vanderbilt Webb, and I said, ‘What’s the difference between art and craft?’ And her answer was not an answer. She didn’t answer me, she said, ‘Go read this book .’


OGDEN: And the book changed my life, but I still don’t know the difference between arts and craft .

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, I understand what you’re saying.

OGDEN: I think intention always is something. I don’t know how you fund intention, or make a decision about intention. But, I think these things seem to work themselves out. It’s probably impossible to make a definition, but maybe the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsman has, or maybe Fran did, and you know how they chose what they chose. We used to make definitions about, in order to get state funding, you had to do certain things that involved the public in certain ways. And so, I suppose somebody who’s like the Craft Marketing Program would have to do that, would have to make certain rules. And the Guild used to, I think.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Okay, let me return some (unintelligible).

OGDEN: You want an answer, right .

WILLIHNGANZ: I’ve covered my bases . Well, at some point it would be nice to have one. I’m not sure there is an answer.

OGDEN: Yeah, I think there is.

WILLIHNGANZ: And I think it changes as we go along. What craft programs or initiatives occurred during your tenure as part of the Kentucky Arts Council, as part of the Department of Arts?

OGDEN: Well, I would say that the most important thing, going back to the sort of reason for the position, was to make sure that the state was, and the state programs were including the crafts as part of what they were doing, which they really hadn’t been so much in the past. And so, that was a really important thing. And I think that the whole trying to bring both the national and a regional prospective, working coordinating regionally and nationally, was a really important part of it. There were certainly organizations that got state’s help that I hope that help was something that made them stronger and better at what they were doing. I haven’t looked at a list of who we funded in a long time. I hope that the Artists’ Fellowship Program, that funded crafts people, as certainly equal partners in the arts, lists something that was helpful in the long run both, to the people who cut the fellowships, but also in making much more visible the work that was being done by Kentucky artists’ and crafts people. I hope that the Governor’s Awards in the Arts that was started during our time there, was something that raised the visibility of crafts people. Alma Lesch was one of the first people to get one of those awards. We had a very collaborative way of working at the Arts Council, so a lot of us were working in ways that I think were helping boost the image of the crafts in the field. And I hope it helped.

WILLHNGANZ: Wow! Okay. How did the changes during the Brown administration affect your work, craft activities in the state?

OGDEN: Oh, well. I think that certainly when the Brown administration started the Craft Marketing Program, it was a very big help to a lot of crafts people financially. And gosh, it’s been a lot of years that that program, is still going, which I think is wonderful. So, I would say it was, you know, clear that the Brown administration made marketing and promotion with Phyllis’ help. It made things much more visible. Now Fran would be able to tell you much more than I would, what the actual results of that are, and what better incomes of crafts people, and how many, and what the impact of that was. I really, I don’t have those figures. But anytime you have, I think, that kind of visibility, it’s going to be a benefit to the people who are working in the field. Now, as far as the, I think, a lot of people, became interested in the craft field who might not have otherwise let them take the chance, for as one example. I mean Al and Mary started collecting Kentucky crafts at the time, and it was really because of their involvement with the Brown administration, and they became interested. And now Al’s interest has really changed since then. He’s collecting contemporary art in a major way, but it all came about because of that. And so, I…it never hurts to have a star .


OGDEN: For visibility and I think they did quite a job of that . There were some things that were difficult for the Arts Commission. We lost our traveling exhibition service, because funding kind of shifted to get the crafts marketing started. The Arts Council had lost some staff, and that we lost that program, and I think that was too bad, because I think it was, it was Albert Sperath that ran it, it was a fabulous program. Not only did we do the furniture show, but there was a show that traveled…supported the Guild’s twenty-fifth anniversary. The Kentucky Guild and it was a wonderful show. There were shows on bookbinding, and gosh, I’m trying to remember. But, there were a number of shows that were really Kentucky Crafts people. And, I think, that was a really important program in terms of getting crafts out in galleries, in spaces, in the state, and I think it’s too bad that they’re not doing it anymore.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, I’d like to stop for just one moment. Let us continue on, okay. Were you involved in the development of the Craft Marketing Program within the Department of the Arts?

OGDEN: I was not.

WILLIHNGANZ: Okay, just not.

WILLIHNGANZ: Were you involved in any efforts to coordinate activities among the various craft based organizations, at the time new programs such as the Craft Marketing and the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation came (unintelligible) or beginning?

OGDEN: The job I had, really, at the Arts Council, at that point, was running the grants programs. And so, I would say it would be presumptuous of me to say that I was doing any real coordinating of any craft programming at that point. But, I was certainly in touch with artists, and with organizations that were supporting the crafts. And I was, I hope, I had really incorporated the crafts as a full player in the work that the Arts Council was doing.

WILLIHNGANZ: You know, it seems to me almost like what I should do, doing the project I’m working on, is draw a timeline, and try and say, you know, in 1925. I think it is LVAA starts.

OGDEN: Right. When the Speed, and all that.

WILLIHNGANZ: All that, and when did the Speed start, and when did the Guild start…was 1960 and, you know, look at how those all intersect, and put in dates for particular events as well.

OGDEN: Absolutely, that would be interesting.

WILLIHNGANZ: That would be worth doing. There isn’t book or anything like that about Kentucky’s craft art history is there?

OGDEN: I don’t think so. Surely there must have been something through, if it would be, it might be through Berea College.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. I haven’t even really been to Berea. I mean I’ve been through Berea, and done many interviews there, but I have not gone to the College itself.

OGDEN: That’s a really interesting question. I don’t remember.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, I should talk to Tim Glotzbach. I bet he’d know about this.

OGDEN: I mean, there are other people who have been around in the field long enough too, like Adrian Swain. And, I mean, they might be helpful about knowing if there is something.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. Well, it’s worth researching at some point here. Okay, well there’s the (unintelligible). What changes did you see within the craft movement statewide, while you were at the Kentucky Arts Council? What organizational changes occurred as part of State government and elsewhere in the state?

OGDEN: I don’t know how to answer that, I don’t think.


OGDEN: What would some examples be of changes? Fran would probably know more if they were new organizations started. I mean, that would be one thing to talk about, and I don’t know if there were lots more crafts people working. I mean, that’s an interesting question, statistically, of how do you measure activity? And were there more groups getting grants? Yes. Were there more groups that had professional, well, maybe not, that had professional directors, but maybe they were being paid more, maybe. You know. Were there more crafts people in Eastern Kentucky, or whatever, than there were when I started? I don’t know.

WILLIHNGANZ: I guess what I would think would be of interest, would be wondering if there were changes in philosophy, or values.

OGDEN: You were talking about changes in values from a State prospective?

WILLIHNGANZ: Well. Yeah, from a prospective, I assume, that some of the people on the Arts Commission were appointed or.

OGDEN: All of them were appointed.

WILLIHNGANZ: All of them were appointed.

OGDEN: And they have staggered terms, so that it’s not one administration comes in and appoints all of them. That’s part of the checks and balances for it.


OGDEN: So, I mean the chairman is usually appointed by whoever is the governor, and although right now it’s, I believe it’s Todd Lowe, who was Chairman of Actor’s Theatre. He’s on the Speed board. I mean, he’s definitely a really great art supporter with a lot of integrity in terms of his interests in the arts. But, I think what you want to do is to have enough of a balance so that you don’t have necessarily one focus during, say, the Brown administration, another focus during the Collins administration, another focus. I think you don’t want to do that. You want to try to have some consistency in the ways of supporting the arts. And I would hope that certain governors would up the ante some, and provide more support that would continue. And so, I don’t know enough about the Arts Council right now and its values, but I would assume that given the fact that who’s the people I do know who are on the board, and the way the staff is structured and so forth, that they’re is still working to try to really support the needs of the state. I know they’ve done a great planning process that updated their long range plan, and are very much responsive to broadening, and it goes back to issues that you brought up. Are you broadening or are you deepening? They had a grant from the Wallace Foundation. The Speed also did to take a kind of approach that did try to broaden and deepen, and they are still doing that at the Arts Council. So, I assume that the overall support, philosophically, would be similar. I don’t know.

WILLIHNGANZ: Well. I wonder, you know, some of the things you were speaking of earlier in terms of support for the visual arts, as opposed to the performing arts, and the mechanical arts if you will.

OGDEN: Right.

WILLIHNGANZ: You know you look at the different conflicting things that, you know, I don’t mean to be a reporter who is digging into the seedier sides of things. But, I do wonder if there’s a certain amount of competition among various arts organizations for a limited pool of dollars.

OGDEN: Well. It’s interesting that, not this administration at the Arts Council, but several years ago, the Speed was sited as being one of the best managed, I love to say, best managed organizations. That it was doing great work in the community, and it got the highest rating of any of the organizations that had applied for state money. And they said, ‘Well, Speed doesn’t need the money. So let’s just not give it to them or something.’ I mean, we really had to struggle to say why state support was really important to what we were doing. So there’s that kind of stuff, and certainly when I was at the Arts Council there was tension between how much money went to Louisville and how much money went to the outside the Louisville area. I don’t know whether that’s still a big deal, but it was a big deal when I was there.

WILLIHNGANZ: I’m sure it’s still a big deal.

OGDEN: Big deal. And a group like Appalshop had a lot of strength, in terms of lobbying for the Arts Council…not lobbying the legislature for a greater share of the funds to go to east Kentucky, and to go to support areas that weren’t so urban. There’s a lot of that.


OGDEN: Probably still is.

WILLIHNGANZ: I’m sure there must be.

OGDEN: I don’t think those things go away .

WILLIHNGANZ: No . People are people. What changes did you see within the craft movement statewide while you were…I just did that one?

OGDEN: You did that.

WILLIHNGANZ: What long term impact did these changes have on crafts in the state? What benefits?

OGDEN: Well, I would love to know what Fran’s take on that is, because she’s been there so much. I mean it’s been thirty years since I was.

WILLIHNGANZ: Is that right?

OGDEN: Well thirty years since I was a Craft Coordinator. Yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow! I guess it has.

OGDEN: And uh , so I mean I’ve been at the museum. I was at the Speed for fourteen years and I left there in.

WILLIHNGANZ: Only twenty, you left in eighty-nine so that’s.

OGDEN: To the State. Yeah.


OGDEN: Still that’s twenty years, I think. So, I really don’t know the answer to that exactly, except from the Speed’s perspective, which is where I really was seeing things, although I was seeing it more administratively than I was artistically. It seemed to me that the development of crafts is an art form. It certainly developed a lot since I was first Craft Coordinator. I mean, I think there’s a lot more interest in the kind of expression, artistic expression in Louisville anyway. This interview makes me want to get in my little car and travel around the state like I used to do all the time. I really spent a lot of time in Eastern Kentucky. I spent a lot of time in west Kentucky. And I really miss it. I love the state. It’s wonderful. It’s so exciting. It was such an exciting time to be a part of all of that. It really was.

WILLIHNGANZ: Wow! Did you have any ongoing involvement with craft activities in the state in your position with the J.B. Speed Museum?

OGDEN: I really didn’t, no. I mean I was really focused on the development of the Speed from an administrative point of view, and I used to go down and look in the galleries occasionally …try to feed myself, ‘cause I could have been some ways working anywhere when you’re dealing with personnel issues, and dealing with long range planning issues.


OGDEN: And budget issues, and how to get everybody together on what the budget was going to be. I mean it’s, I really did that. That’s what I did, and I was not really involved in the Crafts Movement. I would go to the Art and Craft Foundation. I have been a member of the Visual Art Association and the Art and Craft Foundation, of course, interested in seeing what’s going on. But, that’s only from an observer and enjoyer’s point of view, and not really from a professional point of view. Fran’s been there much longer that, I mean, she’s really had that perspective that has lasted so long.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, I’ve done one interview with her, and I’m about to do another one with her, because there’s just a lot that I didn’t cover in the first interview that I think is probably important.

OGDEN: Yeah. She and I just did such different things. I mean, her perspective is going to be so really different from mine, just because of the way we were working in the field.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, okay. What groups or individuals do you feel have had the greatest impact on craft development in the state?

OGDEN: Well, we talked about Berea College. I mean, if you think about the productions centers, the Guild…Larry Hackley was real involved with Folk Arts. I think he did a lot to really promote and develop the Folk Arts as Adrian Swain. Let’s see, who…gosh there were some people who worked tirelessly. I mean you talked about Marie Hochstrasser, and talking to her and Arturo Sandoval, and there are people who’ve really been.

WILLIHNGANZ: How about Rude Osolnik?

OGDEN: Oh, I adored Rude. Oh, he’s one of my favorite people in the world.

WILLIHNGANZ: Did you know him?

OGDEN: Oh, yes. I’ve got work of his. I just loved him. We gave him…at the Arts Council…he got the Milner Award, or the Artist Award or something. And I’m just crazy about him.

WILLIHNGANZ: Why was he hard on you?

OGDEN: Oh, because it was never good enough and always wanted things improved, and he was right you know. He always wanted the crafts people to be supported. He really had his fingers in everything. He was nationally and internationally. He was, I think, part of that Objects U.S.A. Collection too, which was the book we talked about. Major figure, I think, as a teacher and a person who helped young people, and who inspired, and was challenging to people. He thought, you know, wanted more, and wanted to be the crafts to have more support. And he was a great guy. The state really lost a major figure.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, that’s pretty clear.

OGDEN: And the Speed has work in its collection of Rude’s. They had a gallery in Berea at one point, and he and his wife. His studio was so much fun to go to. I mean there were wood chips everywhere .


OGDEN: I mean Ed Multhorpe was a big figure in this National Craft Movement in wood, but so was Rude, and he was right up there with some of the best that have ever come out of this country. He was really a good person in a lot of different ways.

WILLIHNGANZ: What other observations, looking back, do you have about the development and advancement of crafts in the state over the last fifty years?

OGDEN: Laughter. Well, let’s see.

WILLIHNGANZ: In particular, the last twenty or twenty-five?

OGDEN: I was only twelve in that .


OGDEN: I mean, I hope that it will continue, and that people will appreciate what is going on here, because it’s a pretty remarkable state in a lot of ways. And I think it’s remarkable for not only the more traditional crafts. I honestly don’t know if those are still being produced in a way that they were, you know, thirty years ago. But I hope they are. I’m afraid that a lot of the, sort of older techniques, are fading some as young people may not want to take up some of this. I certainly think that the artistic expression as we talked about is alive and well in the state, and I hope that those studio craft and more production craft will continue. I mean, I think there’s still a lot of interest in it. I hope there is.


OGDEN: Things go through cycles, and it’s just such a rich heritage here. And it’s so important, I think, to the identity of the state and to the identity of all of us who live here.

WILLIHNGANZ: I certainly would agree with you on that. We have a local catholic church that does an annual craft fair for their, basically their parishioners. And you go in and frankly , their craft work…I looked at some, and very little there that I could do with no training at all. I know I could do this.

OGDEN: Yeah, it’s really.

WILLIHNGANZ: But you know, even that humble, as it is, serves a function. It makes people aware of what you start doing, and it brings people into an awareness.

OGDEN: Right, more as an audience in a sense.


OGDEN: We worked the Homemakers. I mean, that was one of the groups that I went out and tried to convert into, you know, working with the crafts in the state. Some things were pretty artsy, crafty, but there were a lot of, and still are people who do a lot of things that maybe aren’t, you know, gorgeous or beautifully designed, or whatever…is still doing things that come from the heart and come from the hand. And I think that’s a really important thing to be doing.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah. And it’s the more you come involved, I think, the more you see the possibilities for things you just didn’t see before. I did one interview recently with Linda Fifield, and you know Linda?

OGDEN: I don’t.

WILLIHNGANZ: She’s a bead stringer .

OGDEN: Ah, hah!

WILLIHNGANZ: She strings beads, which I thought stopped in about second grade. Boy was I wrong about that!

OGDEN: Oh, yeah.

WILLIHNGANZ: I mean what she does with beads is just terrific!

OGDEN: Is extraordinary.

OGDEN: Sort of like Native American.


OGDEN: I mean that’s the bead work that the Speed has that the Plains Indians are just amazing.

WILLIHNGANZ: Yeah, she sells at the craft show for the Smithsonian and it’s just fabulous.

OGDEN: What I don’t understand is the concentration and how you can, I mean, I just have such admiration for it.

WILLHNGANZ: It’s incredible!

OGDEN: For people who do that kind of work.

WILLIHNGANZ: I said, ‘Don’t you get tired of this?’ She sitting there stringing little beads you know these tiny little beads she uses.

OGDEN: But I think it’s therapeutic in some ways too.

WILLIHNGANZ: She does it for nine hours at a time, and is surprised when her husband comes home from work can’t believe she has to stop .

OGDEN: Yeah, well I got into when I was making pots. And when I was actually setting type I would get so absorbed in it for some reason. It was almost like meditation in a way, I mean it was a kind of transporting me into a different state of being.


OGDEN: Laughter.


OGDEN: I wish the results had been more magnificent but .

WILLIHNGANZ: Laughter. I think that completes my questions for you.

OGDEN: Okay.

WILLIHNGANZ: If there are any other comments you would like to make, you’re certainly welcome to do that.

OGDEN: Well it’s a remarkable…I feel as if I was involved in the crafts in the state at a remarkable time, and I feel very grateful for that. It’s a wonderful feeling for me I have to say.

WILLIHNGANZ: Well, terrific! I think you contributed a lot.

OGDEN: I hope so.

WILLIHNGANZ: And it’s terrific, and thank you for everything you did today . This is a Wayne Ferguson whistle pot, I guess you would call it.

OGDEN: Slightly Broken

WILLINHGANZ: Slightly Broken

OGDEN: Oh, these are two small pieces by Rudy Osolnik. Done in the 70s. The one on the right is rosewood and the one on the left is dogwood. Which is really interesting. I love the design that the wood itself brings out and I think that is one of the characteristics of Rudy’s work is how he worked with the wood and he brought out the real character of the when he was working with it on the lathe. I mean, it is a very modest piece, but it is charming, I think. It has a beautiful sort of texture to it.

WILLIHNGANZ: The history of these…

OGDEN: I am trying to remember how long I have had them. I have probably had them a long time. One of the thing I remember about Wayne Ferguson’s work , other than its whimsy, is that all of the little animals are whistles. I suppose since these are little wine glasses, I guess if things got really quiet at a party, you could always, you know, at least use them for something besides the wine. But, the uh, I guess those are toucans on top the wine glasses and they make a good strong sound.

WILLIHNGANZ: These are terrific.

[End of Interview Part II]