March 22, 2023


Digital Art Community

A Free Trip to Eastern Kentucky
Chester Cornett splitting out a log for a chair in Appalshop’s film “Hand Carved.”

Eastern Kentucky is the most beautiful part of the state – and the most poor. Ravaged first by the lumber industry and then coal mining, the land and its people are surprisingly resilient. When visitors come to Kentucky and want to understand the state, I drive them east into the mountains.

It’s also an area rich with a cultural heritage in art, music and furniture making. And for the last 50 years, Appalshop has been recording all aspects of the culture with fascinating short films.

During the pandemic, Appalshop has made all of its videos on its streaming platform free to rent. This is a remarkable chance to browse and watch the organization’s films from the 1970s to the present day. 

You can see all the videos available here. To rent them for free, click the “apply promo code” link at checkout and enter: watchparty.

Of special interest to woodworkers: Watch “Hand Carved,” the fantastic film about chairmaker Chester Cornett. Also, check out “Chairmaker,” a film about Dewey Thompson and his rocking chairs. There are also films about quilting, bluegrass, coal mining, hip hop in the mountains, and civil rights. 

If you find films you like, they are inexpensive to purchase, usually about $5. And it helps support a great organization.

— Christopher Schwarz