4-H clubs show off crafting skills

Posted 21 July 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Sue Cook – This acrylic painting “A Vase of Flowers” by Rachel Gregoire, 14, of the Rabbit Raisers Club won both a blue ribbon and was selected for the state fair.

By Sue Cook, staff reporter

KNOWLESVILLE – The Trolley Building at the 4-H Fairgrounds opened today to showcase the crafts that many 4-H’ers created.

Judging took place on Saturday and Sunday to allow the kids in animal groups to focus on their animals throughout the rest of the week. Ribbons have already been awarded.

This “Summer Celebration Brunch for Two” table setting won a blue ribbon and was selected for state fair. The display was made by Maggie Gabalski, 17, of the Rabbit Raisers club.

The brunch that is meant to be served on this setting includes several items such as blueberry muffins with blueberry ginger jam and almond poundcake with peach lavender glaze. The meal is meant to feature garden-fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.

Instead of the more traditional crafts, the Gregoire family in Murray chose to set up a display of their own trapping-related crafts used for making pelts. The long wood pieces are stretcher boards used for stretching the hides of animals and were made by the kids in the club.

“Basically after you harvest the animal and you skin it out, you have to dry the thing before you can possibly tan it or sell it,” Rachel Gregoire said about the boards. “Depending on the animals, you have to put it on different ways.”

Her group doesn’t traditionally set up a display of this nature, but this year the Gregoire family set out the boards they made, along with examples of pelts, books and old tools used in the trade.

“My dad grew up trapping and my mom grew up on a dairy and fruit farm, so she did some hunting,” Rachel said. “Her brothers did a lot of hunting. I’ve been doing this my whole life.”

This stunning dress made by Lauren Becht, 14, of the Adventurers Club, was among the items chosen for the Court of Honor.

Claire Wachob, a 4-H Leader for the Lyndonville Mongrels, says a lot of the traditional handmade crafts associated with 4-H are not dying out or becoming unpopular. She even reuses old crafts for new groups of kids.

“We have quite a few artists in our club,” Wachob said. “They do a lot of wood crafts and ceramics, too. We choose mainly what they love doing. Not everyone likes to be a farmer and garden, but these kids like to paint.”

“We usually go back to the things that they really enjoy doing,” she continued. “I have accumulated all these records and I’ll pull one out and they’ll get excited. We can still do them; they don’t grow old. 4-H is based on the children and their needs, desires and interests.”

She added that 4-H is so popular and families find it so worthwhile that they make it a long-term family thing.

“It is a club where kids grow up to be parents, and the first thing they do is have their kids join a 4-H club,” Wachob said. “Like in mine, we have three generations.”

The Adventurers Club recycled beach towels and turned them in to fun aprons. This apron won a blue ribbon and was made by 6-year-old Matthew Mathes of the Adventurers Club.

Many of the items that won selection for state fair were grouped together on the back wall. The selection includes everything from skirts to snowman hats to plastic bag Muppet heads.