INDIANAPOLIS — When Aaron Dickinson started his woodworking business, he focused on hand-crafting furniture for people’s homes.
But that, the Hancock County man discovered, left behind a lot of leftover material. It was eyeing the scrap pile that led him to make his first cutting board, a project that changed the scope of his business entirely.
“I would make cutting boards out of the mountains of scrap and found there is, indeed, a very large market,” he said.
Last weekend, Dickinson’s hand-crafted wooden kitchenware was on display at the Indiana Artisan Marketplace, a two-day event at the Indiana State Fairgrounds that aims to celebrate the best in Hoosier art.
Former Lt. Gov. Becky Skillman created the Indiana Artisan organization in 2008 as part of an economic development initiative to strengthen local arts-based businesses.
The first few years were spent growing the program by recruiting artists to submit their work for consideration. To be designated an Indiana Artisan, artists must prove their work is handmade, and it has to be judged as exceptional in quality by a jury of artists.
Today, the nonprofit organization boasts 268 artisans representing 59 Indiana counties.