Virginia Petty, called Gin for short – has been involved in art and craft all her life. She has worked mostly with natural materials, such as wood, vines, plants and bark.
Gin began carving at the age of six when her father taught her how to sharpen a knife. She grew up in a rural environment and for nearly 25 years earned her living as “The Whistlin’ Whittler,” carving spoons and wooden items for the kitchen.
In 1994 Gin left her woodcarving business, sold her farm in western Kentucky, and moved to Berea, where she began making free-form baskets from natural materials. She now creates miniature baskets that are woven from dried daylilys, hosta and iris leaves; daffodil stalks; and a variety of barks.
Gin was introduced to papermaking by Dorie Hubbard and has since been researching and making paper from native plants. Her papermaking led naturally into bookbinding. Gin learned the process of binding by taking apart books, by reading a 1963 edition on book-binding, and through trial and error.
Gin is a lifetime member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists & Craftsmen, and the Kentucky Craft Marketing Program.
Works by Gin Petty can be found at the Log House Gallery, Berea, KY; Appalachian Fireside Gallery, Berea, KY; the Kentucky Museum of Art & Craft, Louisville, KY; and the Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, Berea, KY.