St. Matthews potter uses childhood music idol as inspiration for giving back
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A St. Matthews man is using his love of pottery and screen printing to give back. He's bringing his idol from Music City to the Bluegrass state with his latest project.
Out of the basement of his childhood home, Jason Burnett is working "9 to 5." "My dream, my dream would be to meet Dolly," Burnett said.
It's not only to make a living. "How do I create work that can make a positive impact locally, but with issues that might have a national scale to it," Burnett said.
He moved from Tennessee two years ago. "Moving back here to Louisville, doing a lot of research, seeing if there were any sort of ceramic facilities or educational centers or ceramic galleries that were having fundraisers, I found sort of none that were ceramic specific, and so when you see a void, what do you do? You fill it."
He branded himself, Mr. Benny's Pot Shop. The neighborhood potter created "Craft for a Cause." Each craft benefits a different organization. He's calling his most recent work "Cups of Ambition," in honor of Dolly Parton.
"Seeing the amount of attention that people have for Dolly, it's constant and being in tune to that now, she's an idol that I've had for years and years and to find out others have that sort of same similarity, why not benefit a local charity, a local nonprofit," Burnett said.
Thirty percent of every Dolly mug sold goes to the American Printing House for the Blind. Burnett said the organization is partnering to incorporate braille into books for Dolly's Imagination Library. "We work with local partners really all around the world and right here in Louisville, which is very nice and currently we have 1.2 billion children a month receive a book through the Imagination Library," says David Dotson, President of the Imagination Library.
He and other artists are building merchandise to sell in his online exhibit in the fall. "People are hungry for Dolly Parton stuff and people are hungry for handmade," Burnett said.
He's using his tedious talent and love for Dolly to make a difference. "I could only dream of what Dolly Parton would say. She is an example of giving back to her community and I honestly hope she would be very pleased. I could only imagine what she would say. I'm sure she would have a really cute chuckle and giggle and that makes anybody laugh," Burnett said.
"There's two things that Dolly always loves. One are people who support Imagination Library and two are creative people, so it's a perfect match," Dotson said.
As for Burnett's dream. "She certainly appreciates people who hold her close to their heart, so you can tell him if he can get to Dollywood, we'll figure out a way for him to meet her," Dotson said.
The online sale is through October and November on Mr. Benny's Pot Shop's website. For more information about Mr. Benny's Pot Shop, click here.
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