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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Down-home images

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Charlie McCulley looks at lots of glitz and bling as she helps her grandparents set up their booth Wednesday at Calsonic Arena for the Celebration.
(T-G photo by Jim Davis) [Order this photo]
It's a homecoming of sorts at the Celebration for Dee Foster. Foster now calls Texas home, but each year she enjoys a trip back to her hometown of Shelbyville to sell her signature screen printed shirts at the Celebration Trade Fair.

Foster is the owner of Gator Prints, and she'll gladly give you the run-down on how she and her carousel of presses transfer image to screen and ink to shirt.

"I run my business as if I were the one on the other end of the cash register," she said.

Dee Foster stays busy getting silk screen t-shirts ready for sale at her booth inside the Calsonic Arena as the Walking Horse Show gets underway.
(T-G photo by Jim Davis)
How it works

First, the art for the image must be created. Foster creates her own artwork, and says she likes to clean her workspace first to ensure the perfect space for the artistic process.

Next, she'll transfer the image onto a mesh screen, and use an emulsion technique to stencil the image onto the screen. Light is applied to the screen, and the areas of the emulsion not exposed wash away, leaving a negative of the image.

Now that the screens are finished, Foster's ready to head home to Shelbyville, where her mother still resides.

The actual printing of the shirts is a much quicker, less labor intensive process for Foster. She lines up the shirt with the press, smoothes it down, and squeegees the ink through the screen onto the shirt. If it's a multi-colored design, she'll repeat the process.

Finally, the shirt is run through a drier at 350 degrees for one minute to set the ink. What comes out the other end is an individualized work of art well worth the $20 price tag. She'll even throw a list of past World Grand Champions on the back if you'd like.


Dee Foster shows a finished product as she completes a silk screen T-shirt at her booth at the trade show inside Calsonic Arena as the Celebration gets underway.
(T-G photo by Jim Davis)
Foster only does one other horse show, the Flagstaff All Arabian Show. The rest of the summer, she spends weekends at various fast-pitch softball tournaments in Texas selling her fares out of an air-conditioned trailer.

Over the past decade-plus, her handcrafted shirts have gained a quite a few fans. According to her, the most requested print is also the most simplistic. A stark silhouette of a horse head provides for a strikingly beautiful image.

Foster brings a few new designs to the Celebration Trade Fair this year for a total of 11 designs that can be applied to t-shirts, v-necks, long-sleeve shirts and hoodies. To obtain a piece of her wearable art, visit the concourse in the Calsonic Arena between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.

New visitors

We've got some first-timers to entertain at the Celebration this year. The McCulleys have come all the way from southern Alabama to sell their designer copy jewelry at the Celebration Trade Fair.

Of course, they've been told about the Optimist Club's donuts, and they look forward to all of the pageantry of the horse show, too.

Glitz Galore-N-More is the name of their stand, and they will be on the concourse of Calsonic Arena from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. all 10 days of the Celebration.

Their summertime treks to festivals, fairs and shows is part business and part pleasure. While the goal is to sell some jewelry, they make sure to thoroughly enjoy crisscrossing the country in the process.

This time the journey was a little more than three hours, but setting everything up for display took about six hours.

The McCulleys offer high-end designer copies sold at a fraction of the price seen at department stores. Tiffany, Cartier -- you name it, they'll have it.

Granddaughter Charlie even came along this week, and is selling some of her hand crafted earrings, as well.

The Trade Fair is open on the concourse of the Calsonic Arena from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Aug. 28, the fair will expand to the floor of the arena.

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