Day 1: Hoosier Artisans Featured on Governor’s Jobs Mission to China



Indianapolis – As Governor Mike Pence begins his five-day jobs and economic development mission in China, he is showcasing the work of Indiana’s artisans throughout the trip by practicing the East Asian ritual of gift giving.


“China’s ancient history was on display today during our visit to the Great Wall,” said Pence. “The rich history at the wall reminded me of Indiana’s history and the vital threads that make up the very fabric of Indiana culture. During our meetings this week with Chinese business and government leaders, we’ll be presenting these Hoosier-made pieces of art that tell our story and showcase our heritage as a state dedicated to quality and craftsmanship.”


Gift giving is important in Asian business protocol and emphasis is placed on this ritual. During the trip, the Governor is presenting high-ranking business leaders with wooden bowls produced by Madison-based Chapman Woodturning Inc., which feature a raw, bark edging and Indiana’s state seal laser-engraved on the bottom. Crafted by artisan Gary Chapman, who retired from the Madison Consolidated School District after 34 years of teaching art, the bowls are hand crafted from local fallen and discarded trees of the Indiana forests.


“Indiana’s natural beauty is already a work of art,” said Chapman. “It’s my passion to transform wood from fallen trees in our state’s forests into bowls and other wood creations. It is an honor to have my bowls given as gifts on the Governor’s trip to China and an honor to represent Indiana’s artist community to leaders half way around the globe. I hope Chinese government and business officials treasure these bowls as a reminder of all that Indiana has to offer.”


Amish wall-hanging quilts from Shipshewana-based Little Helpers Quilt Shop are also among the gifts being given to high-ranking Chinese business leaders and government officials. Comprised of 40,000-50,000 hand-sewn stitches, Amish quilts from Indiana are a craft and tradition that date back more than a hundred years, originating with European Amish families moving to the Hoosier State in the mid-1800s.


The Governor is also presenting Kokomo-based Kokomo Opalescent Glass hand-blown glass vessels, which feature an etching of the company’s name and the Indiana state seal.


First Lady Karen Pence is presenting silk scarves with a watercolor print of Indiana’s official state flower, the Peony, to company and culture officials in China. The First Lady painted the original watercolor that is used as the design for the scarf.


Gifts including a greeting card set featuring photographs of Indiana’s state parks, neckties in state colors and pens featuring the Governor’s signature will also be given to officials in attendance at the meetings.


The Indiana Economic Development Corporation purchased the gifts using private contributions from the Indiana Economic Development Foundation.


The Governor also kicked off his week in Beijing by meeting with the Haier Group, the largest Chinese multinational consumer electronics and home appliances company, to thank them for choosing Evansville, Indiana for its tech center last fall.


A photo of Gary Chapman Bowls’ hand-crafted wooden bowl can be viewed here. Photos of Little Helpers Quilt Shop hand-sewn Amish quilts can be viewed here and here


Updates from the Governor’s trade mission to China this week, including video clips and photos, will be posted throughout the trip here: