Blessed with talents! Creative abilities seem to pour forth from Judy Howald when she isn’t spending time helping her husband, Jim, at their farm on the outskirts of Birmingham. No matter what she does, her whole heart and energy are focused on her current project. When a new project captures her thoughts, she often spends some sleepless nights thinking about what she should do next.
Over the years, Judy spent most of her time working in a factory on an assembly line. Even there she was always creating signs for the business or developing new ideas for improving quality and design.
Perhaps her creative talents received their start when Judy followed her dad as he designed plans for homes he was building. The details fascinated her. Today in her woodshop, intricate plans that she has drawn for projects can be seen on the work tables.
When Jim and Judy purchased the farm, it seemed that cutting the timber would help with payments. But lumber prices were low at that time, so Jim would cut the trees, take them to the mill, dry and straight edge them, then return them to the farm where Judy began turning them into furniture. And beautiful furniture she created!
Being very active in the Birmingham United Methodist Church, at Bible School time several years ago, Judy created a scene of animals from Noah’s Ark. She painted a background with an elephant and zebra, then made a giraffe of paper mache.
Maybe that began her thinking about making a small replica of Noah’s Ark, which she is working on today. This ark is about 42″ long and has small partitions inside for the various animals. The roof is on the shelf above and plans are to build a small house on the top, which might be where Noah and his family stayed.
Another project underway right now for her church is a “Sermon Puzzle”. Her pastor asked if she could create a picture that they could use to tell a story by fitting in various parts of the puzzle – a cornerstone here or a steeple there. Her beginnings are reminiscent of a Thomas Kinkade painting with the light shining through at intricate places.
A tour of their home showcases her talents as every room has the creative touch of this amazing woman. Let’s not forget that Judy is also an author. She has written and published one book – the life of her husband, Jim, from Alaska to Birmingham, Ohio. All the proceeds from her book go to that little home church.
Her woodshop is above the garage just outside her back door. It is fully equipped for all of her projects. Here she steams and bends the pieces of wood to make the ark and other artistic pieces. Heat for the woodshop and the house is provided by a wood burner. They use the tops of the trees, that can’t be turned into beautiful projects, as their fuel.
While finishing the ark and puzzle keep her occupied right now, you have to wonder what project is next on her mind. Whatever it happens to be, you can be certain it will be something of high quality…and beautiful.