Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Possum Products Creates Basic Wooden Toys

Russ with saw

Russell uses a special saw to cut out pieces for his wooden toys.

Toys for kids of all ages can be found at Possum Products in Newcomerstown. Russ Riggle creates quality handmade wooden toys from over seventy different items he has designed.

Russ Basic Wooden Toy

The popular trend today is to return to the basics with his small wooden car.

   Making toys was a hobby for Russ for many years. He’s always had a passion for building things from wood and remembers a very rough wooden car he built at the age of five. By the time he was in fourth grade, he built a wooden Viking ship. Now his toys are more elaborate and much better quality.

Russ working on wheels

The wheels for his toys are all custom made and attached with wooden pegs.

   After working as a mechanical engineer for many years, his job moved overseas about seven years ago. At that time, he started selling some of the toys he made at the Newcomerstown Farmers’ Market. Sitting around isn’t something that Russ enjoys, so he began experimenting with new designs and products. Russ claims that he makes “anything with four wheels or that can fly in the sky”.

Russ building trucks

Assembling the toys is a bit like putting a puzzle together.

   Besides their being quality toys, they are all made right here in Newcomerstown, Ohio with U.S.A. materials. All toys are smoothly sanded but there is no finish applied. They are lead-free, with no metal or plastic parts and the glue is even food grade in case a young child just happens to chew on it.

   Now he travels to festivals and craft shows all over the state and has even expanded his shows to some out-of-state venues. His toys are very popular as people like to buy things that are created with American-made materials and craftsmanship.

Russ Setting Up

Son Adam helps his dad Russ set up the booth at the Paul Bunyan Festival.

   His sons enjoy helping at the festivals and even make a few wooden toys of their own. Adam and Ben frequently appear to help their dad with setting up the booth. Both enjoy talking to the customers as much as Russ does, and Russ says they are both great salesmen as well.

Russ display

Children like to play with the many toys on display at festival times.

   Having seen Possum Products at the Paul Bunyan Show, Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival, and Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, it became evident that their products were something that people from birth to ninety years old enjoy. Boys and girls walk up to their booth and roll the toys along the table, often reorganizing it. It’s a great tool for developing their imagination.

Russ Log truck

This wooden log truck complete with pine logs is his most popular toy.

   One little girl found a snowplow on the table, picked it up and walked outside. There she decided to move some gravel around with the snowplow. She put that toy to work.

   Their display includes a large selection of small wooden animals, which the children pick up and name. One youngster was naming the animals and came to one they called “Cloud”, which was really a sheep. Another cute name the children came up with was “Fast Food” for a pig on wheels.

Russ semi with race car

Get two wooden toys together with this semi carrying a race car.

   Since Russ works out of his basement at home, purchases must be made from the website and festivals he visits. They are busy with shows, and just recently had done eight shows in three weekends. Now you see why it’s important to have his sons involved.

    A rather popular way of using the wooden items is to laser etch the customer’s logo onto the sides. Then they can hand out the wooden truck or tractor with a long-term advertisement. While he doesn’t do custom work, he does get many ideas from his customers for future toys.

Russ helicopter 2

This made a great gift for a helicopter pilot.

   This is Russ’ only job right now and he spends many long hours doing something that he thoroughly enjoys. Making trains, planes, trucks, and tractors takes time and patience as he uses his own designs and even custom-makes his wheels. His prices are very reasonable ranging from $2 for small animals to $72 for a train.

Russ Salt Fork tent

Possum Products displayed at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   Visit Russ on his website www.possumproductsllc.com or see his toys in person at a festival or consignment shop near you. In the coming year, Possum Products will be going to Algonquin Mill Fall Festival, Pike Elementary, Roscoe Village and the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival.

   For the guys at Possum Products, the best thing about making toys is the look on a child’s face when they pick up the toys. Russ takes pride in the wooden toys he makes. When he isn’t making toys, he’s playing with them!

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Always a Christmas Tree for Bonnie

Bonnie Entrance

The entrance to Bonnie’s home gives a warm Christmas welcome.

Christmas trees appear in every room of the home of Bonnie Perkins, whose love for trees began back in childhood. Even though her mother wasn’t into decorating much for Christmas, there was always a tree at her grandmother’s house.

  Bonnie remembers a tree there that was so special it’s still stuck in her mind. Her grandmother decorated the tree with their gifts – handkerchiefs with Disney characters on them. Under the tree were bright oranges, a special treat.

Bonnie Living Room Tree

Bonnie tells about this tree, “The tree in the picture is my most special tree, closest to my heart. It has several decorations my kids made as children, some handmade ornaments from a friend, beautifully beaded balls from my late sister, and lots of memories of my husband when we would choose and buy a few new ornaments at Christmastime. Now in late years, I have things on it from my grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It always has a special spot in my bedroom. I see it the last thing at night and first thing in the morning!!!”

   Once she married Floyd Perkins, they always had a cut tree for Christmas. Now since she has so many trees, they are of the artificial kind.

   Her pet project for the past 15 years has been Wonderland of Trees, her favorite undertaking of everything she has ever done. This charity display and auction attracts area artists with a flair for creativity as they produce trees and holiday decorations that inspire.

Bonnie Awards

Bonnie displays her many awards for Wonderland of Trees. The glass trees in her hands are awards for Best of Show and People’s Choice.

   Not only does Bonnie help with the display of the Christmas paradise in the lobby of Southeastern Medical Center, but she also frequently is awarded several prizes. In past years, she has won People’s Choice and Best of Show Awards several times.

Bonnie Packed Branches

The branches of her trees have so many ornaments you can scarcely see the pine.

   Usually, she gets an idea “sometime during the end of the year and the first of October.” When someone wins awards year after year, you know they have a magical touch. Once the tree is decorated, spotting the pine beneath can be difficult. Any place the pine peeks through, Bonnie places a flower. Now the entire tree blooms in the color of her choice.

Bonnie Bathroom Tree

She calls this her Grinch Tree, which still makes a beautiful reflection.

   Her home is a showcase of holiday spirit. Many years it has been part of the Christmas Tour of Homes with people clamoring to get a look inside this beautiful house. It usually takes her a couple of weeks to decorate, and even though Bonnie is 83 years old, she climbs the ladder with ease

Bonnie Jewelry Tree

One tree people always remember at Bonnie’s is her Jewelry Tree.

   A favorite tree of visitors can be seen in one of her spare bedrooms. One year Bonnie had a bowl of costume jewelry that she wasn’t quite sure how to use. She also had many strands of pearls as that was a time of her life when she wore pearls frequently. It crossed her mind to give them to Goodwill.

   Then one evening she was resting in bed when an idea came to her. She would use the jewelry on a Christmas tree. That year the Jewelry Tree won all three awards at the Festival of Trees. People’s Choice, Best of Show, and Most Creative. But then it was sold at auction.

   Early the next day, Bonnie’s son and daughter arrived at her home with their families. They were carrying the Jewelry Tree as they had purchased it for their mother. This tree is special today for more reasons than awards.

Bonnie Big Tree

The largest tree in her house stands by the window in the living room.

   Her living room contains the largest tree which nearly reaches the 24′ ceiling. Also here is a beautiful fireplace built from two boxcar loads of copper ore sent from Colorado. An ornate chandelier from Spain adds a special touch to this room as well.

Bonnie Fireplace

Copper ore for this fireplace came from Colorado.

   No matter how beautiful everything appears, it’s a house to be lived in and enjoyed. Grandchildren enjoy games of hide and seek behind the furniture, and toys can often be found scattered around the rooms.

Bonnie Family Portrait

This family portrait hangs in her hallway as family is most important to Bonnie.

   Having started life in a poor beginning has made Bonnie appreciate her good fortune, but she assures that it came from hard work. Floyd and Bonnie stayed busy all through their life.

Bonnie Welcome Center

Not all Bonnie’s trees are at home. Every year she decorates a tree for the Guernsey County Visitors and Convention Center. She still climbs ladders!

   Even though Christmas trees are her passion, she also enjoys flower gardening, her fish ponds, grandchildren, and helping others. Something she looks forward to once a month is going with garden club members to make crafts with residents of Cardinal House.

Bonnie Pond

Bonnie's Garden

Here’s just a sampling of her beautiful flower beds.

   The most exciting thing she ever did in her life was to take a cruise around the world with her late husband, Floyd. For 101 days, Bonnie said she lived a life of nothing but luxury while seeing places like the Taj Mahal, Great Wall of China and Pyramids of Egypt.

Bonnie Showing Horses

Bonnie shared this photo of her prizewinning Tennessee Walker, which she rode in competition.

   Even though Bonnie has enjoyed homes in Florida, thoroughbred Tennessee Walking horses, antique cars and lovely surroundings, no one’s life is ever all perfection.

Bonnie's 2018 tree

Bonnie’s 2018 Christmas Tree at the Guernsey County Visitors Bureau.

   This gracious lady always makes people feel special wherever they happen to meet her. Her advice for an enjoyable life would be, “Look for the good things in life. Find something happy about every day.”

Coopermill Bronze Works Prepares Alan Cottrill Sculptures

Coopermill Hoppy and Alan

Alan Cottrill designed the bronze Hopalong Cassidy statue that stands at the Senior Center in Cambridge.

Seeing is believing. A trip to Coopermill Bronze Works explained more clearly how one of Alan Cottrill’s bronze statues becomes a reality. It’s not an easy task!

DSC01903

Adam’s lifelong friend, Charles Leasure, is his partner at the Coopermill Bronze Works.

    The Bronze Works is located on the farm of Charles Leasure, a life-long friend of Alan, and there’s even a statue in Charlie’s field…a mushroom hunter, in bronze of course. This farm has been in his family for eight generations.

Bronze Mushroom Hunter   Charlie and Alan created Bronze Works back in 1996. Alan needed a handy place to complete his bronze creations so made his own bronze casting foundry. So far they have cast well over 500 of Alan’s statues and hundreds of other sculptor’s works.

Coopermill Bronze Works 2

Coopermill Bronze Works can be found high on a hill along a country road in Zanesville.

   You can tell Alan is a down-to-earth kind of guy in spite of his fantastic talent to sculpt just about anything. His Bronze Works is not a big, fancy building, but one that can do the job required.

   While Alan does the preliminary work of designing the perfect wax statue in the downtown Zanesville studio, the final touches are placed here at Bronze Works by highly skilled Ohio artisans.

Coopermill Gear Shift Knobs

These gear shift knobs were made as gifts for Vietnam veterans.

   You have to understand that the statue is not bronzed as a whole. It is separated into many, many pieces, which are individually prepared before the final assembly happens.

   The whole thing is quite complicated so if my explanation isn’t quite perfect, please excuse me.

Coopermill Josh Leasure details

Josh Leasure uses his magical tools to make certain every detail is perfect.

   Bronze Works is where every fingerprint is erased and every line made crystal clear. Each detail makes a difference in the final product. Some parts are definitely easier than others. The men found it much easier to do a five-foot pant leg rather than a five-inch head.

Coopermill Dana Erichson

Dana Erichsen holds the base for the beginning of a crane family of eight for the Cranes.

   It has to be perfect in its wax state, otherwise, when it is made into a mold, the bronze statue would carry any flaws, no matter how small. When asked how they correct tiny mistakes, Dana answered with a big smile, “I fix it with magic. My magic wand does the work.”

Coopermill Batter Dip

Each waxed part is dipped several times into a ceramic slurry.

   All those smaller pieces are then dipped in what looks like a batter and rolled in fine sand. The workers commented that it was somewhat like dipping a fish in batter and then rolling it in flour.

   They do this dipping several times until dip by dip, a thick ceramic mold is formed all around the wax piece. When this dries, they melt the wax inside and remove it, leaving an empty shell to fill with, you guessed it, bronze. The wax though can be used again and again.

Coopermill Bronze

Bronze ingots are melted at temperatures of 1900-2000 degrees F.

   They receive the bronze in large sticks, which are then melted and poured into the shell. The bronze should then fit down into the perfect lines that were earlier created on the wax figure.

Coopermill Woody Hayes parts

All the parts of the Woody Hayes statue hang waiting for the next steps.

   My purpose in going this particular day was to see the progress that was being made on the statue of Woody Hayes, Ohio State University football coach for many years. The Newcomerstown Historical Society has funded this project since Woody grew up in Newcomerstown while his dad was Superintendent of Schools there. Woody also coached in Mingo Junction and New Philadelphia before going to OSU.

Coopermill Woody Hayes Head

The wax head of Woody Hayes is ready to be detailed.

   During this visit, the head of Woody Hayes was hanging in the room, ready to be examined for any tiny imperfections. Then it would be dipped in the solution to make the mold on the outside.

Coopermill Swan and Wax removed

After the bronze has set, the ceramic mold is knocked off to reveal the perfect creation.

   After the mold is filled with bronze, it sets for a while before the cast is knocked off to reveal the actual piece that will be used in the statue. This is the end of a very long process. But now there will be a head, pieces of arms, legs, and body – all will be in bronze.

Coopermill Bronze Pieces to be Welded

All of these bronzed parts will be assembled into the donkey seen below.

   Now comes the assembly. It’s like putting a big puzzle together! Each piece is carefully attached to the place where it belongs with bronze welding rods. The weld has to be sandblasted so the connection is no longer visible.

Coopermill Bronze donkey 2

This bronze donkey was having its recently attached parts smoothed.

   Even then, it’s not finished as there has to be a solution applied to the bronze to make it the correct shade required for that particular statue. Now you can see why it takes months to create a bronze statue from beginning to end.

Bronze Woody Hayes

New bronze status of Woody Hayes at Newcomerstown’s Olde Main Street Museum with Vane Scott, museum director.

   Alan Cottrill has designed statues all over the United States and the world. We’re lucky to have one in Cambridge of Hopalong Cassidy, and now one in Newcomerstown of Woody Hayes.

   Watching the artisans at Coopermill Bronze Works felt quite magical.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview – Bluegrass at its Best

The place where Bluegrass happens!

Opera House

The Pennyroyal Opera House is along Old National Road in Fairview.

Along Old National Road in the town of Fairview, Pennyroyal Opera House provides a family-friendly evening of entertaining bluegrass music over the years from October through May. Their season is about to begin!

Country Gentleman Band

Country Gentlemen Tribute Band – October 5

   Their first show on October 5 features The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band with an awesome bluegrass sound.

Kevin Prater Band

Kevin Prater Band – October 12

Remington Ryde 1

Remington Ryde – October 19

   Following weeks will feature such greats as The Kevin Prater Band with strong vocal harmonies and a crowd-pleaser Remington Ryde.

Pennyroyal Opera House painting

Cathy Gadd, a long-time organizer, painted this picture of Pennyroyal Opera House.

   The historic building originally was home to the Methodist Church in the 1830s, then used as a Grange Hall. In 1910, it was purchased by the Pennyroyal Reunion Association. Since 1995, Pennyroyal Opera House is the place where Bluegrass happens.

Pennyroyal Distillery Postcard

This old postcard shows the Pennyroyal Distillery where medicinal oils were made.

   The name Pennyroyal came about from a Pennyroyal Distillery that was located in Fairview in the early 1800s. There seemed to be an abundance in the Fairview area of the wild herb, pennyroyal, a member of the mint family. Pennyroyal herb oil was valued for its medicinal purposes.

Betty and Harold

Betty Eddy planted the seed for bluegrass at Fairview with Harold Dailey.

   A chance encounter at 1st National Bank in Barnesville changed events in Fairview. Harold Dailey began working at the hospital there and one day, Betty Eddy, an employee of the bank, asked Harold if he had an idea for making some money for the Pennyroyal Reunion Association.

Stage

The stage is ready for the season to begin.

   Since Harold played and enjoyed bluegrass, he suggested having a bluegrass show. In 1995, Harold, with some local help, organized the first bluegrass show at the Pennyroyal Opera House. In the beginning, their plan was to feature local bluegrass groups so they could have a place to showcase their talents.

Opera House crowd

Each concert draws a full house of people who love bluegrass.

   From that humble beginning, the show blossomed into a nationally known place to hear and perform bluegrass. Today there is never a problem getting excellent bluegrass bands from all over the United States and Canada to stop by for an evening. They’ve even had bands call from England to request a time for performance.

Harold and Kenny by the stage

Harold and Kenny Keylor reminisce about bands that have played on that stage.

   While Harold started the show, Frank and Cathy Gadd have held the reins for many years recently. Since Harold’s retirement, he asked if he might become active again in organizing the bluegrass programs.

Almost Famous (2)

Harold plays electric acoustic bass in the bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Harold says, “I’m glad to be back as I love bluegrass, play bluegrass and love to promote it.” Harold plays electric acoustic bass in a bluegrass band, Almost Famous.

   Many from the Pennyroyal Reunion Association still help by providing the delicious home cooked food in the kitchen. Betty Eddy serves as treasurer and still bakes pies with favorites being custard, rhubarb, and peanut butter.

Lonesome River Band poster

The poster from the first professional band that played there still hangs backstage.

   This isn’t a large building or a large show, but it’s big on talent on Friday evenings. Since they’re right along Interstate 70, many big-name stars will stop for a pick-up-date on their way to their Saturday performance. It’s a great chance to meet some of your favorite bluegrass stars up close and personal.

photos on wall

Spend time before the show checking out the pictures on the walls.

   There are pictures on the wall of some of those popular names who have played there in the past. The first professional band that played there was The Lonesome River Band. Other pictures include such greats as Bobby Osborne, The Grascals, IIIrd Tyme Out, Rhonda Vincent and Dave Evans.

   For those nights when you want to listen to some top-notch bluegrass and can’t make it out to the show, sit back and listen on the radio. Their shows are carried live at 101.1 FM in Wheeling and 101.9 FM in Cambridge.

   If you want to check out their full 2018 schedule, go to www.pennyroyalbluegrass.com. For booking information call Harold Dailey at 740-827-0957.

Inside with seats already reserved

People have already placed their blankets on seats to save them for the next show. It’s a tradition!

   Come early some Friday evening for some delicious food, then go upstairs and listen to some quality classic bluegrass, which puts soul into music.

Pennyroyal Opera House in Fairview can easily be reached off I-70 between Old Washington and St. Clairsville. Take exit 198 and this popular Bluegrass Music house can be found on the north side of the road very near the exit.

Get Ready to Rope

Bev Hachita 001A short true adventure

Cowboys began roping as part of ranch work to brand or medicate their calves. It became a contest to see which cowboy could do it the quickest. Their goal was to throw a lasso around a calf’s head, jump off their horse, tie three of the calf’s legs together, and finish the trick as fast as possible. This led to roping contests at rodeos and fairs.

   Recently, a new type of roping sprang up. My first experience with this happened in a small town of about thirty people called Hachita, New Mexico. The only disturbance in this small town might be a dust devil coming down the street or a Border Patrol helicopter flying overhead.

   One week in 1996, they decided to try this new kind of roping…a chicken roping. Yes, chickens, with feathers flying and beaks crowing. One roper told those watching, “If it has legs, it can be roped.”

   Bev Chicken Roping 001   Now this kind of roping would not be done from a horse and would require a different kind of lasso. Just a heavy piece of string is used, so they don’t choke the chicken.

   Just like in the world of cattle, the chickens they roped all had names. The meaner the animal, the meaner its name. Names like Jalapeno Joe, Cholulu Chuy or Red Hot Flame were typical.

   A large crowd of over fifty people gathered to witness the chicken roping. The chicken would be let out of a box and the cowboy would be timed to see how fast he could rope it. The one who roped it the fastest won a Chicken Roping Belt Buckle with a turquoise stone found in the Little Hatchet Mountains nearby.

   Small towns often have fun in unusual ways. A mural of the Chicken Roping was painted by a traveling artist on the outside of the bar there. Inside on the wall were pictures of the winners. It soon became an annual event with even larger crowds.

   And afterward? What else, but a good old-fashioned chicken BBQ.

Hachita Liquor Saloon was no longer in operation on my last trip west. The paintings on the building were done by an old friend, C.M. Scott, a cowboy artist.

Creative Endeavors Inspired Phoenix Rising Venture

 

Rugs- Carol and Rugs

She makes rugs in many patterns and sizes. They last a long time!

Phoenix Rising gives new life to materials that have exhausted their original use. Carol Bridwell, from the New Concord area, thinks of ways for them to be reborn into unique and colorful pieces to accent your home or place of business.

   She participates in many local festivals including Art on the Square in Caldwell, Raven’s Glen Winery Red, Wine and Blue Fest, Y-Bridge Arts Festival, and Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. But Carol didn’t begin displaying her work until after she retired.

Rugs - Star Barn

Creativity runs in the family. Her great-grandfather created barns in Noble County and used a star as his signature mark. Carol displays a part of one of those old barns.

   This lovely lady first worked at AK Steel Mill in Zanesville. She started as an hourly employee and worked up to a manager. By retirement, she had managed every operating area. Her energy knows no bounds. Even though she enjoyed crocheting at the age of six, it wasn’t until after retirement that she began to get serious about her creative side.

Rugs - First Loom

Her first loom has been strung with cotton warp to begin a new rug with a beautiful pattern.

   Her interest in weaving all started over thirty years ago when Carol bought her first loom. She knew this was something she would enjoy as she always enjoyed fabric – the threads and patterns. Guess she was a natural for weaving. But one of those early rugs sat unfinished in the loom for five years.

   When asked about the name for this new business, Carol explained, “The Phoenix has always been a strong image of rebirth to me, so I chose the name Phoenix Rising to indicate that this venture was a new direction, and would continue to develop and grow.” Sounds like a great choice.

Rugs - Warp

Spools of cotton warp on the wall provide a pleasant and relaxing decor for her weaving room.

  Hand-woven rugs are her specialty, and some are quite large. She enjoys mixing fabrics and colors to achieve a very special look and feel. Her rugs are very popular as they are washable and seem to last forever. Some people have had one of her rugs for twenty years. They are something you can use and enjoy every day.

Rugs - Room Addition

This is her own special room for weaving, crafts, and her collection of pottery and glass.

   A special room was added to their house just for her looms and creative supplies. And she has filled it quite well. Over a thousand spools of cotton warp can be found in a lovely pattern on the wall. The only reason she knows that figure is because her grandson counted them.

Rugs - Tests colors

Carol tests the color of the fabric and warp to see how well they combine.

   When she sees a piece of art, her mind begins thinking about how she can create a rug out of that pattern. She uses the cotton warp and cotton salvage fabric in these designs. Reusing worn out items also appears to be a pattern that Carol follows. She buys the salvage fabric 150 lbs at a time with no idea as to what colors or patterns will be in that package.

Rugs - Adding fabric

After the threading is complete, cotton fabric is added to create a beautiful pattern.

   It takes about twelve hours to make a rug. Her grandson remarked, “People have no idea how complicated it is to make a rug.” And he is definitely correct. Each strand has to be threaded on the loom and tied individually. Plus, they must be done in the correct order and number of strands so the pattern emerges. It’s amazing!

Rugs - Sign Display at Festival

These are just a sample of the signs displayed at Salt Fork Festival.

   While rug-making is at the top of her list, Carol dabbles in many other creative endeavors. She might use concrete, beams from an old barn, or boards from an old corral. The possibilities from her mind seem to be endless. Did I forget to mention that Carol also helps her son on their hog farm? This lady never stops.

Rugs - Pallet Cow

This cow, made of wooden pallets, was displayed in her Phoenix Rising booth.

   Wood from pallets can be used to make boxes and signs, then designs are added for different occasions. Recently, she has been trying some wood burning. Animal silhouettes are another use of the pallet wood. Many of these are based on real animals. Her dog, Clyde, and their grandson’s goat, Gilbert, are just a couple examples of those special family pets used for models.

Rugs- Model Clyde

Her friendly dog, Clyde, served as a model for some of her wooden silhouettes.

   Her daughter, Alicia, helps with the painting of the signs, and both her daughters help her with her displays. But the creative part is mainly done by Carol.

   Someday she would like to fulfill another dream – cheese making. She grew up with grandparents who loved cheese. But Carol doesn’t just want to make any cheese, she hopes to make sheep cheese and already has the place planned for this project. She prefers sheep cheese because it has higher butterfat and mild taste. After all, it’s the most prolific cheese in the world.

Rugs- Dog Signs

An assortment of signs about dogs is displayed on a table in her special room.

   As you can probably imagine, she doesn’t give much time to sleeping – usually about four hours a night. She works in the shop in the afternoon and does her weaving in the evening. In case she gets an idea during the night, she keeps a sketch pad beside her bed.


Rugs - at Festival

Carol spent time working on a rug at last year’s Salt Fork Festival.

   You’ll want to stop by the booth of Phoenix Rising at the Salt Fork Festival in 2018 for their 50th Anniversary. Carol has attended the festival for many years and enjoys the great variety of vendors that appear each year. Her booth provides a colorful and interesting addition. You might even be lucky enough to watch her working on a rug.

You can contact Carol Bridwell at 740-319-1673 or csbridwell@roadrunner.com if you have any questions about her creative work.

Painters Hollow Overflows with Creativity

Jorgensen Greenhouse

Since they raise most of their own food, their greenhouse was the first thing Maggi and Gene wished to discuss.

Teamwork best describes the lifestyle of Gene and Maggi Jorgensen, the artistic couple from Painters Hollow near Salt Fork State Park. Working together, they have accomplished more than the average couple because they love what they do. “If we can’t have fun, we’re not going to do it.”

Farming runs in Gene’s blood as his dad farmed in New York and white-washed barns to help with expenses. For many years Gene worked as a sheet metal worker, which led him on varied adventures all over the United States and beyond. Once he even climbed a mountain in Peru.

Jorgensen Maggi

Maggi wears the first necklace Gene made using five quarters and trimmed in brass.

Maggi worked in the engineering department at NCR until its closing. Not wanting to transfer, she trained to become an RN. We’ll talk more about those necklaces she wore to work later.

Stopping by on a warm spring day, the first thing they’re eager to talk about is their garden, “We live out of our garden.” They even pick fresh lettuce from their basement all winter long.

Jorgensen Bales

Certain crops, like tomatoes and eggplant, grow best for them in bales of straw. The red ball rests on a decorative iron holder made by Gene.

Their small greenhouse provides the perfect place to start plants for transfer to their garden and straw bales, which produce a bumper crop of tomatoes and eggplant. Their newest experiment this year was starting strawberry plants from seed. It worked! Now they have a small strawberry patch as well.

Jorgensen Home

Their home is very important since they built it themselves with pine logs from their own woods.

The lumber for their home came out of their own woods. In 2000, they decided to build using square-cut, white pine logs with foam log tape in between to seal all cracks. This resulted in a beautiful home in the country.

Jorgensen Blacksmith

Gene’s dream of a blacksmith shop has become a reality.

Gene had always wanted a blacksmith shop. In 2005 when he bought a knife at the Salt Fork Festival, the gentleman told Gene about a blacksmith class being offered. Maggi thought it seemed like the perfect Christmas present. If someone took the class with Gene, they could do it for half price. The artistic Maggi took the class with him.

Jorgensen Library

Evidence for Gene’s skill at blacksmithing can be seen in the railings of their library.

Maggi made her first nail, a towel bar and towel rack in that class. Gene has metal creations all over the house inside and out. One of his favorites is making a cross out of a railroad tie. Now Gene has his own magnificent blacksmith shop containing a coal forge and filled with power tools such as: power hack saw, rod shear, punches, and stake plate.

This class has led them on an exciting new adventure. Gene had already been making jewelry for Maggi to wear to work. They were so popular that she sold almost everyone she wore.  Making copper jewelry became a favorite pastime with the blacksmith skills being used to make and repair needed tools.

Wishing to improve her natural creative talents, Maggi took watercolor and acrylic classes. They both want to make themselves the best they can be.

Jorgensen Necklaces

This is a sampling of the jewelry that will be on display at the Salt Fork Festival.

Their favorite metals for jewelry remains copper, which is always covered with a clear shellac. Recently, they’ve added sterling with brass and bronze for special touches.

Jorgensen Rings

Rings were a new item in 2017. Gene’s workbench shows the finished rings on the pliers’ handle.

In 2017, Gene began making rings. Five unique patterns come in various sizes. Watching Gene follow the steps for making a ring, it makes you realize how time consuming it is to get that perfect product. This work requires great patience.

Jorgensen Ice Box

Iceboxes are used for storage throughout the house. This one used for bathroom storagem originally served as icebox for Plainfield Store.

Their first show happened in 2011 at Octoberfest in downtown Cambridge. The following year they started sharing their products at the Salt Fork Arts & Crafts Festival. Maggi enjoyed coming to the festivals for years, but never expected to be showing at one. Now Painters Hollow Products have become a popular exhibit. Visit them in August at the Salt Fork Festival.

Jorgensen Gene

Gene enjoys his workshop where he can shape metal however he wishes.

Gene and Maggi are perfectly content on their farm. For them, it’s a good life and they never want to leave. They don’t even want to travel, except to craft shows, and their idea of a perfect evening would be sitting on their porch with a glass of wine.

I’ve got a blacksmith shop and the best partner anyone could have,” explained Gene. As for Maggi, “Life here is fun: the jewelry, garden and everyday life.”

Imagine everyone would wish for that kind of contentment.

 

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