Treasured boxes 

By Stowe, as well as Popow eggs, Cook knives and more, at HAM.

DALLAS BUMP: In one of his rocking chairs, which will be on exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
  • DALLAS BUMP: In one of his rocking chairs, which will be on exhibit at the Historic Arkansas Museum.

The handmade rockers, quilts, knives, psyanky eggs, fiddles and more that go on exhibit July 10 at the Historic Arkansas Museum are treasures made by treasures — the Arkansas Arts Council's Living Treasures.

Dallas Bump is the rocker maker. Irma Gail Hatcher, the quiltmaker. J.R. Cook, the bladesmith. Lorrie Popow, the egg artist. Jim Larkin, the potter. Violet Hensley, the fiddle maker. They are just six of the 14 Arkansas Living Treasures, chosen by the Arts Council since 2002 for their work preserving and advancing their craft.

"Art. Function. Craft. The Life and Work of Arkansas Living Treasures" will also feature documentary films made of several of the artists, a HAM project to bring the Living to life. Filmmakers and photographers Dave Anderson, Gabe Gentry, Greg Spradlin, Nathan Willis, Kat Wilson and Joe York worked with HAM on the project.

The exhibit opens with the 2nd Friday Art Night event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., where Clancey Ferguson, three-time state fiddle champion, will play and Saddlebock Brewery will serve its craft brews.

That will make it an evening of Arkansas artisans of all ilk.

The other Living Treasures include three potters — Jim Larkin, Winston Taylor and Peter Lippincott; two wood sculptors — Doug Stowe and Robyn Horn; log cabin builder Robert Runyan; woodworking plane crafter Larry Williams; basketmaker Leon Niehues; and stained glass artist Beatrice Stebbing. Here is some brief information about the artisans whose work HAM will display:

Lorrie Popow, 2015 Living Treasure: The Arts Council is honoring a traditional Ukranian art form in their choice of Popow: A Chicago native who moved to Hot Springs in 1973, Popow decorates eggs using the lost-beeswax and dye psyanky method. She also paints, carves, filigrees, etches and decoupages her eggs. Psyanky eggs were created to ward off bad spirits. Who could feel bad around a pysanky egg?

Robert Runyon, 2014: Runyan, who lives off the grid in Winslow, builds log cabins without benefit of modern machinery. Instead, he uses teams of mules to haul wood, antique axes and other tools to shape the timbers and wood notching and pegs to join them together. His work includes Underwood-Lindsey Pavilion at Mount Sequoyah Woods and the Yellow Rock Overlook at Devil's Den Park.

Dallas Bump, 2013: Bump has been making rockers, as his father, grandfather and great-grandfather did before him, in Bear (Garland County) with 100-year-old tools and without glue or bolts. The "Bump Rocker" is the most popular of his chairs.

Jim Larkin, 2012: Larkin and his wife, Barbara, have operated Fox Pass Pottery outside Hot Springs for more than 40 years, where they mix their own clays and make their own glazes; Larkin has also built several wood-fired and gas kilns. Their studio is open to visitors and they will often demonstrate their craft.

Winston Taylor, 2011: Taylor is known for his spare, almost Asian aesthetic in his raku pottery. He teaches at Arkansas River Valley Arts Center in Russellville, where he introduced the ceramics classes.

Peter Lippincott, 2010: If you have ever been to Arkansas Craft Guild shows, you'll know Lippincott's Mudpuppy Studio. Lippincott, who came late to the craft, at age 38, is known for his intense glazes and functional forms. He teaches at the Fort Smith Regional Arts Museum.

Doug Stowe, 2009: The Eureka Springs woodworker, contemporary furniture maker and author created the Wisdom of Hands program at Clear Spring School to introduce the craft to younger people.

Robyn Horn, 2008: The Little Rock wood sculptor creates large geometrical forms, and is the first artist to have a piece installed in the Governor's Mansion sculpture garden. She also is known nationally for her support of contemporary crafts.

James R. Cook, 2007: Cook, who studied with famous Arkansan bladesmith Jerry Fisk, exhibits his knives, including the Arkansas Razorback" and "Tuxedo Bowie," internationally.

Larry Williams, 2006: To do traditional woodwork, you want traditional tools, like the handmade woodworking planes made and sold by Williams.

Leon Niehues, 2005: This self-taught basketmaker from Pettigrew is known for his large-weave sculptural vessels that often incorporate black emery cloth, waxed linen thread and small bolts. Each basket is unique.

Violet Hensley, 2004: The documentary of this Yellville fiddlemaker is one of the best short films about an Arkansas subject you'll see. Hensley, who'll turn 100 in October 2016, started making fiddles when she was 15 years old.

Irma Gail Hatcher, 2003: Hatcher, who lives in Conway, has won 10 national awards for her quilts and is the only Arkansan to be named a Master Quilter by the National Quilting Association.

Beatrice Stebbing, 2002: Stebbing taught herself the art of stained glass in the 1930s, studying under Emil Frei of St. Louis, to create glass windows for a chapel at her Texas college. She died in Siloam Springs in 2004.


Speaking of...

  • HAM dinners: 'History is Served'

    June 14, 2018
    Tickets are now on sale for the third dinner in the Historic Arkansas Museum’s “History is Served” series, set for 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. July 26. /more/
  • Bennett named to lead Historic Arkansas Museum

    July 28, 2017
    Arkansas Museum by Stacy Hurst, director of the Department of Arkansas Heritage. He'd been interim director since Bill Worthen retired in December. He had been deputy director and chief curator at HAM since 1982. /more/
  • Louise Halsey chosen 2017 Arkansas Living Treasure

    April 19, 2017
    Weaver Louise Halsey of Oark, who creates fine art, rugs and dolls, and whose weavings of houses on fire ignited such admiration that she was included in the 2012 Women to Watch exhibition at the National Museum for Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., has been named by the Arkansas Arts Council as the 2017 Arkansas Living Treasure. The annual award goes to a dedicated craftsperson who has helped preserve the craft by teaching to others. /more/
  • Arts Council gets a new director: Patrick Ralston

    January 20, 2017
    The word is out that Patrick Ralston, who has been an analyst with the Legislative Bureau of Legislative Research and previously worked with the Department of Arkansas Heritage in the Historic Preservation Program, is the new Arkansas Arts Council director. /more/
  • Enamelist Thom Hall wins Lifetime Achievement Award

    October 31, 2016
    Artist Thom Hall, architect Reese Rowland and writer and folk historian Freda Cruse Hardison are the winners of the 2017 Governors Arts Awards, sponsored by the Arkansas Arts Council. /more/
  • Renaissance man

    August 4, 2016
    For 35 years, object conservator and craftsman Andy Zawacki has helped keep the past present at the Historic Arkansas Museum. /more/
  • Arts Council director Pennington resigns

    July 6, 2016
    Joy Pennington, who has been the director of the Arkansas Arts Council for 16 years and a state employee for 28 years, will resign at the end of August and become the part-time director of Arkansans for the Arts, a nonprofit arts advocacy organization. /more/
  • Science and Songs of the Buffalo River

    June 2, 2016
    Also, Lum and Abner Festival in Mena, African-American Arts in Arkansas at Mosaic Templars, Conway Pride Fest, Sunday Serenades at St. Paul United Methodist and Ian Moore and the Lossy Coils at Stickyz. /more/
  • 'The House of Light'

    April 7, 2016
    The Preller Collection comes to the Historic Arkansas Museum. /more/
  • 2nd Friday Art Night at HAM: 'A Diamond in the Rough'

    March 10, 2016
    The Historic Arkansas Museum will raise a glass — the vintage cocktail "Millionaire No. 1" — to toast 75 years of its history at its 2nd Friday Art Night reception, 5-8 p.m. March 11. "A Diamond in the Rough" will feature works from the permanent exhibition and information on the people who made the museum possible, from Louise Loughborough, who persuaded the legislature to preserve the remnant buildings of early Little Rock and create the Arkansas Territorial Restoration, to contemporary historian Parker Westbrook. There will be living history as well, with actors appearing as Loughborough, Gov. Bailey and Sen. Ed Dillon. The Delta Brass Combo will play, as well. /more/
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