I don’t know if it is a compliment to China or a slam on American artisans that they would even be asked that question. Frank Hendrix has apparently been asked more than once.
Mr. Hendrix is from Commerce, Texas and had a table full of different kinds of beautifully handcrafted items at the Chestnut Square’s first Bois d’Arc Wood Eternal Crafters event held this past Saturday. The pen second from the right encases the skin of a rattlesnake. The one to the furthest right is pine, I believe.
I came to the event to see the man dressed as a tree. It’s sad to say, but that was my whole reason in going. It turns out the man dressed as a tree is actually an award winning author and a respected scholar. Since his name was not readily provided anywhere, I won’t “out” him on my blog.
He was at the event promoting the versatility of the bois d’arc tree, a Texas native. Because they produce a messy fruit a lot like a horse apple, people tend to pull them up and replace them. Events and festivals in their honor are an effort to garner interest in the tree and hopefully preserve its place in our landscape. It can be used to make a pulpy paper that can be molded into any shape you wish and also makes a very pleasing color of dye. Its fruit can be cut and dried to make “flowers”. Bois d’Arc wood doesn’t rot and termites really don’t seem to like it. It’s even been used in the past to pave roads. The City of Commerce has held a Bois d’Arc Bash Festival each September since 1986.
The author of “Wood Eternal: The Story of Osage Orange, Bois d’Arc, etc”, Fred Tarpley, was in the chapel while I was visiting so I didn’t get to visit with him.
He had another table full of cute wood carved signs with funny sayings and bunches of wooden novelties (like a special tool for nudging pans into an oven and pulling them back out when they are done).
Everyone was so friendly. I am so glad that I went. Here is one of the vendors prettying himself up for the camera with bois d’arc flowers.
He had some great wooden wares. I didn’t get his name but I think he is from Leonard, Texas. And, yes, I did magnify the card on his table (usually I can find a forgotten name that way) but his cards are actually an admonishment to listen. Perhaps I should taken one of those cards.
I just love the dominoes. I wouldn’t know how to use the nuts to score a game but there’s just nothing as classic as a pretty set of dominoes. If anyone really wants to get in touch with him to buy some of his stuff, let me know and I’ll do some sleuthing to see if I can get some contact info for him.
There were beautiful lamps by Henry Slater. My favorite picture didn’t come out but I got a couple of good ones. They, Henry Slater and his wife, have a great website at http://www.auldooly.com/ that has pictures of their lamps, links to their E-Bay sales and even a great picture of what I assume is their pet, a cute little Pomeranian playing in snow. I just love cottage industries because you are dealing with real people with real lives and real passions which they are willing to share.
According to their web site, the shades that look hand blown are and are the artwork of Aaron Tate. My favorite was a brown one that looks a lot like an exotic mushroom. You can see a bit of a red version of the lampshade in the upper left hand corner of the next shot.
There was some beautiful polished gnarled wood. If you look at a piece right, its gnarls and turns seem to shape different animals. It’s sort of like a wooden Rorschach test.
It was a good event and I hope they hold it again next year. It was a wonderful day and everyone was having a good time. A live band was playing in front of the Two Bit Taylor House.
Farmer’s Market was going on.
The space where the old courthouse used to stand (not the really old one on the square but the one that they built in the 70’s) is now lush green space. Boy, that was fast. I haven’t heard what the “powers that be” intend to do with it. Just a thought … It would be an ideal place for a dog park. I know that there are dog park advocates out there. Has any thought been given to this space here (besides me)?
Until next time,