The Springmoor Community is filled with writers, professors, musicians, gardeners and more. It’s a campus where you can learn a new hobby or spend time developing your skills in one that has always interested you. Within our community, we have a painter who has been drawing and painting nature since she was in elementary school. We have a retired professor who taught himself the art of jewelry making while studying geology in his early college days. And we have a retired chemist who began woodworking as a hobby in his garage.
Kathy Canary, a new resident who recently moved from Florida, has been painting for as long as she can remember. Her first drawings were of horses. When she was little, her girlfriends all wanted her to paint a picture of their horses. Growing up in Memphis, she was often found on the bluffs of the Mississippi with her sketchpad and her paints. Her art teacher also liked to take her classes outside to paint. The little house where they took lessons was “wallpapered” with their art painted on craft paper.
Kathy continued to take art classes as she pursued her degree in elementary education. Any class she could sign up for became an elective study and fueled her passion. She has painted murals in friends’ homes and had several one-woman gallery shows in Memphis. After a move to Florida, she discovered a group of Plein Air painters: a name borrowed from the French equivalent meaning “open (in full) air.” It is used to describe the act of painting outdoors. Armed with a folding chair, a table and her paints she found the dunes and marshes to be her favorite place to paint. Her style reflects her love of nature. Quite the gardener too, she painted numerous watercolors of the flowers in her yard. Friends often commissioned her to paint something to compliment the colors in their homes.
Impressionist painters are her favorite. Visiting gallery exhibits and walking through the neighborhood often inspires new ideas for her painting. Now that she has arrived in North Carolina she says her biggest challenge will be to paint the pinecones and the foliage found around her house. With a brick patio outside of her front door and a sketchpad in her lap, you will certainly see her outside when the weather gets warm. As for now, she hasn’t even unpacked her supplies as she and her husband, Hal, have such a long list of things to do. Springmoor’s tai chi class, new restaurants, art museums and Raleigh’s greenway are but a few of the things she needs to do before she settles in with her paintbrushes again.
Harry Holladay, also a new resident who moved to the community last summer from his Raleigh home, started his craft in high school. He fondly remembers a neighbor who had a house filled with tools. He taught Harry how to use a lathe. And in the seventh grade, he remembers buying his very first piece of woodworking equipment from Sears. A high school class in mechanical drawing and a proficient background in trigonometry set him on his way to designing the intricately detailed pieces that he has crafted over the years.
His career as a chemist and a parent of active boys, kept Harry very busy. When he could find time, Barbara, his wife, said she knew she could always find him sawing, sanding and carving in his garage workshop. With a planer, lathe, scroll saw, band saw and a variety of sanders he found a love for wood and the art of patterns. Maple is his favorite wood to work with but the combination of different colors and textures in other woods is what makes his art so unique. Quilting patterns serve as an inspiration for many of his boxes and bowls. Building patterns and color schemes with layers of wood before he even begins to turn them on the lathe is a skill that he has mastered.
Barbara has helped work through many of the mathematical designs with Harry. Her math background has guided them through the steps needed to create many of his pieces. The three balls carved inside of each other took a lot of trial and error as well as a few numbers and scale drawings.
Asked if he had ever sold a piece or been commissioned to make something, he laughed and replied, “Then it wouldn’t be fun anymore.” The joy comes from creating it! There is a small table outside of their front door with three of his pieces. The exhibit changes each week and the new pieces always become your favorite. “How did he do that?” is often heard as neighbors walk by.
Now that they are unpacked and settled in, Harry and Barbara find that their to-do list is quite long also. Time to discover the history of Raleigh, take an exercise class, meet friends for coffee or visits with his grandchildren are at the top of the list now. He’s teaching one of his grandsons how to use his tools that are now set up in his son’s garage. He has begun to dabble in jewelry making and has a corner of their den set up for his new craft.
Dick Volk, a retired NC State professor, discovered his love of stones in a geology class at Purdue. One of his professors had a stone cutting machine that intrigued him. As time allowed, Dick was found in the classroom, as not only a teacher, but as a student too.
The non-credit courses offered at NC State through the craft center were among his favorite classes. There were photography classes, silver working, stone cutting, and so many more that peeked his interest over the years. Living within walking distance of the campus, he was able to take many of the one-day classes as well as those that went into more depth with his craft.
He brought his own stone cutting machine with him to Springmoor where he cuts, tumbles, grinds and polishes his pieces. He finishes the stones with silver settings. Most of the settings he designs and finishes but some he buys pre-made. His unique earrings, pendants and bracelets can be seen throughout the campus on many of his loyal customers.
Dick too, is teaching his grandson how to use some of his tools. With an eye for design, the two of them are most interested in the colors and patterns that emerge when a stone is cut. They are developing new ideas together. Springmoor residents have discovered Dick through the yearly holiday show. He is always happy to open his home for customers to shop or make repairs for anyone that needs his help. He gives most of his pieces away for charity events or as gifts to friends and family.
On a side note, you will notice that Kathy Canary is wearing one of Dick’s pendants. It was an unplanned and wonderful surprise that she had on one of his pieces when her photograph was taken. It was a Christmas gift from her husband and a treasured piece!
Art is in full bloom in the Springmoor community! Some are learning a new skill and others are continuing to master their craft in a new studio setting. Whether they are teaching younger family members or sharing their art with neighbors, it is a joy for all of us to be surrounded by their art.
Please be sure to visit our Facebook page to see more of each artist’s works.