County Holiday Bazaar
turkey feather painting
learned the craft
from an Amish man several years ago
NEW CASTLE, Ky. (November 2007) From the first
time Rodger Coombs witnessed turkey feather art, he was hooked on this
unique medium. Confident that he could emulate the art form, he tried
his own hand at feather painting and was pleased with the result.
feather painting, which
will be at the 15th
annual Henry County
Holiday Bazaar on
Saturday, Nov. 10.
Coombs uses pictures
of wildlife in magazines
as his inspiration
in his art.
Several years ago Coombs, 61, attended a craft show in
western Kentucky, where he witnessed an Amish man painting Amish scenes
on feathers. Thinking to himself, I can do that, Coombs
has been designing wildlife scenes on domesticated wild turkey feathers
Twelve hundred feathers later, Coombs said, Ive always kind
of dabbled in art. I drew and painted a little bit and was inspired
to do portraits in the late 80s. But he found this art form
too challenging to pursue.
Becoming more aggressive with his artwork, Coombs has attended a dozen
art shows this year. He will be participating in the 15th annual Holiday
Bazaar in New Castle, Ky., on Saturday, Nov. 10. The show runs from
9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Held at the Henry County 4H Fairgrounds Building, the event will feature
more than 30 booths with one-of-a-kind hand crafted arts and crafts,
organizers say. Visitors consider this a prime opportunity to get a
head start on their holiday gift shopping.
Sponsored by the Henry County Extension Homemaker Organization, items
for sale will include music boxes, hand-painted gourds, jewelry, turned
wooden bowls, painted furniture, oil paintings, soy candles and holiday
decorations. Prices range from $5 to $10 and up to $100 to $200. Senior
citizens from Tri-County Community Action will serve lunch throughout
The bazaar was the initial idea of Joyce Meyer who was then serving
on both the Extension Homemaker Council and the 4H Council, said
Maryellen Garrison, Henry County Extension Agent. She was the
visionary who saw a need for an outlet for our local artists and craftspeople.
The main purpose of the bazaar is to encourage patrons to spend holiday
dollars within the county. The bazaar also serves as an incubator
for small home-based businesses to test the waters with their products,
Coombs participated in the bazaar for the first time last year and wanted
to return to see all of the hometown people. Originally
from nearby Pleasureville, Ky., he now lives in Bardstown, Ky.
His father ran a grocery store in Pleasureville, and he tried his hand
at this for a while before deciding upon a different career path. After
attending Eastern Kentucky University, Coombs taught school in Trimble
County for three years.
Since 1981 he has worked for the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife
in the Information and Education Department. He frequently takes programs
into schools and for the last 27 years has taught a summer conservation
In his spare time, Coombs creates the feathers he sells singularly or
in fans. The single feathers are sold framed in either cherry or walnut
frames, crafted by a friend in Nelson County, Ky. The standing frames
are balanced between two plexiglas plates.
Coombs usually knows before beginning a project what type of scene he
will paint on a feather. He buys his feathers on Ebay. They have already
been cleaned and dried.
He begins the process by spraying on a clear coat of acrylic paint to
stiffen the feather slightly. He then paints the animal in a coat of
white acrylic paint, going over it a second or third time until he has
built up a surface on which to paint. He then paints deer, elk, turkey,
bobcats, wolves or any number of woodland creatures onto the feather.
Coombs often paints an entire scene to provide a background if the animal
is the same color as the feather. He said he is always looking for ideas
in wildlife publications, such as Field and Stream.
Prices for Coombs artwork range from $30 to $59. Feathers are
usually framed in two sizes and can be purchased as a 13-inch to 14-inch
framed second tail fan feather or a 17-inch to 18-inch tail fan feather.
Coombs sells many custom-made framed feathers for Christmas, with prices
ranging from $75 to $125.
Coombs is a new member of the Henry County Arts and Crafts Guild, which
will have many members participating in this bazaar. The guild looks
for artwork similar to Coombs that is original, of high quality
and has a distinct mark of craftsmanship, said member and past president
The bazaar provides another chance to sell our work, she
said. The guild hosts an art show for members in September, but the
bazaar provides one more opportunity closer to the holidays for many
of the members who craft holiday items.
The guild members like to participate in county functions,
Silvers said. Many patrons try to visit the bazaar each year and look
for their favorite craftspeople.
The sponsorship of the Henry County Cooperative Extension Service
and their belief that this is an important economic development activity
that benefits our local farm community and the many small business people
we have has kept the bazaar going for the past 15 years, said
For more information, contact the Henry County
Extension Office at (502) 845-2811.
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