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FRYING PAN CLOCKS AND PAINTED CONKS
By Marshall McClung
Another talented artist in our midst in Graham County is Nettie Jenkins. Nettie has no formal training or schooling for her work. She started painting about ten years ago after watching Bob Ross painting on television. "I decided that I would like to try painting, and that was the start of it," Nettle says.
Her first painting was on a three by five inch canvas, and was a landscape. Later, she started painting scenes on frying pans and adding a clock to them. She saw her brother, John Brooks painting scenes on saw blades and took that up also. Next came painting scenes on different types of saw blades including crosscut saws, and handsaws. This was followed by scenes painted on shovels, irons, mailboxes. In fact, most anything lying around was subject to be used for a painting.
Nettle also does paintings on conks, caused by fungus growing on dead or decaying trees. Local folks call mushrooms "conks." It is here that some of Nettie's individual talent becomes most visible. On one conk which has a hole in it, Nettle has painted a scene of a waterfall which appears to be coming out of the hole. A section of growth sticking out farther than the rest of a conk becomes a rock outcropping. A hollow place in one section of a conk becomes a tree limb that appears to have been damaged by lightning in a painted scene.
Nettie is also into basket making and makes decorative baskets from grapevines and honeysuckle vines. She makes clothes and during Christmas is often in demand to make outfits for Christmas plays such as angel costumes. In fact, Nettie is a most giving person and seems willing to help out in any way that she can.
Nettie also does Christmas wreaths and murals for doors. Wall murals may be next on her agenda. She also made some miniature furniture for scale model log cabins.
"I always looked forward to Mary Howell's art classes when I was a little girl in school. I loved the painting and drawing", Nettle recalls. I think Mrs. Howell would be pleased with some of the fruits of her years of teaching art.
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This page is maintained by Tom Livingston, Robbinsville, North Carolina