Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The sound of two wooden goblets in a toast . . .

Earl Rutherford doesn’t fill his hand-carved wooden goblets with wine, but he says it would hold. His beautiful bowls, vessels, eggs, etc. are carved from walnut, oak, hickory and ash he finds along the road. I met the artist and asked him to “toast” an empty goblet with me, to see how it would sound. The venture yielded a satisfying, muted “clack.” The next best thing was feeling how smooth he makes the wood.

The Groves native makes the wood speak to him from his Beaumont workshop. You can see it on display this January at Texas Artists Museum. Some of it is for sale, but don’t ask for the ice cream scoop with a wooden handle. He made it for his wife.

In Rutherford’s profile, he tells that he was first introduced to wood turning in his junior high wood shop class. He worked at Texaco and had a business on Twin City Highway, so he “shelved” his hobby until about 2000.

“You never know what the grain will look like until you turn the bark off and then, as you shape it, it continually reveals more hidden character and grain patterns,” he says. “And it’s quite rewarding to see the long shavings fly off as the shape evolves.”

The profile notes he’s active with Woodworkers of Southeast Texas and a group meets each fourth Monday at his Beaumont home.

And by the way, Earl says he’s not related to Verna or Cal, two of Port Arthur’s famous Rutherfords.

TAM is also hosting works by Lamar students this month.

Okra, prayer cards and Tet

Okra is African, Carolyn Thibodeaux said she learned while setting up Holidays Around the World at Port Arthur Public Library. The holidays aren’t over. Tet, Vietnamese New Year, will fall on Jan. 23 in 2012 and welcomes the Year of the Dragon. Buu Mon Buddhist Temple assembled ornaments for a holiday tree to help share their culture. Thibodeaux, who is the children’s librarian, said some cultures that don’t have a traditional Christmas tree took the tree as the American symbol to tie in their history. The display will remain up at the library, 4615 Ninth Avenue, through Jan. 10.

Thibodeaux and I admitted to each other that we sometimes learn things, forget them and relearn them. I believe I already knew that dreidels have letters to symbolize the words for “a miracle happened here.” These spinning toys where taken out so that Jewish scholars could pretend they were gambling instead of reading religious documents in public, the local display explains.

The book “Gator Gumbo” is put out in the Cajun display, where I loved finding a very old holy water bottle, and a photo book where someone had lovingly kept collected prayer cards. Fava beans from the Italian Americans, Kwanzaa candles and Mexican bingo and paper flowers help show how cultures decorate, eat and worship during the holidays.

“It’s a huge success,” Carolyn Thibodeaux said of the collection reflecting the area’s cultural diversity.

Ahsan Tariq, a native of Pakistan and a library employee, helped assemble a display that includes dolls in traditional garments. He said he hopes Holidays Around the World will promote a better understanding of people who call Port Arthur home.

Quilter alert:

Jenni Beaumont of Golden Triangle Quilt Guild has “patched” through a message that the Bi-Annual Quilt Show will be at the Beaumont Civic Center on Feb. 10-11.

“There will be over 250 quilts on display and for anyone who loves art and creativity this is a must-see show. It is like walking through an art gallery,” Beaumont said. “Our theme this year is Garden of Quilts. There will also be vendor booths, quilts for sale, a silent auction, a boutique and lots of special exhibits. We do have several members that are nationally recognized ‘Master Quilters.”

She says there are more than 200 members from Southeast Texas and Southwest Louisiana. The website is: www.goldentrianglequiltguild.com


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