Sunday, February 13, 2011

Raising The Hammer, Linton's First Show

Our first roadside show announcement. It took a lot to get it together, but we got some press in the city and had a great turn-out. We even sold a few Linton t-shirts. We were thrilled that Alice Merritt, director of TACA (Tennessee Arts and Crafts Association) came out to see what we were doing, and was quite delighted by it. We were actually beginning to be a place on the map!

Frankie G took time out from his 'Let's Do Lunch' business in the city to manage our homespun little concession stand.

Two 'friends of Linton' pause at the stand for refreshment.

Looks like I wasn't the only one trying to capture the events of the day.

One of the nice things about the art in Linton - it was meant to be touched, or even sat upon.

Of course, Bud wouldn't sell his little fishing boat, although he had several offers. Here Robert and Suzy Seigenthaler hang out with Billy and observe the scene.

'Mask Man', and an African art dealer discuss the history of masks.

Some visitors hanging out around the little cabin we called 'Linton City Hall'.

The 'Dollar' girls from Alabama warm up the steps of city hall with wonderfully harmonized duets.

The ever versatile Big Red truck converted easily into another stage for performers.

We had an 'indoor venue', as well. Handy, in the case of rain, or to escape the sun. We still had visitors after the sun went down, and music then was around a camp fire.

Robert Seigenthaler, as well as his brother Joe, are notable Tennessee artists. Robert worked with stone as well as wood. His sculptures of marble, alabaster, and native grey limestone are in many art collections. For this show, the Linton boys dragged a big boulder out of the woods and set it up for Robert to work his magic. He roughed out a 'mountain man' in no time flat.

This wonderful bust is carved from native Cherry. While Robert and I were in the city, we noticed a Cherry tree being cut down by a real estate developer. We quickly pulled up and salvaged several large sections of its trunk. This bust is one of the creative applications of that wood.

One of Whidler's (or as he was known for this show, "Mask Man's) masks. This one of Paulownia wood. The Paulownia tree is native to this area. It has wonderful lavender grape clustered flowers in the spring, and its wood is very workable. During its entire history, Linton woodworkers never took a single live tree down. We only worked with whatever we found already fallen.

A couple of Whidler's sculptural pieces. The rather minimal one on the right was actually a captivating mobile that would slowly turn in the slightest breeze.

JQ and Monroe were a constant roadside attraction whether we were doing a show or not. Every day they made stuff and set it out by the highway to lure the buyers in.

A nice little rustic outdoor table ensemble by JQ and Monroe.

My outdoor exhibit featured mostly little stick figures and a few other things.

This little figure had a violin. I named him Stefan, after Stefan Grappelli.

While I used the interior of my own studio niche mostly for showing drawings, I did present this little chair there, made of walnut and white oak.

This gentleman simply had to have my Chiggers from Hell drawing.

If you have ever tramped through the Tennessee woods, you likely can tell your own story of being bitten by chiggers. We were joking about it one day, and imagining chiggers as sci-fi monsters. So, I did the poster as a gag.

One of Bud's pet caskets. We made a lot of small boxes at Linton, and occasionally they actually took the form of caskets. Bud later built one 'life size' casket, as well as a life size airplane that had the fuselage of a life sized casket. I will feature those another time.

A great number of little boxes were always being cranked out at Linton. They were quite popular. They were often laced together with hand-cut leather strings. While any could serve as a biodegradable pet casket, they were collected mostly as little artful boxes that found a variety of uses.

This tall and husky cabinet by Bud was one of my favorite pieces Bud presented at the show, because of its colorful history.

The interior of the cabinet is painted blue for a reason. Before Linton became an artist coop, Bud had a beer hall/market at this location. Out in front of the place was a long rectangular wooden box full of water. It was full of minnows for fishermen to purchase as bait. Now, standing up-right, with a door, it is the Minnow Box Cabinet. I am sure this piece now has a home in someone's rustic cabin in the Tennessee hills.

During the five year period in which the Linton Casket Company operated as an artist coop, we did six shows. After a second show at this site called "Re-raising the Hammer" we went on to shows at Ellington Agriculutural Center, Cheekwood Mansion and Gardens, and a show in downtown Nashville on 2nd Avenue. Our last show, before disbanding, was held in a large old barn back at our place of origin in Brush Creek Hollow. I will post more photos of some of these shows in the future. Work by the artists of the Linton Casket Company are now scattered about throughout the mid-south, and as far away as New Mexico and California.


  1. Dan, great photos.

    Tell me, is that Bob Ridley? It sure does look like him.

  2. Oooh, Dee. I have to confess I don't know who Bob Ridley is, or maybe once did, but don't remember. So, please shed some light here, or shoot me some mail about this!