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Crafty Creations: Soldiers, civilians design art at Guenette



Article  
Crafty Creations: Soldiers, civilians design art at Guenette
[2/11/2009]

Source: by Michele Carlton, Courier Assistant Editor

Campbell Crafty Creations

Crafty Creations


Soldiers, civilians design art at Guenette


by Michele Carlton, Courier Assistant Editor


10 October 2008


 

A steady whirring sound emanated from a miniature lathe as the wheel rotated the block of wood at Fort Campbell’s Guenette Arts & Crafts Center wood shop.

Richard Jeppesen applied a metal shaping tool to the woodblock, carving the surface into a cylindrical form.  Tiny wood shavings collected on his thumb and fell into a pile on the floor.

With each movement of the tool, the wood sections evolved into two halves of a pen.

Jeppesen, a retired Marine, is a volunteer woodworking instructor at the center in Building 89 on Screaming Eagle Boulevard.

“Turning wood is a deep satisfaction. Instructing people multiplies that satisfaction,” he said.

The center is named for Army Spc. Peter M. Guenette, a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. In addition to woodworking, the center offers ceramics, matting and framing, digital photography and stained glass. Eligible patrons include active and retired military, reserve components, their family members, guests and DOD civilians.

To learn his craft, Jeppesen studied wood turning techniques under Jimmy Clewes, an internationally known professional woodworker from England. Today, Jeppesen said he enjoys sharing his skills with the Soldiers and civilians of Fort Campbell.

“I’ll never be a wood turner of [Clewes] quality, but it’s nice to be instructing people and seeing that branch out,” Jeppesen said.

Down the hallway from the wood shop, Pfc. Cesia Lopez held a paintbrush to her lips while examining the ceramic baked potato on the table.

After dipping her brush into the paint can, Lopez, a Soldier with the 227th Supply Company, 101st Sustainment Brigade, applied the yellow hue to an outline of butter on the spud-shaped salt shaker.

“This is like peace time for me - very, very relaxing,” said Lopez about ceramics.

Working with clay has a similar affect on Bonnie Purdhomme, of Cadiz, Ky. Purdhomme, who works for Hopkinsville Community College at the Education Center on post, spends evenings at the center’s pottery wheel “for relaxation.”

In addition to pottery and ceramics, the center offers custom and do-it-yourself matting and framing for beginners and more.

For patrons that don’t have a lot of spare time, custom framing may be the best option. Patrice Johnson-Winters, recreation specialist, noted that the Guenette center offers rates comparable to most framing shops in the area.

People who want to frame their own items may receive assistance during operation hours, Johnson-Winters said. Patrons may select mattes and frames to suit their tastes. They may cut their own mattes and glass by hand or use a computerized cutter before assembling the pieces together.

“It’s a wonderful hobby,” Johnson-Winters said about framing. “It’s so relaxing. You get a huge sense of accomplishment when you do it yourself. It is a very easy thing to learn to do yourself. You don’t have to be skilled. You don’t have to be an artist.”

After about an hour at the mini lathe, Jeppesen pressed sandpaper against the wood piece spinning on the wheel to smooth the surface. Satisfied with the results, he then removed the wood pieces and assembled the ink cartridge and metal accessories to finish the pen.

“It’s really a pleasure to give a pen to someone...and not only is it pretty and functional, but your work in it is part of the gift,” he said.

For those interested in perfecting their craft or learning a new skill, Guenette offers instructional classes and workshops for all ages. Shop fees are waived when patrons participate in a class. Hours vary, but information is available at (270) 798-6693 or 798-3625 or visit www.fortcampbellmwr.com.

“People that don’t avail themselves to come here and learn some kind of a craft or to spend time doing something they like are missing out,” Jeppesen said.

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