Saturday Crafters Corner: Coal Crafters
In the early 90’s there were a number of small Appalachian companies making figurines from coal. Now there are only two similar operations known to the new owners to still be in business. Alvin has contacted a number of his old acquaintances and customers and without exception, they have been thrilled and excited to have Alvin using his expertise down home friendliness and knowledge of what people want to buy, to once again supply them with a variety of objects made from coal.
Alvin states that he can remember filling orders to numerous states, Japan and Canada for his former employer.
Alvin says the “coal crafting” process is a combination of using coal, coal dust and a resin binder to hold everything together so that it can be molded and formed. Due to the resin in the mixture and the peroxide catalyst which is added to harden the object, the objects come out of the process a grey color. To give the object a natural coal appearance, they are power sprayed with a black lacquer. While it may seem odd to have to spray paint coal to get it to look like coal, the entire process starts with and has as its base…COAL.
Alvin, who has worked at perfecting the process for over twenty years, states he can cast trim and paint about 40 of the larger pieces and a hundred plus of the smaller objects on a good work day. The objects that Alvin can do currently number 135, with some of that number of items having multiple pieces. Alvin states, “We have every thing from Coal Miners, Mountain Madonna, which are about 11inches tall, to small Kentucky magnets about 2 inches long…numerous animals, Lincoln’s, and trains…all made from Kentucky Coal.” Buddy stated that he is “amazed at Alvin’s talents. He is a molder, carver, whittler and just a plain old hard worker.” Buddy further stated, “Alvin is great at what he does, and can do a reproduction of almost anything and reproduce it out of coal…In fact we hope to be able to do custom orders for individuals and companies that would like to like to have their logo’s or objects made from coal.” Alvin once had a Michigan man to cast into coal a piece of abstract art for his office. A doctor’s office not to far from Stearns has a 3-foot coal ‘caducei made from coal, hanging outside his office.
All classes are reduced capacity with social distancing measures being taken. Participants will be 6 feet apart. Masks are encouraged but not provided.