Coal Valley man turns spare time, spare parts into art


Share
Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013, 5:44 pm
Comment on this story | Print this story | Email this story
By Dawn Neuses, dneuses@qconline.com
COAL VALLEY -- Jerry Smith is so well known for his ability to fix small engines that customers drive from Nebraska and Milwaukee to his home-based business in Coal Valley.

Now, the 74-year-old is working at becoming known for something else: his art.

Mr. Smith, who has been welding since he was 12, is using those skills in his free time to make metal sculptures using things such as horseshoes, washers, Chevy engine parts, shovels, silverware and hammers.

His work includes a yard art flower with spoons for petals and forks for leaves; a mosquito with a body made from an old oil can; a wide-mouthed smiling figure fishing; crabs; spiders; a crane; a dachshund made from horseshoes; and a hammer.

Mr. Smith said he saw some similar sculptures in Galesburg, and "I got hooked."

He planned to try his hand at the sculptures this winter but started earlier when his small engine repair business slowed down last summer because of the drought. "The grass was not growing," he said.

"I started monkeying around with it and found it was a lot of fun. It keeps your mind working. I am one who cannot sit down and let the world go by. I have to be doing something," Mr. Smith said.

Some of his sculptures take a half-hour. Others take much longer. The parts and pieces he gets from various sources -- one friend works in a junkyard, and other friends gave him horseshoes and railroad spikes.

He continues to operateJerry's Small Engine, creating art in his spare time."You have to stay active when you get older. This keeps my ideas going. It keeps me young," he said.

Mr. Smith's sculptures range in price from $8 to $44, and he has sold some at Toni's Treasures in Wilton, Iowa. He wants to extend his reach. "Hopefully I will find another place, too," he said.

Until then, he will sell his works out of his home and can be reached at (309) 236-2833.

"It is a lot of fun and keeps me busy."


















 



Local events heading








  Today is Wednesday, April 23, the 113th day of 2014. There are 252 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: Some persons are negotiating for 80 feet of ground on Illinois Street with a view of erecting four stores thereon. It would serve a better purpose if the money was invested in neat tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Central station, car house and stables of the Moline-Rock Island Horse Railway line of the Holmes syndicate, together with 15 cars and 42 head of horses, were destroyed by fire. The loss was at $15,000.
1914 — 100 years ago: Vera Cruz, Mexico, after a day and night of resistance to American forces, gradually ceased opposition. The American forces took complete control of the city.
1939 — 75 years ago: Dr. R. Bruce Collins was reelected for a second term as president of the Lower Rock Island County Tuberculosis Association.
1964 — 50 years ago: Work is scheduled to begin this summer on construction of a new men's residence complex and an addition to the dining facilities at Westerlin Hall at Augustana College.
1989 — 25 years ago: Special Olympics competitors were triple winners at Rock Island High School Saturday. The participants vanquished the rain that fell during the competition, and some won their events; but most important, they triumphed over their own disabilities.




(More History)