Coal Valley man turns spare time, spare parts into art


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Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2013, 5:44 pm
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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."


















 



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  Today is Tuesday, July 22, the 203rd day of 2014. There are 162 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: Everybody is invited to go on a moonlight excursion next Monday evening on the steamer New Boston. The trip will be from Davenport to Muscatine and back.
1889 -- 125 years ago: The mayor and bridge committee let a contract to the Clinton Bridge company for a $1,125 iron bridge across Sears canal near Milan.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Injunction proceedings to compel the Central Association to keep a baseball team in Rock Island for the remainder of the season were contemplated by some of the Rock Island fans, but they decided to defer action.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The first of the new and more powerful diesel engines built for the Rock Island Lines for the proposed Chicago-Denver run, passed thru the Tri-Cities this morning.
1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island Rescue Mission is negotiating for the purchase of the Prince Hall Masonic Home located at 37th Avenue and 5th Street, Rock Island.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Quad Cities Container Terminal is being lauded as a giant business boon that will save several days and hundreds of dollars on each goods shipment to the coasts. The Quad Cities Container Terminal is the final piece of the puzzle that opens up increase access to world markets, Robert Goldstein said.








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