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04 Apr Artist Spotlight: J Vernon Art

Like many artists, J Vernon Abernethy’s J Vernon Structures in Art natural sculptures is a labor of love. The emphasis is on labor. Step around one of his bird house installations to see an engaging exchange of telling nature’s story. His works are both for outdoors and indoors. In his latest exhibitions, he has humor mixed into a fairytale magical display where fairies and gnomes exist in his land of enchantment. He personally sparks an interest that tells a story in each of his hand crafted sculpted pieces.

When did you start your career in art? How long have you known you wanted to be an artist?

As a young child, I was strongly influenced by my mother who ran a small home business decorating cakes, planning wedding receptions, and making ceramic mold pieces at her in-home shop in the basement of the house where she lived. She called it “The Mud Hut”. As ceramic molds may sometimes become very heavy, wanting to gain favor with my mother, I would help her pour the clay “slip” into molds and set the molds in place for drying. My greatest pleasure was to open a cured mold and see the ceramic “green” (unfinished) piece that had been produced. This became the foundation for my love of carving. It was how I began carving into some of the ceramic pieces, creating my own chess sets in the clay, and learning about the art of molding and carving during my high school and college years.

Describe your aesthetic in 3 words…

Textural, Natural, Round

Describe your artistic process and preparation?

Although I graduated from Western Carolina University with a bachelors degree in accounting, I never lost my love for craft art.
In 1973 I married the love of my life and continued to enjoy carving, advancing to wood and wood working. We had no children; however, I learned that building a birdhouse was a perfect way to gain the interest of my niece and nephews. I designed a plan that would yield a perfectly fitting traditional “A” frame birdhouse that can be sawn using a hand saw making only straight cuts across a suitable piece of 1 X 6 pine lumber. Even a child can do it. I am now making birdhouses with my grand nephews. I set up a summer workshop with children building and decorating birdhouses during the summer. Contact me for setting up a summer workshop at your church, club, or community.
During 2007 I began decorating my birdhouses with discarded plastic bottle caps and cutting colorful plastic containers to depict scenes such as apple orchards, grape vineyards, citrus groves, daffodils, etc., and marketing these locally. I also make birdhouses with pine cone parts, tree stumps, tree bark, and broken tree limbs. I invite you to look at the pictures of my work. I hope you find within them the professional touch necessary to be classified as fine craft art.

Favorite piece you’ve created to date and why?

My favorite birdhouse is “The Little Pine that Never Gave Up”. It was made from a pine tree that fell in Hurricane Hugo.

Who inspires you personally and/or professionally?

My mother is my biggest inspiration.

Biggest accomplishment to date?

Southeastern Wood Craft Show winning 6 ribbons 2 first place blue ribbons and 2 second-place and 2 third place.

Favorite location to create/what is your studio like?

I create my wood pieces in my garage at home.

A random fact about you?

I’ve been married for 45 years.

Name your favorite artist and/or emerging artist?

I have many, but Norman Rockwell is one of them.

One thing you couldn’t live without?

My wife.

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