You can see this very unique carving, made by Lansing resident Thurman Blevins, on temporary loan to the Museum of Ashe County History.
“The Miracle Catch” is one of the many interesting exhibits on display at the museum, celebrating its seasonal opening with an open house Saturday, April 28. The museum in the 1904 Courthouse in Jefferson is now open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Levone Blevins Phillips of Hickory, daughter of Thurman Blevins, has loaned her father’s carving to the museum for temporary display.
“Daddy said he carved it out of bittersweet vine that he found on a mountaintop in Phoenix,” Levone said. “He said bittersweet vine is only found on the top of mountains because it grows so deep. It would be soft and green. He would carve it and then he would take thread and tie and bend the figures in place and lay them in a pan. He would let us kids bake them and they would be hard as bone after it dried. And that's how he got them to be pulling the net and curling the fishes’ tails. He said he used one of Momma's hair nets, dipped in shellac for the net.”
Levone said her father, born in Glade Springs, Va., and raised in Ashe County, made the carving over several months in the mid-1960s. He was inspired to do this particular carving by a picture that came along with a children's Bible storybook her mother had ordered. That original picture is framed and hanging with the carving at the museum.
She said her father has done many carvings and always enjoyed creating folk art from natural materials.
In “The Miracle Catch,” the boat is carved out of pine, the fish and men are made from bittersweet vine, and the ocean is made out of a bonding material, Levone said. Her father used varnish and oil paint for colors and texture, and he made the case with curved plexiglass to hold and protect it.
Celebrating his 80th birthday on Saturday, April 28, Thurman continues carving and just recently completed a new piece of art that is a 3D style of wall hanging featuring the Last Supper.
To kick off the spring and summer visitor season, the Museum of Ashe County History will hold an open house on Saturday with music, food, demonstrations and new exhibits.
Those who have previously visited the museum will notice some changes and additions. The Veterans’ Room has shifted emphasis from the Civil War to World War II; the Veterans Hall of Honor is now displayed in the hallway; the Bare and Worth Rooms have new displays; and more artifacts and historical photos of Ore Knob Mine have been added.
Visitors are invited to bring a folding chair and enjoy food prepared by Boy Scout Troop 231. (There will be limited seating available and food should not be brought into the museum.)
A drawing will be held to raise additional funds to apply to the continued restoration of the second floor courtroom.
Admission to the museum and open house is free. For more information, call 846-1904.