Hank likes to fish, he has a dock on Beaver Lake in Rogers Arkansas, he and Jo go out whenever they can find the time. Jo has retired from teaching after 24 years, so they are hoping to find more time this spring to enjoy the great outdoors and catch some of their favorite fish food, Crappie.
Hank’s favorite music is by Led Zeppelin and anything by the Rolling Stones – also Delta blues artists.
Yep, my son calls my wife, Jo, and I “air-conditioned hippies”! We try to live the lifestyle with a large vegetable garden (10 raised beds about 20 feet long and 3 feet wide), chickens for eggs, a Koi pond surrounded by a large flower bed, and a house that we built ourselves on twenty acres of Arkansas woods and hollows (no contractors; just video tapes, books, and advice from the local lumber yard). Jo did all the wiring, and each nail was pounded in through our own blood, sweat, and tears; the air-conditioned part is obvious – we caved about 15 years ago when Jo came home from teaching at her high school and had no air conditioning in her classroom, none in her car, none in our house, and it was a hot, hot, August.
I began working in stained glass before we moved to our Rogers, Arkansas home in 1987 and constructed all the windows before the move so that the house was built around the windows. I had worked as a teacher in an Illinois prison for 15 years when Jo and I decided that we needed to make a change in our lives. Jo graduated from graduate school the same time as our son graduated from high school in May of 1987 in DeKalb, Illinois. We had a graduation/going away party on Friday night; loaded up the moving truck on Saturday, and we were on our way to Arkansas on Sunday morning. Our son was headed for the army, so we rented a room on the local campus (Northern Illinois University) for the summer before he went to boot camp. I had built a 20 x 20 building before we moved, which is where we put our bed, piano, refrigerator, microwave, clothes, an indoor cat, a Doberman, a Basset Hound, and ourselves! No running water but we DID have electricity.
I began doing fairs locally (War Eagle Craft Fair) and ventured further afield as my business grew going as far north as Fargo, ND and as far south as Galveston, TX. My son (eventually college graduated and married with children) designed my web site www.heirloomstainedglass.com. Now, I do fewer shows and more commission work and galleries. I am a part of a volunteer gallery in Rogers called Poor Richard’s Art. My job is schedule Nazi for all the volunteers. I, also, have work at the War Eagle Mill and, of course, my ETSY shop.
Most challenging project: I am currently commissioned to create over 40 windows for a single owner home in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Some of the windows are quite large, but the project is exciting. It will take me several months to complete all the work as I, obviously, must make products for shows, galleries, and other commission work.
The most frustrating part of my craft; I bleed a lot! My legs get cut when I scrape against glass I may have leaning up against a table (the sheets of glass are quite large), and my hands get cut in the handling of the glass.
We have eleven chickens (pets?), 12 Koi in the pond, three cats, and a bulldog named Miss Pickles (who is the joy of my life – next to Jo, of course – ahem).
Very interesting story Hank, thank you ever so much for sharing. I wish you all the best, always!
Be sure to check out the slide show below to see some of the really beautiful pieces that Hank has made, and be sure to visit his web page and his Etsy shop.
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Cheers my ♥’s