By: Whitney Leggett, CV&T Summer Intern
Jim Fitzgerald and his wife, Inge, have lived in Estill County for 20 years. The couple is originally from Michigan and Jim is a retired tool and dye maker. In retirement Fitzgerald has taken up a hobby that results in beautiful pieces of original artwork.
Fitzgerald uses a scroll saw to create pieces of art from vaulted birch. Each piece of work is handcut and they often take three weeks to a month to complete. Each piece is then sanded and rubbed with oil to create a nice finish.
Fitzgerald also crafts smaller plaques that can be completed in just a day. There are a wide variety of plaques available. Fitzgerald started his craft making plaques of different types of dogs and has moved into making Nascar, military, religious, and a number of other types of plaques.
The artwork is complicated because each detail of the picture requires a blade change and Fitzgerald must be careful not to snap or break any of the delicate pieces of the birch.
Jim and Inge used to frequent craft shows where Jim first became interested in scroll artwork.
“I saw some other scroll artwork at a craft show and decided to try it myself,” Fitzgerald said.
He now operates a shop out of his garage in Ravenna and his artwork is on display in several shops around the county, including Companions Corner on Main Street. His artwork is also displayed at The Fayette Art Gallery in Lexington.
Fitzgerald does plaques for specialty groups and organizations as well. He has been asked to display his military plaques at a Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Connecticut. An officer in Fort Knox requested plaques representing each of the different fields of medicine to be displayed in a conference room and The National Guard in Lexington has also requested plaques. Schools are able to request plaques with their school logo, name and/or mascot. Fitzgerald said that some schools use the plaques to sell for fundraising.
Fitzgerald partners with the Wounded Warrior Project to create plaques to be presented to severely injured service men and women.
Below are pictured several of the pieces that Fitzgerald has completed. To view more of Fitzgerald’s artwork visit his website at www. artisticwoodart.com