In November 2022, I started an article series to promote local artists and crafters. This article features Junction City artist Gail Dye and the model train layout that she and her late husband Jerry Dye diligently crafted over several years. Read on below to discover in the artist's own words what it takes to create a large layout. The video below highlights some of the many elements that have been included in "Dye's Station."
A Renewed Interest for Young and Old
Model railroading is still a popular pastime. With the abundance of available time on their hands during the pandemic quarantine, both young and old alike found themselves looking for a new interest, and guess what came rolling in like a steam engine - model railroading.
Although the Dye's interest in model railroading began long before the pandemic, as you'll learn shortly, a renewed interest has sparked for the long-time hobby. According to Gordy Robinson, president of the National Model Railroad Association in a Saturday Evening Post article from October 19, 2022:
"Since the pandemic began, participation in the NMRA’s Master Model Railroader program — an elite training course for the most dedicated hobbyists — has exploded."
Read on to learn from Gail Dye what it took to create the model train layout in their home basement.
In the Artist's Own Words
The following was written by Gail Dye for this blog post.
About 7 years ago my husband Jerry and I decided to make a model train layout. He had started his Lionel train collection when he was a 10th grader and he never had them on a layout. We kept all his trains in boxes for approximately 50 years and never felt as if we had the time or room to set them up in a layout. They are the large O scale size that take up a lot of room.
We finally decided, after Jerry was semi-retired, that we needed to do something with them. So, Jerry and our son began building a table that is 8’ X 18’ and we set it up in a room in our basement. Then it was up to me to begin the landscaping. So, I put my artistic abilities to work. I did a lot of research on the internet getting ideas. I built all the buildings except for the train depot. It took several years for it to be completed. The layout kind of tells the story of our life. It has our house, Jerry’s mechanic shop, our church and a cemetery, my upholstery shop, the grain elevators and office from down on Perry Street, a playground park, a garden, a barn and shed similar to one where Jerry grew up and it is also similar to one where we lived for 8 years, and Stacy’s restaurant where Jerry ate lunch every weekday for 40 years. The Junction City water tower stands in the middle of the table. There is a tunnel, a lake and a pond with fishermen.
Meant for Visitors
Our plan was to complete the layout and then invite people to come see it, especially people with children. Just as we got it finished, Covid happened, so we didn’t get to do that. Then, Jerry passed away in 2021.
Recently I contacted people I know from Lincoln Elementary school to see if they could bring some children on a field trip to see the trains. So, the student council got to come see it. It was really fun to see their reactions to it all. Sharing it with others is what makes it fun. It is very detailed, so to make them look for all the details we played a scavenger hunt. They had a list of items that they had to search for on the layout and see who could complete their list the fastest.
Recycle and Reuse!
The landscaping is built with all sorts of things such as a small cardboard box, a pringles can, an oatmeal container, corrugated cardboard, sedum plants for trees, center rolls from newspaper print, chicken wire, sand paper, cereal boxes, plumbers end caps, a lid from a cool whip container, a plastic straw, and many other things. It was so much fun to see what could be made from everyday items.
A Lifelong Flair for Artistic Things
I have always had a flair for artistic things such as crafts of all sorts, and then doing upholstery. I had always wanted to try my hand at painting pictures but never felt I had the time or talent. But about 4 years ago I got the opportunity to take some lessons in oil painting. I absolutely love it. I began with landscape scenery, then I painted dogs and barns and flowers and a few people. I recently began trying to learn acrylic paintings and am currently teaching a class once a month at the Senior Center. We do simple paintings for beginners. I am enjoying using my artistic abilities. It gives me a real sense of accomplishment and joy.
The paintings below are only a few of the many created by Gail Dye. A regular in the Junction City Arts Council's Art Walks, her work is frequently available for viewing.
Make sure to always be informed and aware of our classes, programs and events by following us on Facebook, that's where a lot of info is share almost daily.
Thanks for your continued support of the arts and our organization.
Sherry Frewerd - JCAC Director
Happy 2023! At the end of 2022, I started making a list of programs, events and classes I'd love to see happen at JCAC. As I wrote, that list grew and grew; if only we had enough time, volunteers and funds available to do everything on my list. Regardless of our "limitations," we have always come through with interesting, informative and simply just fun activities for the community over the last 49 years.
A Screeching Halt, Yet Moving Forward
Just like practically everywhere else in the world, the Covid pandemic put a fast halt to most of our plans for 2020 and much of 2021. We did return to in person classes in the Fall of 2021 and have continued to offer both free and paid classes and workshops for kids and adults. The repsonse has been delightful and we plan to create new programs for 2023 and beyond, but possibly in a different format; more on that later.
New Opportunities and Continuing Progams
We love offering arts and crafts opportunities to kids and have done so for free since 2013. That's not going to change, but the frequency and format will. One of our plans is to provide a "Make and Take" crafting event where families can come, make a quick craft and take it with them. We feel that this type of event will allow more families the chance to create with their kids, yet not require an hour or more of their time.
A new arts and crafts option that we are excited to get up and running soon is our "Arts and Crafts to Go" video series. These fun videos will include an instructor, (probably myself,) and a kiddo or two. I'm very excited to begin this, we've talked about it since the Fall of 2019, but you know, Covid happened. These videos will be free of course and available on our website and social media.
Community Events and Contests!
Junction City has proven itself to love community events. Perhaps that has something to do with our vast military population who are always looking for new things to do. That being said, we love supporting our military families and appreciate their support to no end. So, as we have in the past, we are planning some new community events for 2023; be looking for more information as plans evolve!
As for our current, on-going activities, our free acrylic painting class held at the Geary County 4H Senior Center will continue with Gail Dye instructing. This class has become so popular we had to switch up the format a bit to accomodate more painters!
More Coming, So Be Looking!
There are a few plans that I'm not ready to divulge just yet, but be certain that they will be fun and different from what we've done in the recent past. I hope you are as eager to see the new year get moving with fun community events as we are! Make sure to always be informed and aware of our classes, programs and events by following us on Facebook, that's where a lot of info is share almost daily.
Thanks for supporting JCAC over the last many, many years, we love you all and are very grateful.
Sherry Frewerd - JCAC Director
Artist Spotlight - Jacob Sanderson
Part of the mission of Junction City Arts Council is to support local artists. This article, with Jacob Sanderson, painter and metal sculptor, is the first in a series of interviews with artists living in Geary County and the surrounding area.
Interview with Jacob Sanderson:
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I was born in San Jose, California and raised in Georgia. I now live in Manhattan, Kansas.
When and how did you start creating art?
I was a soldier and after I finished my contract, I was very optimistic about attending K-state and getting my degree in psychology. I had first experienced some mental health issues in the military and maybe that brought about an interest to learn more about it. After getting a scholarship for a long-term degree in research psychology my mental health issues started to return. I ended up being hospitalized. I had to switch my major to some thing that was more accommodating to what I was able to do, so I switched to creative nonfiction writing. I enjoyed it, but eventually I found it very painful to be around others. I honestly love people, so this development was unexpected. This turned into a diagnosis of agoraphobia, and I had to leave university. I always wanted to be a college student. I grew up in poverty with two parents who never graduated high school and the odds were statistically low I would ever attend.
After a few months of darkness indoors, I decided to recreate my identity into something that I could do mostly alone that would hopefully nourish me. In a bout of mania, I purchased a $500 Mustang with the intent of chopping it into cubes. It took around 4 months, but not wanting to waste the experience I started to weld together the pieces to interpret what was going on inside me.
What is your primary medium?
Now it is acrylic. I started by making metal art, but it is no longer cost effective.
How did you develop your artistic skills?
I started creating at around 2018 with no prior experience or education in art. This perspective helped me develop the patience and self trust I needed to learn how to create. Additionally, I constantly use social media to help me refine how appealing my art is to others. I see it as helping me retain my unique style, but learning the right language to speak it in.
Where do you find inspiration? What motivates you to create?
At this time other people motivate me. Internally, I often feel like I’m a grumpy person, but when I do commissions, I feel compelled to gift people something uplifting and memorable.
What does your work aim to say?
I trust others to tell me what it says to them. I don’t feel very possessive over meaning. I think creation can be very therapeutic and I hope my future self can one day teach or inspire others to create. I’m aggressively anti rules when it comes to art sometimes. I make a massive chaotic mess every time I create.
If I wanted to say anything maybe it would be that:
We all have to learn how to behave in order to be successful in most careers. We have to subtract ourselves so much that we stop trusting our impulses and feelings. Art can be an area where you learn to trust yourself again. Just let it out and overtime you will start to become more skilled at creating meaning through the mess, but first you need to make a mess.
To learn about future artist spotlight interviews, follow the Junction City Arts Council on Facebook!
Match Day is Coming! Support Junction City Arts Council! Geary Community Match Day is Tuesday, October 13, 2020. The community supported JCAC last year and we are very thankful. Please consider helping support the arts once again. More info? Go here: https://www.gearymatchday.com/
Article by: Denise Long
Grandma in CHIEF - grandmothering.info
If you’re like many grandparents, you revel in spending time with your grandchildren, regardless of their ages. However, their interest and ability levels may differ drastically from your own. It is possible, however, to keep the little ones entertained and engaged even if you aren’t physically able to run and play.
Start With Art
From the very young to the very old, people of all ages enjoy doing art. Drawing, painting, and crafting are safe and fun activities for the entire family. Projects that are fun for kids include creating a newspaper skyline, using leaves, acorns, and twigs to create small works of art, and making crayon drip canvases. Younger children can utilize torn construction paper pieces to dream up their very own landscape while older kids might find some amusement creating Picasso-like art with markers and magazine cutouts.
Teach a Practical Hands-on Skill
You can also have fun with your grandchildren by teaching them practical skills. This is especially meaningful if it’s a family pastime that has been passed down from one generation to the next. Some ideas include quilting and woodworking. HomeAdvisor explains that the latter requires paying careful attention to young children, as woodworking involves sharp knives. A few fun projects here include building a toolbox, bookshelf, or birdhouse.
Cooking With Kids
Speaking of knowledge that gets passed from parent to child, cooking is another valuable life skill that you can share with your grandchildren. Bring them to the kitchen to learn how to make a family favorite recipe. This could be a main dish, a traditional holiday course, or dessert. PBS Parents explains that when children learn to cook, they also get to explore new foods and culture. It also teaches reading and math skills. More importantly, putting on an apron and whipping up a tasty treat is a bonding experience that can’t be replicated any other way. Always practice safe kitchen practices and never leave children under the age of 16 unsupervised when the oven or stovetop are in use. Keep sharp knives out of reach and encourage regular hand washing to prevent cross contamination.
Share Your Family History
Most children don’t have much of an idea of where they come from beyond their parents and grandparents. But you likely remember and have mementos of their ascendants going back one or more generations beyond yourself. For many families, this is the form of jewelry, books, or military mementos. Teach your grandchildren about your own grandparents and great grandparents and let them touch and feel these vestiges of the past. You never know when something will catch their interest that will encourage them to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors and keep their stories alive for their own children and grandchildren.
An Old Classic
Kids need to keep their hands busy, so consider making a tried-and-true classic, play dough. With simple ingredients including salt, flour, oil, and water, you and your grandchildren can mix up this old-fashioned favorite in a matter of minutes. As an added benefit, homemade play dough is non-toxic. It also tastes terrible, which will discourage ingesting more than the amount needed to satisfy their inevitable curiosity.
In addition to kitchen and garage safety, you’ll need to make sure your home is a safe haven for your grandchildren. If they are very young, consider covering the electrical outlets and anchoring heavy furniture to the floor. Remove dangerous items, such as cleaning products and razors, and keep your windows closed to prevent falls. Dr. Sears offers more childproofing ideas. When your grandchildren are around, keep common materials that you use with them within reach so you aren’t running up and down stairs or driving to the store every time they come for a visit.
It is possible to connect with your grandchildren no matter the amount of years that span your generations. But remember, safety is your top priority so choose activities that won’t be encumbered by either of your physical limitations.
Here are two original 8x10 Valentine printables just in time for you to print and display in your home. They look great printed on a sheet of glossy or matte photo paper and displayed in a nice frame. The frames shown are digital images only and will not print out, you'll get unframed printables. See below for more ideas for using these printables.
Click the link under the printable on the right to download and save to your computer.
Need a few tips on how to get the best print? Here is a helpful free guide: "The Ultimate Guide to Printing Printables."
Another idea for using these pretty Valentine printables . . . copy them 4 to a page of card stock, print, cut out and give away as Valentine cards! They also make great gift tags . . . copy them 8 to a page of card stock, print, cut out and punch a hole for a pretty ribbon or rafia tie!
In our family we love to find ways to celebrate the seasons. The kids all get so excited when it’s time to pull out our decorations for a special time of year. This year I decided to make a new wreath for our front door to anticipate the arrival of Autumn this year.
Next you are going to start making small bunches with all of your materials. Here I’ve taken one grass stem, one pepper berry sprig and one feather and wired them all together along the bottom. Use you wire cutters to clip off any extra wire at the bottom of your bunch. (below)
Now use your floral wire an attach the bottom of the stem to your wreath form. Repeat.
Keep attaching bunches, overlapping each piece slightly, until your wreath is filled up. The number you need will depend on how full the materials are you chose to work with. (below)
Once you’ve got all of your bunches wired on, flip your wreath over. Generously use your hot glue gun and glue over the top of where the floral wire is attached to the form. This will keep your wreath from moving around. Flip over your wreath and look at it- If you like, add some more feathers or grass stems until it’s the fullness that you are happy with.
Next you are going to take apart your focal flower. Just tug on it, it will come apart!! Don’t worry we’ll put it back together again. If you don’t want to use a sparkly brooch for the center of your flower, you can skip this part.
Now just reassemble your flower in a way that you like! I used some leaves from the stem and glued them to the back. Just use hot glue to reassemble the flower. I just pinned the brooch onto the reassembled flower.
The only thing left to do is to hot glue the flower to your wreath and hang it on your door! Oh- if you don’t want to keep the brooch on your wreath don’t stress, you can just take it off when you are done with it and use it for something else.
This post was originally published at ModernMom, as part of their Wednesday Crafternoon’s series.