8 Mile Creek Designs8 Mile Creek Designs Artist: Wendell Pohl, Ruth Hawkins
Recycled/Upcycled Hubcap Clocks
My name is Wendell Pohl and I live on a farm along a branch of Eight Mile Creek west of Baldwin City, Kansas. My wife, Marsha, and I live just up the road from where I grew up. Our home which was recently remodeled was built before 1890. My father and I worked together on the farm until he passed away in 1996. We raised sheep, cattle, hogs, and alfalfa hay. Marsha and I raised two daughters, Ruth and Hannah, who are both married and have families of their own. We are blessed in having them both live nearby. Ruth and I run the shop together. After graduating from the University of Kansas with her degree in Illustration, she chose to stay at home and raise a family. She opened her first Etsy shop, PurpleDesignStudio in 2007.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I was employed off the farm for 36 years with the US Postal Service in Lawrence, Kansas, retiring in June of ’06. People ask me what I do with my time now and I jokingly tell them, “I haven’t stopped working; I’m just under new management.”
I’m an auctioneer with a local auction business and my wife clerks for them also. It’s an interesting job where one meets a lot of people and sees many neat things. We rarely auction on Sundays, as we are active in our church in Baldwin City.
Ruth has been blessed to stay at home with her three boys and home school. There really isn’t a time when she’s not being creative; raising boys takes a lot of creativity.
What first made you want to become an artist?
Both of my parents grew up on a farm during the depression of the 1930’s. They saved things because “they might need it someday”. They recycled many things before upcycling became a popular term today. It’s nice to give something old a new use.
Please describe your creative process how, when, materials, etc.
Our main items are the hubcap clocks. We get them from friends, find them at auctions, antique stores, on-line, salvage yards, or swap meets. They are just that, “finds.” We can’t order them. Each is different in some way and has a unique look. If they could talk, each would have a different story to tell about where they have been. They usually are discarded or left in a pile of junk. If I find ones I can use I will clean it up the best I can, drill a hole in it, put a movement on, add hands and then test it. The hubcap now has a new function, it helps us keep track of something we don’t have much of and that’s “time”.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My father and grandfather both worked in their shops on rainy days. Each one made things for their families. My grandfather cut my name out of a piece of wood when I was born; I still have it on my dresser. My father has made bookshelves, cabinets, and such like. But the most cherished items cannot be seen. They are the memories of these men working in their shops making, fixing and creating things that are useful for others to enjoy. Ruth has a beautiful wedding ring that her husband designed and had made by a local artist. She also treasures the many original crayola drawings and paintings done by her boys.