February 22, 2013

Painted paper pony

Arbuckle brings life garbage

Jessica Lane, Staff Writer,
The Express-Star

CHICKASHA — He looks like an elaborate wood carving, but the carousel horse suspended mid-gallop in the window of Ross Seed and Co. is actually made from newspapers, chicken wire and other odds and ends.  

Kris Arbuckle has been refurbishing items that might otherwise end up in the landfill since she was a child. She started by making her own toys.

"It's in my blood," Arbuckle said. She added that she comes from a long line of artistic talent.

The carousel horse was Arbuckle's first artistic rendition of a horse. The artist said she learned how to make the horse as she went. His wavy mane is made from twisted newspapers, his bridle is strips of wallpaper and even his warm brown eyes are made from painted drawer knobs.

Through years of practice, Arbuckle has developed some of her own techniques, including a secret ingredient.

Arbuckle said financial challenges have forced her to be more creative.  

"It forces you to look for different uses for things when you can't just go out and buy something new."

She has made gifts for friends and family members in addition to painting her own wrapping paper.

Arbuckle said the main question she gets is "How'd you do that?"

Arbuckle said she watches Craft Wars for inspiration as well as going to craft shows. One day, she said she would like to take some classes in order to learn more about her craft.

The artist has received bits and pieces from her friends, who present them as a challenge to Arbuckle to see what she can come up with.

She transformed a pile of copper tubing into a log cabin, outfitted with lights and a fireplace where incense is lit to emanate from the chimney.

The reason that Arbuckle's creations have made an appearance in the display window of Ross Seed and Co. may be because, in addition to being an incredible artist, Arbuckle is also incredibly kind.

Mary Lou Stout, of Ross Seed and Co., and Arbuckle are neighbors. Arbuckle moved to the area last year, but the two women did not become acquainted until Stout broke her ankle. Arbuckle stepped in right away and helped her neighbor. As the women began talking, Stout discovered that her neighbor was a talented artist.

During the holiday season, one of Arbuckle's refurbished art peacocks sold for $100 within five days of making its debut in the Ross Seed and Co. window.

Stout said she wants Arbuckle to receive recognition for her creativity and one of a kind creations.