I recently rode up to Hambidge for their Fall Festival. It was a sunny warm Saturday in October — a very peaceful afternoon of mellow music and mountain air. I ate some good food and learned about Raku firing of pottery. I sat a while in the sun on the soft green grass near a creek.
After I left Hambidge and Betty’s Creek Road I stopped by to see an art friend named Eric Legge (leg-gee). I have know Eric for several years but never been to his home studio. It is located off the main highway in Dillard, Georgia.
I found him in his old garage turned into a wonder-world of folky art — creations by him, his father, and others such as Bucket Man and R.A. Miller. Art and paintings and sculptures were stacked and leaned on top of each other. It was deep in some spots and little curiosities were placed all between them. It was as much as my eyes could take at one time. There were many things to see.
We talked a while and traded some stories. Eric has a soft spoken manner and a quiet way of telling his life’s tales. He is a bit mysterious. He showed me all around his studio and I asked him a bunch of questions. I bought a little “baby jesus” painting from him. He gave me a little drawing on metal by R.A. Miller. How could I refuse? He told me how he would make coffee and try to work all night sometimes. I laughed and told him my all-nighters ended about 11 o’clock.
When we were done inside we walked outside and I showed him some street poems in my van. My old rat terrier growled a little. I hung up one of my street poems on a pole outside his studio. He held the ladder as I climbed on up.
Eric had spoken of a boiled peanut sign before so I was glad he remembered to show it to me. He walked over in front of the studio amongst the painted concrete animals and gnomes. It was a hand-painted sign from along the highway and a man had given it to him some time back. Eric said, “I left it out about 10 years… I think that was too long. I should have taken it inside about the 6th year.” He smiled a little. I did too. Pup barked a few times as I made room in the van for the dirty road-side treasure.
I brought the sign home to Arabia Mountain and cleaned it up. I chipped off the rotted wood. I beat on it a little with a hammer. I sealed it on both sides so it wouldn’t decay anymore. Then I decorated the old sign with some of my fun paint. I added some smiley faces. It makes me happy now. I will keep it and hang it up in our new house as a reminder of Eric and his little colorful home in the North Georgia hills. I will think about road trips through the country and throwing peanut shells out the window. I will think of the sunshine on my arm. I will think of good times.
Thanks Eric for your art and what you offer to the world.
see you soon,
Kyle BlackCatTips Brooks