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Small-town art draws big crowd

by: COURTESY PHOTOS - Matt Weishoff reforms old saddles and makes them into wine holders, which will be displayed at Abbey Creek Winery.  “Small town fun for everyone.” North Plains’ motto is coming to life with art walks every other month that draw crowds to local businesses showcasing local artists.

The next walk will be Friday, May 9 from 6 p.m. “until you go home.”

It all began with artist receptions at the North Plains Library and Abbey Creek Winery. The two venues joined forces, said Jennifer Knowles of North Plains. Soon more venues hopped on board and the mini art walks were born.

The program already seems to be attracting people from other communities, drawing in about 70 people, both locals and from as far away as east Portland, to the first one in March.

This month, Abbey Creek Winery will display Debbi Craven’s hand-made, one-of-a-kind bead work and Matt Weishoff’s leather work.

Weishoff, now 50, retired from a 20-year career bareback riding in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association nine years ago. Now employed as a general contractor, Weishoff nurtures his creative side fashioning wine holders from saddles that are either in disrepair or simply old and worn out.

No two of his creations are alike; the seat itself may end up as one of his saddle stools.

Inspiration came as Matt and his wife, Kim, contemplated including a 75-year-old saddle gathering dust as part of their living room décor. Matt took it into the garage, transformed it into his first wine holder, and The Salvaged Saddle business was born. by: COURTESY PHOTOS - Matt Weishoff reforms old saddles and makes them into wine holders, which will be displayed at Abbey Creek Winery.

The couple searches “high and low for old saddles and horse tack,” Kim said. “We are heartbroken when we hear of people throwing away dried-out, dusty tack from old barns. A little saddle soap and oil can bring these once beautiful pieces back to life.”

Other artists on the walk this month include the Westside Quilters Guild, a nonprofit group that currently has a display of patriotic quilts at the North Plains Library (see sidebar).

Robinson’s Ltd. Floral & Events will display the mixed media work of Tim Radtke and the Rogue Brew Pub & Eatery will host Bob Love and the Tough Love Pyle, who will play a wide spectrum of music.Who knows how far the mini art walk will reach? It’s clear that small town fun is popular with city folks, too.



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