Local artist to showcase work at the 22nd annual Best of Missouri Market

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Turnings by JusKim, Kim Kenney, of Cassville, will be traveling to the Missouri Botanical Gardens in St. Louis on Oct. 4 through 6. She will be part of an event that features more than 120 Missouri food producers and artisans. This yearly event is held in tents on the botanical gardens grounds so it can be held rain or shine. All the vendors featured are either selected or invited to attend.

Kim says, "It's a great show, it's food, produce and art. Everything there is made in Missouri." She received an invitation to attend this year's show, since it will be her second year. Last year was her first time. "Initially you have to go through a jury process to apply, and they select who they want," Kim said.

Kim creates and designs burl-wood turnings. Using a lathe, along with other hand tools, she forms them into beautiful vases, bowls, plates and other creations. Kim, who was fascinated with the turnings of her mentor, Jerry Crowe, started her journey into this form of art in 2008. "I just ran into Jerry one day, and since I just loved his work, I asked him if he would teach me." He told her to come and he would teach her to use the tools, "But he told me he couldn't teach me to make pleasing shapes and how to find the shapes and lines." Kim found that she did have an artist eye and was instantly hooked. In 2011, she felt proficient enough to quit her full-time job at Arning to pursue her passion.

"Each piece I make takes about two months from start to finish." Kim starts with a selected piece of burl or other interesting piece of wood and turns it green, "The greener the better, they are turned wet." She uses patience and experience to guide her as she decides how to form the wood and when to set it down and when to finish a piece. Burl-wood's special grain is what gives Kim's pieces their unique textures and designs. The inconsistency in the wood can make it fragile, though, "The same cracks that make it look awesome can fall apart into two or three pieces on the floor if you get impatient and make the wrong cut."

Not only is Kim a local Missouri artist, she uses only local woods, "I use wood that is within a 100 mile radius of Cassville -- I don't see the point of not using something native."

Kim adds accents of turquoise, lapis and malachite to fill imperfections and bring out more design to her wood turnings. "Turquoise is the most popular," Kim said, "Sometimes a piece of wood just wants something different."

Though Kim has been selling her art both privately, and in galleries and shops, traveling to art shows is a new endeavor. "I did my first solo show in St. Joseph about three weeks ago and was awarded first place in the category of 3D art. It was a big festival and there were more than thirty thousand people." Last year, Jerry Crowe accompanied her to the Best of Missouri Market show, but this year she will be going on her own. She is considering applying to attend art shows in some larger cities in the coming year, "My goal is to attend two shows outside of Missouri next year."

The market starts the evening of the fourth, and is then open all day on Oct. 5 and 6. Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for children, which pays for entrance and entertainment associated with the event as well as entrance to the botanical gardens. For directions or more details about the event, call 1-800-642-8842, or visit www.mobot.org.

To contact Kim or see her pieces, find her online at, www.turningsbyjuskim.com or on Facebook at, Turnings by JusKim -- Custom Lathe Turned Hollow Forms.

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