Keeneland Magazine

NO4 2013

Keeneland, Investing in Racing's Future since 1936.

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Kentucky Crafted Twyla and Lonnie Money Lonnie and Twyla Money live on a farm, which is no surprise to admirers of the boastful roosters, sneaky foxes, bashful opossums, and countless other creatures that Lonnie carves and Twyla paints. Rural life is written all over the thousands of pieces they have produced since Lonnie's carvings frst caught the eye of folk art collectors almost 40 years ago. There's a story about each animal he carves, and it usually has its roots in the Moneys' life in East Bernstadt in southeastern Kentucky. The red fox with the chicken in its mouth was inspired by the real thing, which ran across the road in front of Lonnie's car. The chicken was probably the Jonathan Palmer Photos property of a neighbor, who had just mentioned that his fat white hens were mysteriously disappearing. A cow that sits back on its haunches? Lonnie and Twyla laugh. They once had a cow that would sit down. It was a Black Angus. Lonnie carved a sitting cow, and to make it funnier, he made it a Holstein dairy cow. Twyla painted it black and white with bright pink udders. Art is a team effort for the Moneys, with Lonnie carving and Twyla painting. Long before it was fashionable, the Moneys used locally sourced materials. Much of the wood they use is from trees on their farm. Lonnie saws the logs in his sawmill. When neighbors trim their maple trees, the Moneys also snap up the cut branches. Those branches will become "twig" roosters, one of the many varieties of carved chickens the Moneys make. Neighbors also donate turtle shells after they've scooped out the meat for soup. Tobacco sticks, remnants of the Moneys' days of tobacco farming, are fashioned into sleek lizards. Gourds that become animals' bodies are grown in a former tobacco feld. Ten years ago, the couple gave up farming and made art a full-time occupation. They work together, but apart: Lonnie in his barn; Twyla, next to it, in a mobile home that the couple bought cheap because it had been burned. They gutted it, repaired it, added a porch, and turned it into a nice showroom and paint studio. It is just one example of how "being raised hard," as Lonnie says, has made the Moneys thrifty and inventive. "Being not real fnancially secure gives you a drive to succeed," he says. They have been encouraged and nudged by others. Artist Moses Hamblin convinced Lonnie to do his frst show in 1975 at Sue Bennett College. Art dealer Larry Hackley pushed Lonnie to paint his carvings. 60 KEENELAND WINTER 2013

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