A leaky dam that caused a drained lake gave twin sisters a chance to turn nature into artwork.
When Ledbetter Lake on Ledbetter Road in Rockingham was drained about four months ago, Jean Miner, who retired after owning three boutiques in Houston, Texas., and her twin sister Jan Gehrki, a retired teacher, got an idea.
“We started by picking up trash. We took truck loads to the dump,” Miner said. They began noticing pieces of driftwood at the bottom and around the lake. The sisters took the driftwood and have created a business turning it into unique pieces of artwork.
Called Drift Our Way, the company specializes in driftwood designs from Ledbetter lake. “We wanted to give people a piece of the lake,” Miner said. She said so many people learned to how to swim and play at the lake. “It’s neat hearing people’s stories,” Miner said.
Both sisters’ creativity was sparked at a young age. The sisters say they were blessed to have had a mother who introduced them to many forms of art when they were children.
Miner and Gehrki have been creating these pieces since November and getting the wood prepared for artwork is not easy. The sisters start by pulling the pieces out of the mud and pressure washing them to get the mud off.
They then lay the wood down to let the pieces dry. “It takes a couple of days to a month for the wood to dry out depending on how big they are,” Miner said. After the piece is dried out, they look at the wood and decide what to create with the piece. They transform the wood into a variety of artwork such as lamps, wall art, drawer pulls, yard designs, and center pieces for tables. The sisters have made a couple of nativity scenes and have started branching out into creating hanging pieces such as chandeliers.
The twins take old and used lamps from Habitat for Humanity Restore and rewire them to transform the old lamp into a new lamp. “It is a great advantage for us and for Habitat for Humanity Restore,” Gehrki said.
They are interested in residents from local markets who grew up knowing Ledbetter Lake. The sisters sell some of their pieces at two different stores; at Green Goods LLC in Southern Pines, and at Railside Antiques in Aberdeen.
Prices range from $50 to $150 depending on the size of the piece. The twins are hoping to set a price that people can afford so they can use and enjoy the art pieces. Although some of the driftwood comes from different trees, it is mostly pine “and the water made interesting shapes and patterns in the wood,” Gehrki said.
For more information, or to purchase a piece of artwork, contact Jean and Jan at 910-461-3090.
— Staff Writer Laura Edington can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.