You’ve got to hand it to some of the folks who live around Ledbetter Lake.
Last year when the old concrete dam sprung a leak, the dam owners worked with state officials and devised a plan to lower the lake water and make needed repairs to the aging structure.
When the water level of the lake went from high to low to shallow and then bare lake bottom — in some parts — the area became a moonscape for some people. For many, it was ugly and sad.
But to a few, this was a new adventure.
Instead of looking for what was ugly about the drained lake bed, several industrious and curious folks have looked for what is interesting and noteworthy now that the former depths have been revealed to the light of day.
Some families turned the discovery of ‘junk’ on the lake bottom into a game; as the water receded, would they next see an old refrigerator, maybe a car?
For some folks, ones with imagination and drive, the baring of the lake has spawned renewed life and creativity. File this under: “When You’re Given Lemons, Make Lemonade.”
Two sisters have embraced what they’ve found on the bottom of the lake and are turning nature into artwork. When the lake was drained about four months ago, Jean Miner, who retired after owning boutiques, 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.
Their small start-up venture — called Drift Our Way — 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.
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, yard designs, and centerpieces for tables. The sisters sell some of the pieces at Green Goods in Southern Pines and Railside Antiques in Aberdeen.
These inventive siblings are turning something bad into something good, something old into something new, something soggy and dirty into something beautiful.
It has to do with curiosity and ingenuity, two things we need a whole lot more of these days, instead of apathy and negativity.
Look closer. Look longer. You just might stumble upon a treasure.