Of tables, fables and the artist's craftIf you make just...


March 27, 1994|By Jean Marbella

Of tables, fables and the artist's craft

If you make just $47 in your first craft show, you probably shouldn't quit your day job.

But Judith Rand did just that, giving up a job as a psychology professor to become a full-time artisan, sculpting fanciful

furniture and mirrors from ordinary planks of cherry, teak and birch.

Even now, 14 years after quitting Bowie State University, the 51-year-old Ms. Rand can't quite explain how she became a woodworker. One day, she simply bought some tools at Sears, picked up a how-to book and made herself a dining room table. Which led to making tables and chairs and other pieces that she sold at craft shows and by commission.

Her work is charming without being juvenile -- although she does do some children's furniture, like a current group on Aesop's fable of the tortoise and the hare. Leaping bunnies form the arms of a teak garden bench, with three upright carrots forming the back. A tree branches upward and outward to form a headboard; bunches of grapes on another bench send their ivy across the arms and legs.

"It's whimsical. It's for adults who don't have children, or their children have grown, but would like to have something playful," says Ms. Rand, who is originally from Massachusetts and received her Ph.D. in psychology from the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. "I think it [reflects] a change in me. I've loosened up and lightened up."

She creates in a workshop behind her house, part of which was built circa 1840, on a former tobacco farm in Gambrills. Her prices range from $20 for a small mirror to $1,200 for a teak bench. She also does custom orders, such as a recent project, a cherry dining set in which each of the chairs' arms are formed by different animals. She can be reached at (410) 923-2289.

Another March 27. Big whoop. It's not as if you woke up today, checked your lottery ticket and discovered you just won $10 million. That happens to other people.

But a year ago today, that's exactly what happened to Creola Fawley of Myersville.

"If you use the money the wrong way, it can make your life miserable," says Mrs. Fawley, a 63-year-old retired nurse. "You have to share that money to get any happiness."

With their first installment of around $100,000 last April, Creola and Charles Fawley decided to:

1. Share the money with their daughters, Deborah Fawley Wise and Sharon Fawley Folden.

2. Go to Bermuda.

3. Buy a mobile home.

4. Pay off bills.

5. Remodel their home.

The Fawleys are 4-for-5 with the wish list. They bought a "top-of-the-line" Winnebago, closed in a porch, paid bills and shared their lottery winnings with their daughters. But the Fawleys drove their new mobile home to Dolly Parton's amusement park in Tennessee. Bermuda can wait.

Lately, they have not been pestered by financial planners, Mrs. Fawley says. She and her husband, a 63-year-old retired plumbing inspector for Frederick County, will get their next six-figure check in May. Mrs. Fawley wants to buy a new car.

always been a Buick person. I like that Park Avenue Ultra," she says.

Mr. Fawley still buys $3 or so in lottery tickets a week, and teases his wife about how he'll win again.

Today, Mrs. Fawley will head over to St. John's Lutheran at Church Hill. She's the organist there, and they need to start practicing for their Easter Sunday service.

Rob Hiaasen

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