Craftswoman who treasures the country life creates primitive furniture, whimsical animals


January 25, 1996|By Judy Reilly | Judy Reilly,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

IT'S A SCENE from the Peaceable Kingdom -- domestic animals in all shapes, sizes and breeds saunter in and out of the animal doors created for them. One barn on the property houses sheep and a cow, another a potter's studio. Sun streams into the window of the farmhouse kitchen, where Bonnie Buellis sits chatting about country life, art and people.

Ms. Buellis is one of those rare individuals many of us would like to emulate -- independent, free-spirited, energetic, an animal lover and artist who lives on the farm where she grew up. She treasures the country life -- "It's a slice of heaven here," she says.

I first met Ms. Buellis at the Westminster holiday farm market where she was selling her primitive painted furniture and whimsical folk animals. I'm usually tight with a penny, but when I saw her frog and cat angels, I knew I had to have one of each as Christmas gifts for my kids. Now the angels hang on the doors of their rooms, greeting them with wry smiles after a long day at school.

Ms. Buellis combines her three loves -- animals, art and the country life -- in work that she sells in shops and craft shows throughout the region. She creates dolls that are llamas, donkeys, goats, cats and cows.

The fur on the animals comes from the sheep she raises. Her painted wood furniture and accessories depict bucolic scenes of the country, and she uses clear, deep, warm colors to evoke a mood of peace and beauty.

Trained as a graphic artist as well as a veterinary technician, Ms. Buellis is thrilled to finally be a full-time artist. A few years ago she decided to sell some of her crafts at a show and did so well that she took the risk of pursuing art as an occupation.

She can work where she's happiest, on her 80-acre farm in Tyrone, and be with her animals. Over the years, Ms. Buellis has rescued more than 20 animals, from stray kittens to a cow that was being sold at auction.

Ms. Buellis also has the kind of energy many of us yearn for. "I'm like the hamster on the wheel," she acknowledges. "There's not enough time in the day to do all that I want to do. I've never been bored a day in my life." Ms. Buellis is getting ready for her next show at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival, May 4 and 5. You can meet her there, or contact her for custom orders at Irish Wool Farm, 857-1274.

Christian coffeehouse

St. Luke's Lutheran Church, 701 Green Valley Road, holds a Christian coffeehouse Saturday, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The First Fruits Gospel Band and various guests will perform. There will be an open mike, too -- just register at the door when you arrive. Admission is free.

We spent a warm July evening at a coffeehouse at St. Luke's last summer. All the windows and screen doors were open to let in a breeze. Information: 635-6177.

Child development at Key

Mothers of preschool students who want an enriching and enjoyable experience for their children should call Francis Scott Key High School to register at the school's child development lab.

The session for 4-year-olds begins Feb. 15, runs for four mornings a week until March 22, and costs $10. Information: 751-3320.

Power loss was a gain

On Friday, the day that much of Maryland experienced all four seasons in less than 24 hours, the power went out in Uniontown. From around supper until bedtime, we were without heat, water and lights.

At first the kids pouted and amused themselves by betting on when the power would return. Then, sometime after the carryout pizza and the 10th log was thrown on the fire, the atmosphere changed.

As we sat around the fire, keeping warm and eating by candlelight, we rediscovered the simple pleasure of talking to each other without being interrupted by a ringing telephone or television.

At 10 p.m., we bundled up to go outside and look at the stars. With no lights on in town, the show was spectacular. Our son declared it one of the best nights he'd had in a long time, and we agreed.

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