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Pinecone art revives man’s Christmas spirit
Written by Greg Ruland   
Wednesday, 01 December 2010 00:00

Works of folk art, the result of one man’s quest to revive the Christmas spirit, will grace the shelves and tables of Cottonwood Public Library as part of a holiday exhibit through December.

Hand-painted and mounted on all manner of debris picked up on his walks across the city, Richard Corey, 67, said the scores of perfectly-shaped pine cones he collected and decorated in the last year kept his mind on Christmas and cured his holiday blues.
“When you do creative things, arts and crafts, you keep your mind focused on making each Christmas design, you keep your mind set on it it gets you back in the Christmas spirit,” Corey said.

Pinecones decorated by Richard Corey will be on display at the Cottonwood Public Library through December. Corey said the simple craft helped him regain his holiday spirit.Library officials agreed to exhibit his work starting Wednesday, Dec. 1.

First, Corey said he selects his media based on their approximation of pinecone perfection, generally a graceful oval shape studded with spiky scales arborists say are actually modified leaves.

As he considers the cones, an idea takes shape, inspired, he said, by God.

On some of the cones, he gilds the edge of the scales with a variety of colors and glitter. The effect resembles fresh fallen snow on a pine tree sparkling in the sunlight.

Others, mounted on a gold-colored base, look freshly minted from bars of precious ore, some topped with stars or figures resembling Christmas elves.

Those painted violet he considers highly spiritual, even though they forgo the traditional red and green.

He spends between three and four hours on some of the cones, other take less time to create. All are made with children in mind, he said.

“First you have to wash them,” Corey said. Pull all the seeds out and let them dry naturally.”

He paints them first with a primer, then a main coat. On some, he mounts candles.

“Sharing with others and bringing a smile to the face of children is the reason I do it,” he said. “I hope it inspires other people, especially those who are having a tough time at Christmas.”

He said the pinecones are inexpensive to create considering many of the materials can literally be picked up from the ground. He uses the caps of spray paint cans or yogurt containers as bases, “just little stuff you can find walking around.”

“They’re all different,” he said.

Creating Christmas art is the best way he can think of to recapture the Christmas spirit, he said.


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