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Art From the Farm
103 East High
Toledo, Iowa

 


 

Tama-Toledo News

  TOLEDO CHRONICLE
  
By John Speer, Editor


Art From The Farm
103 East High, Toledo
Hours Mon-Fri 9:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Also open weekends
and by appointment
(“When the flag is flying, we’re here”)
Ph. 641-328-4159


  http://www.tamatoledonews.com

New Studio - 103 East High, Toledo

“Up until now, I was out in the barn, under a tree or in my mother-in-law’s basement,” Vicki Ferriss said last week from her new studio at 103 East High in downtown Toledo. Recognized for her unique art work fashioned from what she calls “experienced barb wire,” Vicki and her husband, Roger Ferriss, opened their Art From The Farm Studio last week.

Iowa Farmer Today

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IFT photos by Hannah Fletcher

               © Copyright Iowa Farmer Today
Barbed-wire creations help keep farm rolling


Vicki and Roger Ferriss attend were scheduled to attend 42 shows in the Midwest where they sell Vicki's barbed wire creations. One of Vicki's creations, a barb wire chair, makes a great decoration for the garden. Some of her most popular works are baskets, welcome signs and flowers shaped in barbed wire.

Click on photo at left to read full article or 
Logo above to visit Iowa Farmer Today.

Hear Vicki Jo interviewed on
The Successful Farming Radio Magazine is hosted by Darrell Anderson.  
The 90-second spots air on radio stations daily in the Midwest.  Aired 8/25/2005
Click Logo to listen to Successful Farming Radio Magazine at Agriculture Online

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© Copyright 2006 Meredith Corporation 

Vicki Jo Interview    spkr   366K mp3
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Family Living
a publication of Iowa Farm Bureau
HTML version of article printed in December Issue

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Vicki Ferriss discovered she had a knack for turning pieces of barbed wire from her Toledo farm into works of art. With her husband Roger, she's turned that skill into a business selling barbed wire art all around the Midwest. 


THEY DISPLAYED THEIR WIRY
wares at a farmers' market in Waterloo years ago and discovered that people fancied the fencing material and the things that Vicki could do with it.  Soon, they added more shows and markets.

"We had always been looking for another way to earn supplemental income for the farm," admits Roger. "And then, six months into doing this, we realized that that's just what we were doing." 

With the help of their 18-year-old son who assists with the chores and livestock on the farm, the Ferrisses have become familiar faces on the art and craft show circuit. "Our son was 12 when we started this," marvels Vicki. "It's a great feeling to know that this art business is going to help support the farm and keep him working with us." 

In addition to making money, Vicki's barbed beauties are also earning accolades. In 2004, her "Poky Pig" earned first place in the sculpture division and second in best in show at the Pigcasso art competition held during the World Pork Expo. The following year, the best in show was bestowed to her "Only Prickly on the Outside" creation.

As if her medium wasn't unique enough, Vicki's ability is just as admirable as she's had no formal training.

"She actually has a degree in psychology comments Roger, a hint of teasing rising in his words. "So we joke about what working with barbed wire can possibly mean." 


VICKI IS CONSTANTLY REINVENTING the shapes she wires together. "I like to be doing something different all the time," she says excitedly. "There are some staples such as baskets, flowers and trees, but I also do many requests such as an image for an Angus herd. I've done all kinds of animals from roosters to alligators." 

Some of her favorite sculptures are full-sized human forms, including her garden ladies. "It takes a long time for the bigger items," she says. "I make a number of sketches and then work on welding and setting the frame.  It can take a couple of weeks or more for the large sculptures." Roger, who often helps weld frames, is smitten with the snow man popular this time of year. 

Vicki Jo

Depending upon their surroundings, artists dabble in different mediums. Some play with paints, while others carefully caress clay, And still others, well, at least one woman in Toledo anyway, works with wire. She bends barbed wire, to be exact.

Vicki Ferriss has the ability to transform a bundle of spiky steel into beautiful pieces of art including snowmen, baskets, trees, animals and more. Give her 30 minutes or so and she can even make a customized sign bearing a customer's last name. "It all started when I wanted to have something for my garden," explains Vicki. "We had wire all around us, being out on the farm, and I discovered that I really enjoyed working with it." 

And it takes quite a bit of work to wrestle the barbed wire into these whimsical shapes. Vicki dons a trusty pair of leather chaps and gloves. She says that her upper arms take the brunt of any wire-to-skin con- tact. "The wire always wins," she laughs. "I'm lucky that I'm a fast healer." 


"SHE'S ALSO VERY PATIENT,” interjects her husband, Roger. "After watching her do it, I figured that I could do it, too. But I don't have her ability. I'd just force the wire around and get frustrated." 

But, just like Vicki says, the wire always wins. And Vicki has been creating some award-winning designs that the couple takes to nearly 40 craft and art shows each year. 

As soon as the Ferrisses finish running their combine in the fields, they take to the highway with their trusty trailer in tow, visiting shows in a number of Midwest states, including Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Kansas, Michigan and Iowa.


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                   Photo by Joseph Murphy
"SHE CREATES THESE BALLS some 36 inches in diameter, and stacks them together for the snowman," he says. "But they're actually convertible snowmen because you can take the balls apart and then use them as garden den globes in the summer." 
Whatever the month may be, despite the season they're in, the Ferrisses spend a lot of time together...on and off the 135-year- old farm they also run. "We really are together a lot," laughs Roger. "We've been married nearly 22 years and we spend nearly 100 nights on the road together."

He pauses, thinking about the next generation, their son, that may be working on the farm. "That's why we do things like this," he adds and Vicki quickly agrees. "And we love to travel and be around people," she says. "This type of business helps us balance the need to be on the farm, but also allow us to get out around the Midwest as well." 

To learn more about the Ferriss' business Art From the Farm, visit their Web site www.artfromthefarm.com or call 641-484-5036. 


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