Before Kathy Allen agreed to marry Bob Weldon, she had a catch: he had to move to Maine.
Weldon, who had lived in Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., and North Carolina, among other places, agreed.
“She’s pretty much taught me everything,” says Bob, whose occupations have ranged from accounting to running printing presses. Kathy’s tutelage has included creating the brightly colored folk art that she and her late father originally designed and made at Creeping Thyme Farm in North Brooklin.
For years, Bob has peddled the one-of-a-kind whimsical pieces at the Blue Hill and Southwest Harbor farmers markets.
Kathy and her parents, George and Georgene Allen, began making the miniature animals and other figures with his many boat-building tools. George Allen had worked as a shipwright for the schooner Victory Chimes. When the boat was at sea, George used his downtime to make wooden toys, decorative art, ornaments and other objects that he and Georgene sold.
“Daddy designed all the arks, barns, henhouses and animals,” Kathy, an elementary school teacher and former art teacher, recalled in a 2009 Ellsworth American story. “He would bring me a board and say, ‘Draw me a chicken.’ It started with those and the Christmas things.”
Now, it’s just Bob and Kathy making the pieces. Their process entails cutting down a tree every decade or so on their 63-acre tree farm.
“When I sit down to make a piece, I don’t know what it’s going to be” Bob says. “And that’s probably my favorite part about it. Keeping the folk tradition alive is nice.”
Bob jokingly calls himself “the true folk artist” because, unlike his wife, he has had no formal training.