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Lincolnton couple pursues passion for art

Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News / Artist Ginger Weathers shows example of paper she made at Floodlight Art Studio on Startown Road.

JENNA-LEY HARRISON
Staff Writer

Lincolnton couple Jonathan and Ginger Weathers each have their own creative talents and business ventures and look forward to showcasing their crafty creations with the community at one of the many booths that will be on display Saturday at Lincoln County’s 41st Apple Festival.
Not only are both individuals artists — Jonathan laboring in the carpentry field and Ginger constructing unique jewelry pieces, paintings and custom frames — but they are also environmentally friendly, recycling materials for all their innovative projects, whether it be wood scraps for his creations or pieces of plastic utensils and Christmas lights for her fashionable designs.
The Weathers have also been flipping houses for at least two decades, living in Crouse prior to settling three years ago into their sixth home, located on Startown Road.
Ginger blamed herself for the frequent moves, stating she gets bored easily after staying in the same place too long, looking always for something to remodel or paint.
The couple is currently re-doing the home’s siding and has completed multiple projects both inside and outside the Lincolnton residence.
Jonathon not only worked to build a wooden deck around the back and side of the house but also manufactured cabinets for his wife’s work room in addition to wine cabinets and a closet organizing system for his 12-year-old son’s room, he said.
Even with working three jobs, including a full-time position with Walker Woodworking in Shelby and part-time first-responder duties with Cleveland County Emergency Medical Services, Jonathan still finds time to work his most “relaxing” job, which is located inside his garage, he said.
“It’s just amazing how you can take wood and shape it and all of a sudden, a piece comes alive,” he said. “Each piece has its own personality. You may have plans for it to be one thing but then it changes.”
Known as Carpenter’s Heart Woodworking, the Weathers named the business together while on a trip to Asheville. Stopped at a red light, trying to come up with a creative, catchy title, the couple reached a conclusion simultaneously after spotting a sign for an area youth group with a similar title.
“It’s like the light bulbs went off at the same time,” Ginger said.
Jonathan noted how owning his own business has been a dream of his for some time, even though carpentry wasn’t always a skill.
He said he was forced to learn the trade after acquiring a job making custom garage doors.
“I didn’t think I had the gene,” he said, noting how his father was also a carpenter. “I learned out of necessity.”
Now Jonathan spends between 12 and 14 hours perfecting one large project at a time — using wood types such as hickory, cedar, cherry and maple. He prices most of his larger pieces between $400 and $800, he said.
While he usually starts a project in his home workshop, he typically finishes it at his office in Shelby where he has more room.
One of his most prized projects is the “hope chest” he built for his daughter, now 18, for her 15th birthday.
More common during colonial times, hope chests were given to young unmarried girls for collecting items and other valuables from local married women for a future wedding and life as a wife.
After building additional chests for his sister, niece and church, Jonathan decided it was time to start a business and get paid for his work.
He currently has one of his wine cabinets on display at Gallery 27 in Lincolnton.
His smaller pieces include cutting boards and bread boards.
Inside the Weathers’ home is an entirely different world of art, where Ginger operates FloodLight Art Studio Gallery and Gift Shop.
While Ginger has been dreaming of opening up her very own place to showcase and sell her work since graduating with a certificate in commercial art from Gaston College 20 years ago, she put her dream on hold to have children.
In February, she completed her studio, where she primarily produces paper, acrylic and watercolor paintings, and various pieces of jewelry.
Ginger combines materials like aluminum soda cans, clothing tags, buttons, rocks, seashells and the ever-popular “red solo cup” to make her projects.
She said she gathered leaves from her yard last fall and pieces of old magazines to manufacture her own paper.
“I don’t just see (something) for what it is,” Ginger said.
She stores most of the items she collects for projects inside a large area in her home she calls her “junk room.”
The Lincolnton High School graduate also constructs picture frames with custom matting, and would like to see how much money the particular niche draws in aside from her other artwork before potentially opening up a studio gallery outside her home.
“I want to make sure I can support myself on just that,” she said, noting jewelry and painting sales alone may not be a significant source of income.
Ginger’s most priced piece — one she can’t bring herself to sell — is a picture of Jesus’s face that she painted using acrylics and a color-wash technique.
Entitled “Not My Will,” the free-handed work portrays Christianity’s Savior in a moment of agony looking up to Heaven with a crown of thorns on His head.
Ginger struggled with the idea at first, noting how faces aren’t her strong point. She also did the work across three days of intense physical pain, having recently been diagnosed with trigeminal neuralgia, a nerve disorder affecting the face.
Prior to a correct diagnosis this past year, she endured five years of misdiagnoses, she said.
The experience painting the particular subject matter while in pain herself served as a spiritual reminder and revelation for Ginger.
“While I was going through the pain, He (Jesus) revealed He suffered more than me,” she said.
She had a man contact her about purchasing the work, but after careful thought and prayer — asking the Lord to show her what to do — the man never contacted her again, giving her the answer she was looking for, she said.
The faith-filled piece has also inspired her to do additional paintings of faces, including a current series she is designing of a man. Two of the pieces are named “Broken” and “Repentance.”
“I try to put a message behind all my paintings,” Ginger said.
She also has some of her artwork on display at the newly-opened Gallery 27.
For a time, the couple felt discouraged with their artistic efforts, watching doors to different opportunities close, but in recent weeks, they have celebrated a more fruitful period.
“The Lord’s been good to us,” Jonathan said.
Ginger couldn’t agree more.
“It’s amazing how He’s doing things right now,” she said. “Doors are opening left and right.”
For more information on FloodLight Art Studio, located at 2196 Startown Road, visit the business on Facebook or call (704) 685-2161 or (704) 240-9691.
For more information on Carpenter’s Heart Woodworking, call (704) 860-6597.

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