Post Art Library

Historic Missouri Roadsides by Bill Hart

In his recent title Historic Missouri Roadsides, author Bill Hart takes readers on a journey of Missouri’s two-lane roads and highways. This wonderfully illustrated book is for both the figurative and literal traveler. In addition to beautiful photography, Hart offers facts about each destination, directions, and information about where to eat, stay, visit, and what to do, as well as a few travel tips. Perhaps unique to Hart’s adventure advice is that he does not manage your time, but encourages you “to take your time at every juncture of your trip” so that you may explore and enjoy Missouri’s heritage.  What’s more, all of his listings for food & drink, accommodations, and such are venues that are truly local to the area in which they are found.

The book proper is divided into six tours: Missouri Highway 79 / The River Road; El Camino Real; Route 100 / Gottfried Duden & the Lewis and Clark Trail; Osage Hills and Prairies; Mostly Route 24; and The Platte Purchase. Throughout each tour, Hart expertly covers historic, small-town Missouri. He engages with intriguing histories of towns traveled and captivates with photographic landscapes and streetscapes, ranging from beautiful buildings and homes in current use to structures that have either fallen into serious disrepair or stand vacant.

Although Joplin is not featured in this title, the Osage Hills and Prairies tour winds through Jasper County, beginning in Avilla and passing through Carthage and Jasper before moving on to nearby towns. Carthage’s Boots Motel, a decorative parapet made of “Carthage marble” that crowns a downtown building, and “A Victorian lady of a building” on Maple Street are among the sites photographed in Jasper County. Hart touches on the rich history of Carthage, including the infamous Belle Starr, the lawful Annie Baxter, the Civil War, and more.

Not only is Hart’s Historic Missouri Roadsides an entertainingly educational read for those interested in history and preservation, but its a fantastically fun resource for those who are interested in taking the drive through Missouri’s roadside heritage. To learn more about Missouri author Bill Hart or his recent publication, then visit his website or visit him during his book signing in the Post Art Library, 300 S Main St, Joplin, MO, on Saturday, September 19, 2015, from 4pm-6pm.

Carthage 13 Boots Edited

The photograph above shows the Boots Motel in Carthage, Missouri. It’s but one of numerous buildings depicted in Historic Missouri Roadsides. (Photograph courtesy of the author, Bill Hart.)

About the Author:
Bill Hart grew up in Perry County in southeast Missouri. His interest in small town and roadside Missouri was fostered by his work for the past several years with the Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation (Missouri Preservation), where he currently serves as executive director. He holds a degree in Historic Preservation from Southeast Missouri State University and did his graduate coursework in Architectural History at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. Bill is particularly interested in vanishing Missouri building types, including roadside and countryside. He was one of the founders of the Missouri Barn Alliance and Rural Network (Mo BARN), advocating for documentation and preservation of Missouri’s historic farmsteads.

The Quirky Worker

This month’s exhibit in the Post Art Library features quilled art and watercolors by one Laura Horn. When I approached Laura about an interview, I asked her if she had a title or name for her exhibit: “Howard,” she said. …This self-proclaimed quirky worker was kind enough to share her time with me by answering the following questions.

(Jill’s comments/questions are in bold;
whereas Laura’s are not.)

Tell me about what inspires your art. This exhibit is comprised of watercolors and quilled pieces. I know that you also work with polymer clay, resin, fabric, yarn and other materials. When you’re of a mind to make a piece, how do you choose what to work with? Or do you choose a medium and see where it takes you?
It varies. Sometimes I get new supplies and just want to play and create with them. Sometimes I have a particular image that comes into my mind and I want to create it in a certain way. For example, I recently bought some new molds and now I am anxious to make something out of polymer clay that I think will be quite pretty. On the other hand, I went, the other day, to Firehouse Pottery because I wanted paint and I had a specific image in mind that I wanted to put onto a piece. I guess it is kind of circular whether the idea leads to the material or the material leads to the idea.

In your artist bio (for the exhibit), you wrote that your wish is for everyone to see the importance of art. This leads me to believe that perhaps you think art lacks importance in our culture. Outside of creating art, do you have any suggestions for how this could be remedied?
I don’t necessarily think art lacks importance in the culture…more that it lacks personal accessibility. People think of art and too many think only of famous artists long dead and gone rather than their own selves. Too many think of art as something only Artists (with a capital A) do. Too many say, “I wish I could…”
I think we need to continue to make art accessible and to make it clear that everyone can create in some way. Art needs to not just be a distant museum (though, don’t get me wrong, I love museums), but also something held by each and every person.
As a society, perhaps getting away from the grade school art class mentality: “You did this right, You did this wrong.” Or “I used to like playing with clay/colouring with crayons/using sidewalk chalk…” and now you think you’re too old to do so.

Why is art important to you? 
To me personally? I am compelled to create things. Big things. Little things. Whatever they are made out of, whatever they look like… I just like to take pieces and turn them into something new.

Does your perspective change, depending on whether you are the creator or the patron? If so, how?
I suppose I can’t help but look at my own stuff differently because when I see my own art, I see the time and the thoughts behind it. When I see someone else’s, I don’t know what they made. I only know what I see. Does that make sense? The art I see and the art you see are not the same thing.

How much time do you think you put into all of the quilling that’s included in this exhibit?
I can’t even begin to calculate the number of hours that I put into the quilling part of the exhibit. Hundreds, would be my guess. For example, if I have all of my supplies laid out and am uninterrupted while working (a rare thing indeed), it takes an hour or two to make a snowflake, depending on the complexity.

Do you have a favorite among the pieces that are included in the exhibit?
It seems that most people are drawn to the quilling portion of the exhibit. My favourite of those is “Be the Change” because that was a design that completely took shape in my own head. To me, anyone who wanted to put in the time could do quilling and, for those pieces that followed a pattern, could create a piece that was essentially the same to the eye.
So, my favourites are the paintings. It is a style I enjoy and find pleasing to look at. I would say “Chaos Theory” is my favourite. “We Are Family” is also special because those are the hands of the five people in my immediate family.

Do you have a favorite medium to work with?
My favourite is whatever one I am working with at the time. It will probably be a while before I do quilling again. *smile* I have been making quite a bit of soap and also doing a fair amount of knitting. As I mentioned earlier, I am thinking it might be time to pull out the polymer clay, but I also want to sew some new clothes for Spring.

Do you have a favorite style of art or a favorite artist?
I thought about this one for a while, and I really don’t. I know, when I look at something, whether I like it or not. Whether it is a painting, a sculpture, a garden, a building, a finely crafted meal or a tattoo. Whether it has a modern feel, Renaissance or ancient… There is just so much that, in my mind, qualifies as art that I can’t really peg any one thing as a favourite.
I also recognize the difference between liking a particular piece and appreciating the skill of it.

Have you any advice for aspiring artists?
Find your passion and don’t be afraid to go for it. Create in a way that is meaningful and enjoyable to you.

Final question: You’ve homeschooled/are homeschooling three children who are now in their teens; how did/do you find time for creativity?!
You find time for the things that are important to you and prioritize.
(My house is a mess!)

Quilled Art and Watercolors (or “Howard”) by Laura Horn is on display at the Post Art Library through March 2015–be sure to stop by and say Hi! To read more about The Quirky Worker, visit