If you knew Richard Vanderpool, Jr., ...you would know he loves making whirligigs to be enjoyed by all. It's so nice to see his passion for them and helped to inspire a trip we ended up taking last year to his hometown of Wilson, NC. He also helped us become more aware about these fun pieces of art for yards, museums and more.
We were able to take a trip with him in January 2017 along with some other family members, including my children. We went to Vollis Simpson's Whirligig Park, although when we were there we saw only the warehouse, sort of where the magic was happening in restoring these contraptions and learned all about the story through various newspaper clippings on a bulletin board and fell in love with saving the town and the art all at once to help revitalize the town! Very inspiring to see this in Wilson, NC!
I hope to go back one day soon with the family to see the Park as it's there now. We got to the see the plan...now to go back and see those ideas brought to life. There's an annual Whirligig Festival the first weekend in November, learn more here: WHIRLIGIG FESTIVAL. If you are interested in learning more about the Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park, here's some quick access links:
I don't know how many of you reading this are from North Carolina, but if you are, I wonder if you knew that the official North Carolina State Folk Art are "whirligigs"? Thought it was quite fitting that this is in North Carolina.
North Carolina State Folk Art
We aren't sure of the origin of the whirligig, but think it may have come from either farmers and/or sailors because they both regularly use weathervanes. They aren't just yard decor, but also can be very useful and and are known by many names.
"They can be designed to transmit sound and/or vibration to repel burrowing rodents to keep them away from your house, garden, flowers, etc. There are also different ways they can be powered including by hand, friction or motor powered. Whirligigs are also known as pinwheels, buzzers, comic weathervanes, gee-haws, spinners, whirlygigs, whirlijigs, whirlyjigs, whirlybirds or plain whirly."
I think these are pretty great...and these are just a few. Grandpa Vanderpool has made a bird whirligig for our daughter to paint and when she finishes, hope to have it in the front yard.
I had seen them many times, but until I heard about them from someone with a passion for them, I just didn't know much about them. We have grown to appreciate these works of art because of Grandpa and his passion and love for making "whirligigs"! Ever since our trip to Wilson, NC we notice them everywhere: in yards, museums, movies, even in shops.
Have you heard of "whirligigs" before this article, or seen them and just didn't know quite what they were called? Let me know in the comments below. If you've been to the park or have some whirligigs, share a picture, would love to see them!
Our family has really fallen in love with whirligigs and it's all because of their grandfather, Richard Walter Vanderpool, Jr. He loves making them and recently made one for my daugthter of a bird that she can paint herself. What's neat is when we inspire each other like this, how much we naturally learn. It's such an amazing way of feeling connected when you create something that's yours and then getting to share it with others when you see that it inspires them. I'm so glad Papa has shared these passions with us...he's even let us "peeked" at his workshop where the magic happens. He has them lined all up and down their porch and fence in their yard and I just love how much we all love them. They are so fun. It really is the small things that mean so much in life and it's because you can see the thought and passion in them. Thank you Papa for sharing your heart with us through these fun whirligigs.
He loves making these and sharing them and in January 2017, about a year ago, we even had three generations of family go to the Whirligig Conservation Headquarters where they are restoring these whirligigs in Wilson, NC and it was neat because they had the story of how it came to be on a bulletin board of all the bits and pieces that let you know how the process has led to this next step of a park and all that has happened during the process of how it all comes together. All because of a man who loved making whirligigs. It's a very unique form of art that is just fun and enjoyable for so many. Looking forward to going back again sometime and maybe the museum will be ready. For someone who enjoys architecture, I loved how they had a drawn out plan of what it will look like, which part of it will be like a park with central focal points of various whirligigs to enjoy. The Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park is open now and hope to make it out there soon. When we went, we visited the warehouse where we were able to see people restoring these whirligigs and kind of the behind the scences which was really neat to learn about. Here's a few pictures I took the day we visited.
This trip really was a neat experience for all ages..the young and the old and we all had a good time. Please consider sharing this if you enjoyed it. I also learned a few cool things by wanting to research how "whirligigs" first came about but we aren't really sure, only theories. If you want to read more about the history of whirligigs, check out the Wikipedia on Whirligig.