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!