Jane and Ernie Turner show crafts and treats they make that will be sold at Saturday’s Community Christmas Bazaar. The Pilot/Jane Stebbins
Jane Turner doesn’t think of herself as an artist.
Yet she mills natural, aromatic glycerine soaps, paints zany fish sculptures and mobiles, makes creamy truffles and sweet candies and a hearty granola. And don’t forget the pickled quail eggs that are so popular, the 40 birds she and her husband raise can’t keep up with demand.
“I don’t feel like I’m artistic,” she said. “To me, I don’t even feel it’s art. It’s not even crafty. I guess I make … ideas.”
She’s been making organic, scented soaps for 17 years – lemon grass, ginger, lavender, patchouli – but it wasn’t until she met her husband, Ernie, that either started transforming their ideas into art.
“First it was soap – a good, clean hobby,” she said. “Then we got the machine that makes signs. Then we started candy. Last year I started making fudge and did real well, and so I tried truffles. And we raise quail, and what to do with all those eggs? I just kept going.”
For four years, they’ve been showcasing their work at the Farmer’s Market at the Port of Brookings Harbor and in a few shops around town.
The couple will be one of 100 other crafters selling their wares at the annual Holiday Christmas Bazaar, which runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Azalea Middle School Saturday.
Ernie makes contoured cedar chairs and whimsical signs that read, “All because two people fell in love,” “Eat like a king and drink like the village idiot,” or “Grandkids: God’s reward for not killing your kids,” among others.
“I always wanted to make signs that say something,” Jane said. “You can bring a bit of personality into your home. And it kept growing.”
Her favorite, hanging in their home on the North Bank of the Chetco River, is, “It’s good to be home.” She also likes “I love you more,” after a young boy purchased one bearing that saying from her.
“I asked him if he was getting that for his girlfriend,” Jane said, “and he said, ‘No, I’m getting it for my mom.’ That just melted me.”
Jane uses wood left over from Ernie’s chair and sign crafting and shapes it into fish, onto which she paints colorful polka dots, wavy lines, or maybe affixes a pearl for an eye.
“You get the chop saw and cut it off, then the router and shape it, then the sander and sand it, and paint,” Jane said. “It’s like Mary Engelbreit on drugs.”
She’d prefer to be in the woodshop than the kitchen – Ernie even made her her own bench.
And the quail. They pickle the little brown-and-white spotted eggs and sell them to sushi restaurants. It takes almost two dozen eggs to make a quart; recently, a Klamath Falls man drove to Brookings to pick up 20 quarts.
Although new on the “idea” scene, Jane never had a doubt she could make a go of it.
“It’s a challenge,” she said. “You’re always learning, seeing if you can do something. I always told my kids if you want to do something, you can do it.”
The two have succeeded, as well.
“Everything we do has been challenging,” Ernie said. “You wonder if it’ll sell and it does and it turns into a job.”
Last year, she thought she’d get a break after the Christmas holidays.
Until someone called with a request for a custom sign.
“I was making signs all winter,” Jane said with a laugh.
There are things she has no interest in pursuing – namely jewelry, because, she said, that requires an artistic talent, which she claims to not have.
“I’d love to take a pottery class,” she said, smiling. “I’d like to make great big planters.”
Or learn to blow glass.
But Tuesday, it was off to the store – a lemon, almonds, seeds.
“You’ve got until Friday,” Ernie said, “so get busy.”