Hocking Hills Artists Featured In “Men At Work” Exhibit

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The Bowen House will welcome a new exhibit on Saturday, Sept. 6. The Men at Work event is a follow-up to the Women at Work exhibit that was displayed at The Bowen House in May.

“It was very well received in the community,” said event coordinator Dani Bell. “It was the same concept, just showcasing local artisans only for women, and so we wanted to duplicate that and give the same opportunity for the men, and just get their work recognized.”

Many of the artists are members of the Hocking Hills Artists and Craftsmen Association, and that is one way they were chosen.

Nick Delmatto, one of the artists whose work will be on display, assisted Bell in contacting artists to participate in the show.

Delmatto, a native of Akron, assisted teaching about glass for Henry Halem at his alma mater, Kent State University, and was the director of the glassblowing program at Cedar Point. He also taught Hot Glass for Hocking College’s American Crafts program from 2007 to 2011.

According to the artist’s biography, his current vases “are inspired by the dance of nature, from the human figure to vegetation reaching for the sky.”

Nick Delmatto's vases will be on display (photo: Bowen House)

“It means a lot,” replied Gene Morgan when asked how he felt about being invited to participate. “It gives me a chance to display my knives, where normally I wouldn’t really be involved in that.”

Morgan’s chosen medium is custom knives, which he began making 25 years ago after purchasing a unique knife that he found in Arizona.

“I had it for several years, then one day I got to thinking, maybe I could make something like that,” Morgan recalled. Though he did not have a forge, he found a company that manufactured blades. Through trial and error, he honed his craft until he could produce beautiful, unique handles for them, working out of his garage.

“It’s just a little area. I just use little buffers and grinders and stuff like that, “Morgan said. “It’s nothing major, all little simple tools I use.”

Though the demand from the area is mostly for antler handles, Morgan also enjoys working with wood, and donates a custom piece every year to the Hocking Twigs’ auction to raise money for the local hospital.

Handmade knives by Gene Morgan (photo: Bowen House)

Another artist to appear in the exhibit is Bill McComb. McComb did not begin carving until he was in his 30s under teacher Spirit Williams, where he learned relief carving. He also studied under Bob Palmer, of Westerville.

In 1997, McComb began studying under Ora Anderson, with whom he remained close until Anderson’s death.

McComb, who creates carvings of birds, has participated in many such shows.

“I’m glad to have everybody exposed to it,” said McComb, who will be displaying seven birds this exhibit. “A lot of people already have been, but I’m sure there will be some new people coming through.”

McComb is inspired by his love of birds, which he states is one of his favorite things in life.

“It’ll be a good show,” McComb said. “We had this show several years ago, and I had birds there then, and I got good responses from people seeing them.”

Some of the items that will be on display will be for sale, and many artists are amenable to custom orders. In addition to Sept. 6 being opening night, patrons who choose to visit that evening will have the unique experience of getting to meet most of the artists, many of whom will be at The Bowen House from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

For more information, visit The Bowen House’s website at