Hardware creations

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By Walt Reichert

Marty Page is getting back to his roots.

The owner of Simpsonville Hardware for 20 years is spending his winter downtime creating works of art out of pieces of Plexiglas left over from his window-making projects. It may appear a strange combination - artwork sitting beside nuts and bolts, shovels and furnace filters - but the art is a part of Page he left behind years ago.

"Some people said I'm going from hardware to art, but actually it's the other way around," Page said. "Being an artist is what I started out to do."

Page attended the Westport Vocation School for Art intending to follow in his father's footsteps. His dad owned a display business and did window decorations. But Page decided there was not enough room for two in that business so he went to work with his uncle at Belknap Hardware in Louisville. He bought the hardware store in Simpsonville more than 20 years ago.

Usually Page stays busy waiting on customers, fixing lawnmowers, sharpening blades and stacking feed. But the work at the hardware store slows in late fall, and this year Page decided to mix his former avocation with his current job.

Page uses pieces of Plexiglas, up to 9-by-24 inches to create custom art. He takes the raw Plexiglas, etches in a design, colors it and coats it. His creations include cats, hearts, roosters, dragonflies, hummingbirds, horses, sports teams and the famous Purnell's sausage logo.

"I made this for them because they are so good to us," Page said.

Page said customers come to him with an idea or a picture and he does the rest. He sells the work for $15 to $30. They have also made Christmas and Valentines gifts for the family.

"It gives you a little something different to do," Page said. "I could work on a mower for awhile and stop and work on the art. This is something personalized that the big companies can't afford to set up and fool with. Every once in awhile you find yourself a niche."