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The Art of Charity:

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The Wind Beneath the Craft

By Jennie Chevalier

It’s hard to go to a Morgan County community yard sale or flea market without meeting the man who crafts wind soda pop bottle spinners.

Oscar England began making his wind bottle spinners about five years ago out of pop bottles and since has expanded his design, patterns and more. England does not make these wind spinners for profit, but to help his local community members.

“I find someone who needs the money and I give it to them,” England said of the money he makes from the craft. “It blesses me to get to do it and help somebody.”

England began making them during a cold winter while he was sitting in the recliner and was thinking of something he could do to keep him busy.

Growing up England was used to getting up with the sun for a full day of chores and school and then going to bed at sundown. Because he was not used to being idle, he wanted to find something to occupy his time and that is how the wind bottle spinners began.

England started by drawing out the pattern he was thinking of with a felt pen and then made a pattern he could apply to the bottle. He originally used a sheet rock knife and did it all completely by hand. Since then with as many as he makes his friend J.R. Matheson machined a solid pattern sleeve he can slide the bottle into that fits precisely and he then utilizes an electric heated cutting tool to cut out the shapes. Even with all the newer templates and tools, each wind bottle spinner takes three hours on average to make with all of England’s personal touches and attention to detail.

For supplies, England utilizes pop bottles, typically the two liter ones, Ensure bottles, tobacco or dip cans, pop lids and a variety of pipe cleaners. Each one is different and unique. Local community members, friends and family help collect these items and take them to England so he can continue his art. England estimates he made at least 180 of his wind bottle spinners last winter.

England has even tried a variety of other styles and spinners, too. He has some wind spinners made solely of tobacco or chew cans and even spray paints some of the larger two liter bottles for individual spinners. England said the painted wind spinners in red have been helpful in even warding off pests and insects on the porch of his home.

England is surprised by the response he has received and how much the community is interested is his wind bottle spinners.

“I even have some in Florida, Ohio and Georgia,” England said. “I try to only sell them for about two or three dollars. I don’t sell them for myself, but to help someone who might be in need.”

England has even given out his wind bottle spinners to local church youth groups and children on several occasions. Some parents have reached out to get more of his wind bottle spinners, he said. England said he has received phone calls from people wanting his pattern or template to try and recreate his work, a secret he keeps just to himself for now.

England’s family is supportive of his art and help by bringing him supplies.

This is not the first craft project England has taken on to build. His yard is filled with bird feeders, gourd houses and Martin houses he personally has constructed and made. England hopes to get back into some of those building projects along with a new style bird feeder he has fashioned out of a five-gallon water jug. England is always thinking of new and creative ways to recycle and utilize a variety of items.

England is a Morgan County native. He has been married to his wife Eva for 56 years. Together they have three children; however, their oldest son Michael passed away about a year ago today. Oscar and Eva England also have 13 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. England was a preacher at a Fentress County church for 12 years and continues to participate in local church revivals and special services when asked. He also worked at the famous Brushy Mountain Prison in Petros.

England said he truly appreciates the community supporting him the way they have in order for him to be able to pay it forward.