Aunt Mattie's Daughter
China is canvas in Olya Hull's classroom 29 By BILL HUMMELL McPHERSON - The way Olya Hull of McPherson sees it, painting on china is just like drawing on any other material. Mrs. Hull, a silver-haired artist who has been painting with oils and acrylics since she was a teenager, was prompted prompted about five years ago into teaching the art of painting on china in her home. She started with seven students. Five of those students are still with her, among 25 others who now attend the seven class sessions she holds Tuesday Tuesday through Friday. Her students include include not only McPherson residents, but also persons from Salina, Hesston and Newton. Full-time job "This has turned from a hobby into a real full-time job," Mrs. Hull said recently. recently. "Each class session lasts three hours, and I like to have no more than four or five students in each class, so I can provide more attention to each student. student. "It is a lot of work, but I really love it. It's so rewarding to see how proud - \ - .; -.: .•.--:• f^'y^-f: Centrd : 1S! Northw people are when they finish a piece, and some of them sell some of their work." China painting, quite simply, is the art of drawing designs on pieces of blank china, then firing the finished piece in a kiln as many times as necessary necessary to harden the design permanently. The variety of what can be painted and what can be painted upon is what holds Mrs. Hull's fascination to this particular particular art form, however. "So many people think it is just putting putting a design on a dish or a saucer," she said. "But you can paint portraits on china tiles and then frame them, or paint china jewelry or vases or lamps or just about anything that can be made out of china. "You just use a different canvas. Here, china is your canvas." An artist and art student for years, Mrs. Hull discovered the world of china painting only about 10 years ago. Now, her home is now filled with beautiful samples of her work, including a china plates and cups which were recently used for lunch. Patience and determination "Some training with other artwork is helpful," Mrs. Hull said. "But patience and determination are the most important important factors in china painting. That and a steady hand." Mrs. Hull, who retired some years ago from the insurance business, purchases purchases blank china pieces imported from Japan, Germany or France. The designs are applied with a special china paint which fuses into the porcelain. "The paint actually becomes a part of the china," Mrs. Hull explained. "If it didn't, if it just sat on top, it would chip off." After the design has been completed to the artist's liking, the piece is fired in a kiln. It may be fired five,.six or ten times, depending on the size of the item. Mrs. Hull has her own kiln which she uses to fire her own and her students' students' works. Despite the intricacy of china painting, painting, changes in design or corrections of mistakes are probably easier to make than in many other art forms. "You can do anything to it until it is fired," Mrs. Hull said. "You just wipe the sketch off and start all over again." More than a craft Naturally, Mrs. Hull is quite proud of the work she and her students do. "There is some problem with some people who regard china painting as a craft," she said. "It is not a craft. It is a true art. Many of the old masters painted on china in addition to painting on canvass. "I went to an international convention convention in Dallas last July, and one vase sold for $1,500. It has to be something something more than a craft to get a price like that fora vase." Mrs. Hull has had her works on display display a number of times, most recently in a McPherson bank. One of her pieces is also included in a -display her students students currently have up at the Salina Public Library. "Some of my students were going to put some of their works up there and they wanted to include one of mine," she said. "When I have my own displays, displays, I usually put 10 or 15 pieces out. I use some variety in the pieces exhibited. exhibited. I like to show some portrait work, some pieces which have been enameled and some dusting." She does not, however, sell many of her pieces, though she has done some custom painting. "I don't have time to sell many," she said. "The classes have turned into a full-time job and I like to go to a lot of shows." There is one aspect of china painting which might be seen as somewhat of a disadvantage, however, Mrs. Hull said. "It can get expensive," she-said. "But it is a lot more fun than insurance." insurance." Home display Just a few of Mrs. Hull's crea- shelves in her workroom, tions are displayed on these Portrait painter The variety of china materials which can be painted upon is limited limited only by the artist's imagina- tion. Here, Mrs. Hull poses with one of her china portraits. Hahns lock doors on New Cambria market By BILL HUMMELL NEW CAMBRIA — Another chapter chapter has closed in the demise of the small, neighborhood store. It happened happened Saturday, Oct. 7, when Bud and Julia Hahn closed their food market in New Cambria after 25 years in business. The little store, once the backbone of many neighborhoods, is a rarity these days. Money is tight, inflation is wreaking wreaking havoc with shoppers' budgets and the big chain stores can usually offer goods a bit more cheaply. "Business has not been too good the last few years," Hahn said somewhat sadly. "Most of the folks go to the stores in Salina now. The little store just can't meet the competition of the lower prices in the larger stores." "The last few years, we haven't even been able to buy wholesale," Mrs. Hahn added. "We used to buy wholesale wholesale from Fleming Foods in Salina, but then they moved to Topeka. After that, we had to buy our goods from a market in Salina and pay the same as everybody everybody else. I don't blame people for going somewhere else to buy when they could save some money." It hasn't always been so, however. Business was good when the Hahns sold their farm north of New Cambria and bought the store. "We bought the store in 1953," Mrs. Hahn said, "and we haven't been closed many days since. We were open from 8, a.m. to 8 p.m. before the tornado in 1973." That tornado greatly damaged the Hahn market, so much so that they con- Hahn's Food Market Now closed a n H +o a r h O r Mild red Kennedy is one of the stu- when she f irs t began offering ClIIU I COl~ 11CI dents who started with Mrs Hull china painting classes five years ago. (Journal Photos by Bill Hummell) Hummell) Julia and Bud Hahn stand outside outside the food market they operated operated in New Cambria for 25 sidered not reopening. But, after a little encouragement from their customers, customers, they did reopen the market about five weeks later. "We thought about keeping it closed," Mrs. Hahn said. "But we didn't know what else we would do." Despite the loyalty of their customers, customers, many of whom continued to purchase purchase nearly all of their goods from the Hahns, it was inevitable that the store would have to close some day. Time to retire "It was getting hard to keep the store open," Mrs. Hahn said. "Bud is 80 and I'm 74 and it was just getting too hard to keep it all up." And when some of the old equipment in the store started to give out, Bud took it as a sign to retire. "The deep freeze quit and the meat case was just about ready to," he said. "So we thought we'd just quit along with them. It wouldn't pay for us to buy a new deep freeze and they would charge too much to work on the old one. "It's better to quit while you are able, than to be hauled off." Bud and Julia Hahn have seen a lot of changes in the 25 years they have been operating their market. They used to sell two loaves of bread for a quarter. A half-gallon of milk would sell for about 39 cents. Miss it already Still, quitting a business they've operated operated for so many years is not easy for the Hahns. "I miss it already," Mrs. Hahn said. "I miss seeing the people all of the time. Some of these families have been trading here all through the years." "I think I am going to miss it more than she will," Hahn said. "I was in the years. They closed the store just over one week ago. (Journal (Journal Photo) store almost all of the time six days a week. "Mostly, I am going to miss the little kids who used to come in all the time. Some of them still come by and ask, 'Do you have any candy,' or 'Do you have any pop?' "I think the kids hated it the worst when we closed. But it was getting hard for me to understand them. I'm hard of hearing and some of them don't speak up too well." The Hahns do seem to be looking forward forward to having a little more time to themselves now, though. Will keep busy "We'll keep busy at something," Hahn said. "We can't just sit down. And now we'll be able to choose what we want to do." One of the luxuries of retirement will probably be the ability to enjoy mealtime mealtime more fully. "It seems we hardly ever got to eat a complete meal at noon or dinner," Mrs. Hahn said. "Every time we got started eating, the bell at the front door would ring and we'd have to get up to wait on someone. It never failed." "Dinner time was when most people realized they needed something," Hahn explained. The Hahns had chances to sell their market rather than close it, but they chose to keep the building, which also includes their home. "We didn't want to move," Mrs. Hahn said. "And we didn't have anyplace anyplace else to go. This community has been home to both of us all our lives." Some of the Hahns' old customers are planning a party in honor of their retirement and the closing of the store. A basket dinner has been planned for 1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 29, at the grade school.