Stools to Drool Over

Hilda Tellman uses her
artistic touch to create colorful stools

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CAMPBELLSBURG, Ky. – (October 2002) Business picks up about this time of the year for artist Hilda Tellman. She is in high demand for her innovative step stools.
Using pinewood she acquires from the local lumberyard, Tellman and her husband, Mike, craft an item children and parents can treasure for years to come.
A self-taught painter, Tellman used to sell her work through a store in Louisville’s Oxmoor Mall. The store closed several years ago, but Tellman continued to craft stools, improving them since first coming up with the idea.

Hilda Tellman

Henry Co.'s Hilda Tellman

Onto her stools she paints a variety of themes pertaining to children’s interests, such as Walt Disney characters, trains, balloons and sports motifs. She personalizes each with the child’s name and an art design that describes the child’s personality.
She also crafts wall plaques, coat hangers and benches for older children and adults to use. The stools are 7 inches tall and the benches are 12 inches tall and are perfect for children to sit on while getting dressed or putting on their shoes.
For inspiration, Tellman reflects about what children like and what they are attracted to on TV. Boys may prefer a John Deere tractor on their stool, while girls are more partial to a Raggedy Ann doll.
She said grandparents are some of her biggest customers. She designs a lot of stools and benches for grandparents, gracing her artwork with the grandchildren’s names.
Tellman, who moved to Henry County, Ky., three years ago from Louisville, said her love for art began in first grade. She said that others took notice of her talent and whenever an art contest was being sponsored, “the other kids would have me do the artwork for them. I did it for my own kids, too.”
She has created personal artwork for Valley High School in Louisville by producing sports layouts of departing seniors who were members of the basketball or baseball teams.
She said she was approached at an art show by a Valley High School student’s parent who had noticed her UK and UL sports artwork. The parent asked if she would consider creating artwork focusing on the school’s sports teams. Once coaches found out about her talent, they, too, asked her to create sports layouts for the students.
Tellman no longer participates in as many local art shows as she once did but rather focuses on crafting her stools and benches and selling them wholesale through specialty stores in Maryland and North Carolina. They can also be found in the Shelby County Flea Market.
Two of the few shows she will have a booth set up at are Glendale Crossing Day on Oct. 19 in Glendale, Ky., and at the Louisville Christmas Show II on Nov. 9-10. This latter show will be held at Slugger Field, where organizer Georgie Kelly of Madison, Ind., said she has 13,000 square feet to offer crafters. Kelly is the paid organizer of the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art.
Kelly has worked with Tellman in the past and said of her work, “Her products for children are colorful and really popular.”

• Tellman takes special orders on request. To contact her for further information, call or fax her at (502) 947-9114.

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