Ellie Alexander’s H20 Acres Country Store has an online presence, but many of her creations can be found at the Dusted Attic in the West Bottoms of Kansas City.
There are six scary orange creations right now. These jack-o-lanterns average 12 to 18 inches wide and a couple of them with stem, are two feet tall. The unique materials of Alexander’s creativity are recycled Courier-Tribune newspapers.
“Being part of the crafters (in the Dusted Attic) is all about recycling and repurposing materials,” Alexander, a Liberty resident, said. “These may have qualities one thinks of with papier mache, but I can promise it’s more than that.”
To create her Halloween-themed handiwork, Alexander took one-inch strips of newspaper, ripped them in sections and then added 15 to 20 layers of paper. Then, with a touch of magic, she managed the shape.
“It was funny because as my husband and I added the layers, you could read the old story. We talked about what we were reading as we worked even if the story was older. It brought up memories,” she said. “Without the newspapers, my little project would be nowhere.
“It all worked well that I could gather up the old papers and give them a second life.”
Deserea Minor, owner of Dusted Attic, is a fan of Alexander’s.
“We share ideas and enjoy seeing what the team brings in,” she said. “While Ellie rents a space, it’s more than that. I enjoy seeing what the folks make and I think these are phenomenal.”
Alexander said while the magic worked, there was also lots of trial and error to create the spooky décor items, which are also painted with an outdoor exterior paint to make them weather resistant. The jack-o-lanterns have about 15 to 20 hours put into them.
To create texture, the crafter soaked the paper and made a paper clay-paste.
“I wanted these guys spooky,” she said. “I wanted texture and bumps. It’s Halloween. I wanted scary and hideous.”
While the jack-o-lanterns were a trial, Alexander said she kept copious notes and knows that she can continue the craft work into future holidays.
“I’m planning on some snowmen that are rustic and lovely with top hats,” she said. “I plan to make the carrot noses out of the newspapers, too. I want to stay ahead of the curve and do something different. Little did I know that it would involve newspapers.”