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Leo Bethel, since retiring from his full time job three years ago, has discovered that he has quite a talent for 'crafting.' His wife, Renee, who still works full time as a secretary / art teacher at Agape Christian School, and who shares his love of crafting, says that she has always been naturally artistic.

Artist Highlight: A ‘Crafty’ Couple – Star Crafts

Above: Leo and Renée Bethel working in their shop. Their budding business, Star Crafts, will be displaying their work in some upcoming art shows.
Above: Leo and Renée Bethel working in their shop. Their budding business, Star Crafts, will be displaying their work in some upcoming art shows.

Leo Bethel, since retiring from his full time job three years ago, has discovered that he has quite a talent for ‘crafting.’ His wife, Renee, who still works full time as a secretary / art teacher at Agape Christian School, and who shares his love of crafting, says that she has always been naturally artistic.

During his first year of retirement Leo found himself “Doing things I had to do rather than things I wanted to do.” This did not sit well with him and he decided that he wanted a hobby to make his time more profitable. He received some inspiration from craftsman Roddy Pinder of Spanish Wells who got him interested in pen making. Leo purchased a DVD which he watched several times and, through trial and error, he has now succeeded in perfecting the craft.

The first pen he completed took him five hours but now he has whittled the time down to one and a half to two hours. He turns these pens on a lathe and then shapes them using gouges, skews and other tools. Finally he polishes them with special polishes to form lovely works of art.

So far he has been making only pens using acrylic and wood blanks then adding the mechanical parts but he has now also added propelling pencils which he also sells in sets, plus darts sets. What starts out as an acrylic or wood blank is turned into a beautiful writing implement.

The pens are made in a variety of very interesting and beautiful woods such as Olive Wood, Bethlehem, Mahogany, Cocobolo, Zebra Wood, Purple Heart, Redwood and Spaulted Tamarind and also a large selection of very attractive acrylics in all colours and patterns. Both Leo and Renée make these writing implements, sometimes individually but sometimes as a joint effort. “We sell many twist action pens but our most popular model has a bolt action,” says Mr. Bethel.

Renée also turns her hand to a large variety of other crafts which include wood plaques which she illustrates with fish and native parrots either by painting or wood burning, and mosaic plaques and mirrors made with sea glass.

Now that Leo has perfected the craft of his pen and pencil making and has amassed quite a varied collection he is now looking for another fun and exciting way to profitably fill his time. He is now saving all the Coca-Cola cans he can find because in the New Year he plans to begin making non-motorized model airplanes from these Coca-Cola cans.

Both Leo and Renée say how much they enjoy making all of their crafts. So far they have been selling just by word-of-mouth but they are now looking to expand their outlets by entering various craft shows. On November 29 they will be exhibiting in their first show which will be the Hope Town Harbour Lodge Arts and Craft show then on December 21 they will be at Pete’s Pub at Little Harbour for the Cancer Society benefit show and at the end of January at the Bahamas National Trust ‘Art for the Parks’ annual show at the Abaco Beach Resort.

Their enterprise is called Star Crafts and Leo and Renée Bethel can be contacted at telephone 366 2802 or by e-mail at bps39 and holding@yahoo.com or hands off_07@hotmail. com.

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