«Previous    Next»
Artist Works With Walnut Shells, Peach Pits
Albert Tanko recalls the day in the mid-1980’s when his wife took him to visit her grandmother in Wisconsin and he was mesmerized by a cross hanging on the kitchen wall made from walnut shells. “From that moment on, I was ‘hooked’ on the idea of transforming nuts into works of art,” he says.
    About 5 years ago, when Tanko was laid off from his job, he informed his wife one morning that he wasn’t planning to return to the workforce. He decided he would become a fulltime artist, creating “high-end art” items from walnuts and the pits from apricots, peaches, plums and cherries, along with horse chestnuts, pine cones and hickory nuts. “My wife said I was crazy, that I needed a job to pay the mortgage and other household expenses,” says Tanko.
    “One weekend I showed my art at a local art fair and made $200, and that convinced me that I could make a living from my art if I just kept at it.” Since then his Creative Nutworks business has grown steadily thanks to his fascination with the beauty of the most basic and simple of nature’s offerings - seeds, nuts and color.
    Tanko’s creations include sun catchers, crosses, wreaths, bowls, animals and a host of other objects that can be hung on walls or displayed on shelves. Most pieces are priced at between $35 and $200, he says.
    “Nuts and pits from fruit are some of the most-overlooked things in nature,” Tanko says, “but they can become grand in the artist’s hand.”
    Most of Tanko’s creations are purchased by people attending art shows and craft fairs where Tanko is an exhibitor. He travels throughout the year to shows in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa and the Dakotas. He recently purchased an RV and plans to exhibit at more distant shows in the years ahead.
    “I tell people I create art out of food leftovers,” he says. “That really puzzles them until I show them my work, and then they understand.”
    Tanko can’t really say how many hours a week he spends in his shop transforming nuts into works of art. “For me, it’s kind of like breathing - it’s just something I must do, and keep doing, because I love it and it makes me happy.”
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Albert Tanko, Creative Nutworks, 29705 Zodiac St. N.E., North Branch, Minn. 55056 (ph 763 444-5453; www.creativenutworks.com).

  Click here to download page story appeared in.

  Click here to read entire issue

To read the rest of this story, download this issue below or click here to register with your account number.
Order the Issue Containing This Story
2019 - Volume #43, Issue #3