Folk artist Kerras Jeffery unveils a new creation on wheels
by Sue Gallant
Miss Lauretta Cheese. Yes, that is her name, and Miss Lauretta is, without doubt going to be turning heads this summer when she makes her West Prince public debut in this year's street parades.
Miss Lauretta (her name is inscribed in black on her frame), shares striking similarities with a Holstein dairy cow. (See photograph). Like all the fairer sex, she is absolutely unique. Miss Lauretta Cheese is a …? Hmm…That's a difficult one…. Let me see now … Miss Lauretta Cheese is a folk-art bicycle with five wheels, two passenger seats, and one set of pedals. She comes complete with two matching black and white bike helmets sporting cow horns. The helmets may be stored in Miss Lauretta's two matching carry baskets when not in use.
Miss Lauretta Cheese's creator, Island folk artist Kerras Jeffery, gazes lovingly in her direction. "I used all recycled bikes," Jeffery says, "there are about ten different bikes into her. The horns on the cow are actually a set of handlebars."
At the front end, Jeffery's creation has a cow head, with authentic cowbell hanging around the neck. Like all Holsteins, Miss Lauretta has appealing, big, liquid brown eyes and long eyelashes. Her rear end has an old fashioned waterpump handle for a tail. Miss Lauretta's front and back legs are hinged at the thighs and knees and hang from the bicycle framework without actually touching the ground. They move amusingly when the bike is in operation. In order to set Miss Lauretta in motion, the passenger in the left seat pedals with the right leg, while the passenger seated in the right seat pedals with the left leg. There is a foot rest for each of the two feet not doing any work.
Such a set up could quite conceivably develop some severely uneven muscle tone in the physic of who ever drives the bike, but in his ever-effervescent style, Jeffery is not concerned. "I built Miss Lauretta Cheese to promote my gallery at the parades," said Jeffery. "There is still a lot of people on the Island who don't know about me. I figured it would be good publicity and a good laugh."
A look-see around Jeffery's studio in Alma, reveals a multitude of good laughs. Jeffery's work is skilled, imaginative, and always amusing. The Back Road Folk Art Gallery is open year-round.