July 16, 2021

Loonacy at the Raymond Village Library

A flock of 20 handcrafted and lovely decorated wooden loon
planters are currently roosting at the Raymond Village Library
as part of a summer fundraising event. They were built by
local resident Bob Grimm, a member of the library's Board
By Briana Bizier

Things are looking loony at the Raymond Village Library as a flock of 20 handcrafted and loving decorated wooden loon planters are currently roosting at the library as part of a summer fundraiser.

The loons were built by local resident woodcarver Bob Grimm, a member of the Raymond Village Library’s Board of Directors. For Grimm, who also built the birdhouses that were used in a library raffle earlier this year, the loons are an opportunity to showcase the community’s creativity.

“I’ve done similar projects before for different organizations,” Grimm said. “I like to come up with different ideas and give as many talented artists as we can a blank canvas and see what they come up with.”

This flock of library loons began life as a simple wooden box with a loon silhouette on either side.

“Basically, it could be used as a planter, a key holder, a notepad holder, lots of different things,” Grimm said.

He built the original blank loons, including two sample loons that he decorated; one loon sports the traditional black-and-white plumage that would look at home on any of the local lakes while the second loon has been transformed into a viking ship complete with shields and tiny oars.

“I always cheat,” Grimm said. “I make a couple as display models to seed the ground.”

Once the 20 blank loons and Grimm’s two examples were delivered to the Raymond Village Library, the library released a Call to Artists and asked Raymond residents to claim a planter and then go loony decorating it. Librarian Rachel Holden served as the project’s Loon Coordinator.

“Rachel handed out the loons and made sure they all swam back to the right spot on the right day,” Grimm said. “She’s an important part of this project.”

Artists of all ages responded, from retirees to recent preschool graduates, and the 20 loons were claimed within a week.

“The loons were very popular,” said Allison Griffin, the library director.

Those loons flocked back to the library earlier this month, where they are currently on display atop the library’s bookshelves.

“The fascinating thing is that they all started out as 20 blank loons,” Grimm said. “And when they came back, some of them were still loons, some of them became ducks, some of them became geese, some of them are very patriotic. Basically, what we’ve ended up with is an art show at the library.”

This summer’s loony art show highlights the creativity of Raymond residents of all ages.

“I made my loon into a puffin,” said Liza Powers, a 10-year-old Raymond artist. “I decorated it with paint, and my mom carved the puffin beak,” Powers explained. “We went all extra about it. It was fun!”

The full raft of loons, from Viking ship loons to loon puffins, can be viewed at the Raymond Village Library from now until Aug. 14, when the loons will wing their way to their forever homes.

Librarian Allison Griffin made sure the decorated loons swam onto the library’s Facebook page and website, so they can be viewed virtually around the world.

This year’s library raffle also includes a foxy surprise waiting with the loons. Library Board Member Nick Hardy donated a handmade lap quilt with an adorable fox motif that is also on display at the library and is included in the raffle.

When I asked Grimm if he plans on doing another planter project next summer, he said he’s already been inspired by this year’s flock of creative loons.

“You know, one of the loons came back as a puffin,” Grimm said. “I’ve already transformed the pattern I created for the loon, so now it’s a puffin. Next year, we’ll do a puffin planter.”

Each decorated loon planter, as well as the fox quilt, is part of the Raymond Village Library’s summertime raffle. Tickets are $1 each or six for $5, and they can be purchased in person at the library, over the phone, or at the library’s website at
http://www.raymondvillagelibrary.org/ <

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