I wanted to add a bit more to my story about Jeff Malm of Kulm, a man who creates the iron crosses that are traditional to German and Swedish cultures, and which can still be found in cemeteries in the U.S. and abroad.
There literally wasn’t enough room on the Religion page today for all the splendid pictures Sun Photographer John M. Steiner took, so I’m going to put a few of them here for you to see.
Also, when you write news you’re supposed to do it in a fairly objective way, so I couldn’t really write about how kind and amazingly creative Jeff and his wife, Lucinda, are. They were so nice. The article focused on Jeff, but as soon as I walked into their living room I noticed the cute little window treatments Lucinda had made, which utilized buttons along with cloth.
Both of them are extremely creative. Lucinda was planting flowers in the front yard when I was there, and we chatted a bit while I waited for John, who is also creative and builds stuff. They talked a bit about repurposing old doors and woodworking projects.
What amazed me the most, though, was something else Jeff had made: A hammered dulcimer. Yes, really. He’d made one. To me that’s about on the same level as putting together a car or the space shuttle or a children’s toy.
And there’s a Wallflowers song called “I’ve Been Delivered” that goes “I can’t fix something this complex any more than I can build a rose.”
But Jeff really does build roses. It’s sort of his trademark, to put a rose on every
cross he makes. Some have multiple roses.
Each rose takes about five hours to make, and it’s sometimes the only part of his process for making iron crosses that utilizes heat. (If a cross is very large, heat is needed to put a twist in the three-quarter-inch iron shaft.)
They start out as five layers of petals, as seen at left. Then Jeff uses a torch to make the petals wrinkly, like those of a real, living rose.
No two are exactly identical.