Butte boy to Make CD of his Accordion Playing
Cantlon, Cleo. "Butte boy to Make CD of his Accordion Playing in May." Minot Daily News, 18 November 2002, sec. 3A.
BUTTE - The Holiday Showcases for products made in North Dakota have
an extra glow this year for artist Nellie Edwards of Butte.
Not only has Edwards seen her "Mother of Eight" designs
attract buyers at the state displays and a nationwide market, but
she also shows off her son Teddy and his accordion at showcases
in Minot, Grand Forks, Fargo and Bismarck.
I just started playing the accordion about a year-and- a half ago,"
Teddy Edwards said, "but I really like it." His musical
performances have included the YWCA Chocolate Fantasy in February
and the past two Norsk Hostfests in Minot.
He was particularly excited when Myron Floren remembered him from
the 2001 festival and recognized him at the annual banquet. Teddy
was delighted when Hostfest visitors wanted their photos taken with
him this year.
"The most exciting thing so far, though, was when Dolajak
Music Company told me at the Minot Holiday Showcase that they want
to make a CD of me playing next May," he said.
Teddy is concentrating on polkas and waltzes for the CD but he
is already planning farther ahead, including experimenting with
changing tempos on songs.
The pint-size accordion player, who celebrated his 11th birthday
in October, gets plenty of practice, including area anniversaries,
Senior Citizen and American Legion meetings and other events. He
studies with longtime Minot musician Jerry Schlag.
His parents brought their eight children Washington to Esmond several
years ago, then bought a farm home south of Butte almost four years
ago. Their rambling house provides creative space for Nellie Edwards
and production, storage and shipping areas for her ceramic creations.
She began by selling refrigerator magnets, Christmas ornaments,
jewelry and plaques.
"I'm branching into some more upscale things," she said,
"like desk top items." She showed a small sculpture originally
created for Great River Energy Co., surrounded by coal and mounted
on an oak plaque with a brass engraving. She is working on a similar
piece in honor of the Lewis and Clark expedition anniversary.
Many of her designs are created for one customer or occasion but
can be modified for wider use. For example, a potato design showing
the entire plant with its flowers, leaves and a baker's dozen of
potatoes, was designed for the Washington State Potato Commission,
but she predicts potato growers in other areas also will use it.
Like many of Edwards' designs, each potato pin is personalized
for the customer.
Each year she expands her offerings. A new Christmas design was
inspired by "Our Lady of Guadalupe." The mother of Jesus
appeared to a peasant in Mexico in the 1400s and a serape that bears
her image has been venerated in Mexico City's cathedral for centuries.
Edwards added the infant Jesus to her design but stayed true to
the Aztec Indian flavor of the original.
She has attracted other major buyers they include Polaris and Moose
International in Roseau, Minn. She created a girl hugging a moose
for the fraternal organization while the current Polaris model shows
their original snowmobile in a crisp blue and white design. She
is working on a new concept for Polaris' 50th anniversary next year.
Edwards is excited about the acceptance of her work. The famous
Biltmore Estate in North Carolina has become a steady customer for
one of her intricate winery designs. "We sell to almost 40
wineries around the country." she said. "The especially
liked this design showing an antique hall table, books, a candle
and a bowl of grapes."
A child waving a flag was the patriotic design she recently completed
for Federal Interbank.
Not all her sales go to distant places like Georgia, California,
Texas and over 30 other states. She also markets at Dakota Square
Mall, the Minot Convention and Visitors Bureau, Home Sweet Home
and the Minot International Airport gift shop.
Edwards has focused on the upcoming Lewis and Clark anniversary,
creating designs that mirror events of the explorers' travels. She
expects that 2003, the start of the observance of the trek, will
add to her work load as she expands designs relating to the expedition.
"We do everything from the ridiculous to the sublime,"
she said. "I like my new snowman design and I'm excited about
doing one with cemetery iron crosses for Michael Miller at Fargo
for the Germans from Russia Heritage Society."
Even though many of Nellie Edwards' designs are folksy and whimsical,
like the red barn of neighbors Ray and Frieda Plesuk, she researches
each aspect of them. She also continues to study casting resins
and glues to attach magnets, jewelry clasps and stands to some of
In the future she expects her work force to expand beyond her husband
and children. The rambling house at Butte may be too large to be
a cottage, but "Mother of Eight" designs is
cottage industry at its most successful.
Reprinted with permission of the Minot Daily News.
takes a break while she listens to her son Teddy playing his