A GIG OF YOUR OWN
Whirligigs are colorful, creative interpretations of domestic life, adventure, customs, and traditions. They can be made of any material, on almost any scale. Keep in mind that works of art designed to be displayed in the great outdoors need to be durable. A few dents and dings add character, but you may need to touch up the paint or make small repairs from time to time. Even if a propeller is broken, you’ll probably be able to fix it yourself—and have fun doing so.
Very old and unique whirligigs may cost thousands of dollars, but if you keep your eyes open you can find vintage folk art whirligigs for $50 or less. New whirligigs cost about $30 and up. Or make your own: Patterns are available in books and online, and you probably already have enough scrap lumber and useful bits of hardware to get started. The mechanics are simple. Once you figure them out, you can make up your own design.
In the garden, set whirligigs on sturdy poles where they can catch a breeze. If you have a precious old whirligig, treat it with care and display it indoors. Barry and Allen Huffman keep most of their collection inside, but when they have friends over and the weather is nice, the whirligigs go out into the garden, and they get the party cranking.
These meticulously painted farmhands with their 10-gallon hats bend to their endless task. Carved figures such as these are rarer than silhouettes, which can be cut out with a coping saw or jigsaw.