We recently learned that Dick Scheu passed away in January of 2019. He was a gentle and talented man who enjoyed his work and his friends in the Kentucky crafts industry. We have secured the remaining inventory of his beautiful and detailed ornaments for our clients. We will miss Dick as both a quiet friend and a gifted artist. I hope you enjoy his work.
In the midst of the wintry chill, Louisville artisan Dick Scheu hopes his intricate wooden ornaments — snowflakes and symbols of strength and faith — will bring some warmth to the spirit, Bourbon Barrel Ornament.
Scheu began making Christmas ornaments as gifts for his large extended family, to be able to give everyone something they’d really appreciate. The general reaction was, “Man, these are really neat. You should try to sell them,” Scheu says.
Since 1997, he has been doing that through his company, Kentucky Snow, adding one or two designs each year.
Although the finished pieces appear uncluttered and not overly detailed at first glance, closer examination reveals the amount of planning, precision and patience Scheu puts into each one.
Scheu cuts the tiny strips of wood, then painstakingly glues them together a few at a time until he has a complete log like roll about 4 inches in diameter with the ornament’s pattern throughout. He then uses a saw to slice pieces across the face of each roll to create individual ornaments. He finishes them by sanding a few times, usually coating them with a clear finish.
It takes about a month to complete the process, which results in about 80 of one type of ornament. Prices range from $20 to $32.
Scheu has been working with wood since his father introduced him to the craft as a boy. Throughout his life, be it customizing his own car interiors with wood fittings or creating home and boat accessories for officers during his time in the Navy, he kept honing his skills.
Scheu is an award- winning, juried member of the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen and a participant in the Kentucky Crafted program, Ohio Designer Craftsmen, and the KYANA Woodcrafters Club among others.
After Scheu retired from a partnership that did tax work on unemployment claims, his basement workshop really got busy. The floor is stacked with lumber; ceiling joists and pipes are hung with hundreds of C-clamps; benches are piled high with different colors of duct tape; power sanders are fitted with various grades of sandpaper.
Scheu says it sometimes takes him months to organize a new design and then figure out how to put together his next snowflake idea, but it is work that he says he enjoys.
From the looks of it, that enjoyment extends to the people who buy his ornaments. They are certainly a true one of a kind Kentucky treasure. We hope you will enjoy for years to come.
Each ornament comes in a white gift box with a short history of how the piece came to be and the Kentucky woods used.
This design commissioned and sold exclusively by Heaven Hill is now available for sale. It comes in either the racked position for aging bourbon or the standing position. It is made of White Oak which is used to flavor Kentucky bourbon and Black Walnut from Kentucky. I love cutting white oak because it smells exactly like bourbon.