Cushing uses laser to craft art from wood, acrylic

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Kay Cushing is one of the craftspeople who'll be displaying their work at next weekend's 60th Albemarle Craftsman's Fair.

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BY Anna Goodwin McCarthy

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Five years ago Kay Cushing’s husband, Rod, gave her a gift that would lead to her new passion.

The gift was an Epilog Laser that Cushing uses to cut through wood and acrylic to produce her creations.

Cushing’s work includes ornaments and door hangers, and some of her most popular items feature initials.

Ornaments that contain the state of North Carolina or cardinals are also local favorites. Her Christmas and holiday ornaments showcase merry scenes of trees and poinsettias.

Cushing said her works have also been used to personalize funeral wreaths.

Cushing will be displaying her work, including ornaments and door hangers, at the 60th Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair next weekend. The show will be held at Knobbs Creek Recreation Center on Friday and Saturday, Oct. 27, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday, Oct. 28, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Perhaps the most challenging part of Cushing’s work is when she is commissioned to design something new.

“I enjoy problem solving,” she said.

One of her challenges was designing a box and then figuring how to lock it.

“It’s kind of exciting to make something three dimensional,” she said.

Cushing said her process starts with coming up with an idea for a design. Many of her ideas are inspired by her customers’ requests for specific shapes that are related to their interests.

She then uses CorelDRAW to transfer her idea into a design on her computer.

“I enjoy doing the computer design work,” Cushing said.

She then sends the image she’s designed to the Epilog Laser.

“I can cut or engrave,” said Cushing.

Cushing uses Baltic birch wood for her ornaments, which consist of three layers.

She paints the laser-cut designs with colorful hues and glittery paint to highlight specific sections. She then glues the three layers together and finishes each ornament by connecting a cord as its hanger.

“Our garage is pretty much dedicated to my endeavors,” said Cushing.

Originally from Nebraska, Cushing earned her master’s degree in education administration from the University of Nebraska. Cushing said she has lived in many areas while her husband was in the U.S. Army.

The couple retired and moved to Elizabeth City three years ago. They are members of Victory Baptist Church. Rod is a member of the Civil Air Patrol Squadron in Elizabeth City and sings with Albemarle Sounds Barbershop Chorus and Gabriel’s Men.

Cushing said her ornaments are for sale at The Shoppes at Kenyon Bailey and Footprints Christian Resources. Her wooden design decor, including autumn pumpkins, are for sale at the EC Mailbox Center.

Her work can be viewed on Facebook and she also has items for sale at https://www.etsy.com/shop/KsMagicLaser?ref=s2-header-shopname.

For more information about the 60th Albemarle Craftsman’s Fair, visit http://albemarlecraftsmansfair.com/.