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Arts observed on the fly

September 13, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - From the time he placed the hook in the clamp to when he snipped off the last stray fibers, it took Roy "Bugs" Stevens about five minutes to produce a finished trout fly.

Practice makes perfect and Stevens, 75, of Chambersburg, has been honing his art for more than 50 years. Sunday, along the banks of the Falling Spring, he had an audience of several dozen people during a stop along Artswalk '98.

Sam Small, vice president of Falling Spring Greenways, a group that helps improve and preserve the stream, told the audience of arts patrons that Stevens made several flies years ago for another avid fisherman, former president Jimmy Carter.

"I didn't sell them. I gave them to him," Stevens said as he tied a grasshopper lure.

A retired firefighter and former exterminator, Stevens figured he's taught about 3,000 people how to tie flies, including Franklin County Judges John R. Walker and Douglas W. Herman.

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He uses a little of bit everything in making a variety of lures - pheasant and duck feathers, colored threads, tufts of animal hair and more.

Stevens recalled when he was an exterminator, a customer told him her cat was about to die.

"When that cat dies, do me a favor, cut his whiskers off. I can use them," he told her. The cat died and she turned over the whiskers, he said.

Once he demonstrated his art to a group of children at a church. They later sent him a letter with locks of their hair to use for flies. Stevens said he decided to keep them as a memento instead of using the hair.

Participants in the second annual Artswalk got to look and listen to some traditional and not-so-traditional arts. At the Chambersburg Area Council for the Arts office on South Main Street, they watched Edwin Beard of Greencastle, Pa., use a wood-burning tool to etch out a shrimp boat passing the St. Augustine, Fla., lighthouse.

His wife Pat, who coordinates the council's ARTS Express! program for children, was weaving cloth on a loom. A few feet away, Beverly Rosenberry, of Walnut Bottom, Pa., was weaving a basket.

At the St. Paul United Methodist Church, patrons were serenaded by the Mighty Men of God with "Jesus, The Light of The World" and other hymns in the new sanctuary.

That was followed by equestrian dressage and jumping to music at Wilson College. At United Towers Park along the Falling Spring, visitors heard blues by Beulah Mae and finished the day with Bob Eyer Jr. on the Moller organ at the Capitol Theatre.

By paying $20 for the 4.3-mile stroll or trolley ride through the borough, the participants contributed to the Arts Council's summer concerts in the park, TGIF Brown Bag Series and other cultural events and services, according to Executive Director Beth Luka.

They also got some exercise.

"We like to think it's a stretch, both aerobically and culturally," Luka said.

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