Julie Dawson left a 25-year corporate career in public affairs several years ago to spend time with her three daughters and pursue a passion for historical crafting. Throughout the house, barn and workshop of an 1850s homestead, the family works together to hand bend, solder and snip tinplate into tin cookie cutters and accessories in a business they call Orchard Canyon Heirlooms.
Doug Dawson is a licensed mental health counselor. Daughter Meri is pursuing a degree in veterinary medicine at Ohio State University, Paige studies fashion at Kent State University, and Allison immerses herself in music and drama when she can escape the demands of her mother’s show schedule. All three girls have been active in 4-H, providing the inspiration for many of the cutters depicting farm animals.
The family reproduces many designs of “cake stamps” made by tinsmiths in the late 1700s and early 1800s. American tinsmiths added the flat back for rigidity and created hundreds of designs, with animals being the most popular. Few tinsmiths across the United States continue to offer this truly American style because of the time involved, yet it is the plate back that makes it an heirloom that will last for generations.
Orchard Canyon cutters have adorned the White House Christmas Tree, were featured in a display at the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, and are sold in Colonial Williamsburg and other museums and shops dedicated to American life in earlier times. Julie’s unusual business and her family were featured in Country Woman in 2003, and her workmanship has won top honors at several heritage festivals.
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Four-bedroom, two-bath Antebellum-style home. 3000 sq. ft. on 5 acres with many rock walls, Completely restored. Central HVAC, hardwood floors, large rooms.. $197,500.