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Kimball — A tiny backyard art studio recently opened to the public in St. Clair County’s Kimball Township.

Talking Willow Studios aims to offer artistic home decor pieces and jewelry that is different, unusual and a little bit mystical.

Luana Hengemuehle, 56, has been a working artist since 2004 and has always had a goal of opening her own little studio where she can work and sell her pieces.

Hengemuehle works with metal and copper to forge small sculptures. She also makes wind chimes, lamps, stepping stones and jewelry. The majority of the jewelry incorporates pieces of wood that fall off the willow tree in front of her home.

“I picked up this gnarly-looking piece and peeled back the bark one day and found it was the most beautiful wood underneath,” she said. “So I make willow jewelry with gemstones out of it.”

Much of her work is inspired by folklore, nature and willows.

“Willow trees are really heart, they are survivors,” she said. “You can cut it down and it will sprout back up. They purify the water and keep soil from eroding. A lot of times they are used in stories and folklore and stuff like that. There is something about them that is just magical.”

Hengemuehle said she wants people to think of her studio when looking for a unique or odd gift for someone.

Before she could open the studio she had to rehab the 12-foot by 16-foot shed into a workable space. It will be open from noon to 7 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and by appointment the rest of the week.

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