May 20, 2006

Showcasing His Art

Left: Keeping shop

(Toledo, OH) Bill Sturm displays his wares in the grass along South Avenue, hoping that the rain that has drenched the area will not return.

"I lost probably eight of the last ten days to the rain," said the craftsman. "It's pretty hard to make a sale in the rain."

Strum is a cane maker, and each of his finely-crafted canes are unique works of art.

"I use oak, birch and hickory for my canes," he said. "Every one of them is like one of my children."
Left: A few of Bill's canes

This particular location, near Detroit Avenue on the edge of Highland Park, has been particularly successful for him.

"I have been here about three years, and I am very happy with the site," said Sturm. "I have been able to sell as many as seven or eight a day."

That might not sound like much of a living until one considers the price of his canes, which start "around $35."

"Every one has a different price, and I have sold them for as much as $150," he said, adding that purchasers have traveled from as far away as Columbus, OH for his sturdy canes.

The entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well on this stretch of South Avenue, and Bill Sturm is the sort of throwback artisan in rare supply these days.


Anonymous said...

Nice story, Mike.

Anchorage Activist said...

After the tumult of the Iran badge story, this is a nice cooldown.

Considering the previous interest that the Singaporean government has expressed in canes, I wonder if they'll offer him a contract? :)

historymike said...

Agreed, anchorage activist. I sometimes throw a deliberate curveball on this site just to keep the drive-by posters confused.

(laughing at SIngapore reference)

Besides, there is much that is interesting in this world beyond media criticism.

Kate said...

Great story Mike. If I see the guy I'm buying a cane - aren't they nice? A klutz like me will sure put one to use. I've worn out two sets of crutches already - this would have a certain panache to it - that crutches just miss altogether.

Stephanie said...

If only I needed a cane.... I wonder if he'd do something by request...a Gandalf-style staff would be cool and he certainly seems to have the craftmanship for it.

-Sepp said...

I see that guy out there all the time. Freezing cold or sweltering heat...he's there. Nice guy too.

Hooda Thunkit said...


Nice segue!

I'll have to check Bill out occasionally, to see if something catches my fancy ;-)