• Last modified 1728 days ago (Oct. 2, 2014)


Crafty Goessel artisan enjoys variety in works

Staff writer

The shelves of Lavida Schroeder’s large workshop at her home in Goessel are full of paints, craft magazines, three-ring binders, unfinished ceramics, and tools she uses to create unique pieces of art.

She and her husband, Dennis, grew up in the Goessel community and have lived in the same house in Goessel since their marriage 56 years ago.

When Lavida Schroeder retired from her job at Parkview in Newton, she knew how she would spend her time.

“I learned that I didn’t have to do everything on Saturday anymore,” she said. “I could spread it out throughout the week. I also had more time to go places with my husband.”

She already was painting ceramics and doing some stained glass art, but she decided to take every class she could.

She branched out into numerous other crafts, such as silversmithing, china painting, and doll-making.

To accommodate her hobby, the couple added a large workshop to their house, along with an enlarged kitchen and a three-car garage. A long work counter runs through the center of the shop, and the walls are lined with shelves all around.

“I used to have my work scattered out on the kitchen table,” she said. “Then I would have to clear it all off when it was time for meals.”

Schroeder and her husband have done some sandblasting. They did some glass etching on their living room picture window and the front door. She makes her own glass beads for jewelry using an acetylene torch. She uses a soldering iron to fashion sterling silver rings and other items.

She also enjoys tole painting. She decorates all sorts of items. A platter she entered in the Kansas State Fair this year earned a blue ribbon.

Schroeder has a “trailer load” of Christmas items in storage, with which to decorate the house for the holiday season.

“I’m a Christmas person,” she said.

Included in her collection are a Christmas box, a sleigh, a Santa Claus clock, and several Santa Clauses and snowmen, all painted by her. She painted a large ceramic nativity set for herself and has since created more for other people.

Of the numerous dolls she has made, Schroeder has donated several to Mennonite Central Committee auctions in Kansas and Washington. They sold from $800 to $1,500.

Schroeder shares her creations with friends and family. She does not sell them.

“It’s not a business,” she said. “I just enjoy the crafts. I sometimes demonstrate at the threshing bee here in Goessel. It gives women something different to do.”

Last modified Oct. 2, 2014