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Vollis Simpson.

Vollis Simpson Dies, Whirligig Folk Artist

Lucama, North Carolina

Vollis Simpson passed away in his sleep on May 31, 2013. The 94 year old folk artist was widely known for his monumental and fanciful scrap metal whirligigs. Most of his huge collection, which stood at his home in Lucama, North Carolina, was in the process of being moved and restored for the new Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson. He'd sold 30 of his largest sculptures and 50 smaller ones to the town, which had appreciated his work and featured it in an annual festival.

In the workshop, Lucama, NC, 2005.
In the workshop, Lucama, NC, 2005.

Vollis Simpson whirligigs in front of Fearrington House, Pittsboro, NC
Vollis Simpson whirligigs in front of Fearrington House, Pittsboro, NC.

You could find his work in many museums. Simpson was an authentic, non-academic master of his art. He grew up in a large farming family, and served as a combat engineer in the Pacific during World War II. After the war, Simpson operated a house moving business and then a farm equipment repair shop in Lucama until he was 67. He'd always had an interest in wind power, so he started to use his shop equipment to make complex, giant contraptions, some nearly 40-ft. tall. His shop was always filled with projects, big and small.

Simpson is survived by his wife Jean.

Also see: The Hall of Immortals

Vollis Simpson Whirligigs: Original Location

Vollis Shop Rd, Lucama, NC
From Whirligig Park in Wilson, drive southeast on Goldsboro St. S. for 1.5 miles. Bear right at the stoplight onto US Hwy 301. Drive 1.5 miles. Just after the little bridge across Contentnea Creek, turn right onto Wiggins Mill Rd. Drive seven miles. When you reach the intersection of Willing Worker Rd/Vollis Shop Rd, look for the whirligigs.
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