The Whirlygig Factory


Isn’t it fun to pronounce? Besides that, they are also fun to look at. When you are driving along the Lighthouse Route between Mahone Bay and Chester, you can’t help but notice the flurry of whirligig’s at The Whirlygig Factory. So many that they’ll make your head spin.

As I type, I can’t help but wonder why my spell check is picking up whirlygig with a “y”. I’ll come back to that later but first, what is a whirligig?

Wikipedia describes a whirligig as “wind-powered hanging art”- big contrast for what they were used for in ancient times as spinning torture devices. Now these lawn and garden ornaments is considered folk art. A visit to The Whirlygig Factory is where you can get your fix of these quirky and fun ornaments.

It was here where I met Barry and Kara Coutts, owners and creators everything whirligigish. They’ll custom make your piece or choose from many designs either on display or on their website.

When I arrived, Barry was the first person I met. Busy in his workshop, he was working on one of his “Tit-il-ating Mermaids”. These lovely ladies make you giggle at first and then you realize that these beauties are works of art. Found throughout the property reading in hammocks or playfully posing in a flower garden. It takes 400 feet of copper wire to make the hair, 5 hours to strip the wire and fashion it to the head. Their jewelery are fashioned from glass beads and sea shells.

The Turner Collection was inspired by Bunny & Pat Turner of Nova Scotia who wanted an old traditional whirligig reproduced. Barry was then motivated to create their own line of true “folk” whirlygigs, the one pictured here is “Musher”. Also part of the collection is “Harvey the Hunter”, “Wanda the Wash Lady”, “Charlie the Chopper”, “Peggy the Pump Lady” – all wind powered, colourful and entertaining.

As to why there is a difference between whirlygig and whirligig? A quick phone call to Kara said it’s merely for phonetic reasons because that’s how most people would spell it.

Helpful information:

Location of The Whirlygig Factory

The 10th Annual Whirligig & Weathervane Festival September 19 & 20, 2009 in Shelburne, NS

The South Shore region