The author is a freelance writer based in Taneytown, Md.

a rainbow of colors attracts customers to the Metalcraft by K booth to find their next beautiful sign.
Andrea Haines

Artistry can be perceived in a multitude of different scenarios. There’s artisan cheesemaking, the art of showing cattle around a ring, a promotional crew creating a brand, or an A.I. team developing the next genetic protocol, just to name a few. Some of World Dairy Expo’s creative visionaries develop works of art for visitors to take home and cherish.

Paintings certainly come to mind when considering this topic, and the artwork of Larry Schultz, Sunny Beach Farm Studio of Milton, Wis., has been on display in the Exhibition Hall for quite some time. Schultz grew up in Wisconsin with a love for the outdoors, which sparked an appreciation for its beauty. As a young man, he enjoyed art classes and workshops.

Schultz paints with a variety of mediums including watercolor, pencil, pen and ink, sculpture, and oil. “I like oil the most,” he shared. “It’s a medium that can be expressed no matter the subject.” Schultz paints landscapes, portraits, and animals. While his career began by painting horses, he has become well-known for his dairy-related pieces.

“I typically bring a lot of my cattle and animal artwork to World Dairy Expo,” he said. “There aren’t many artists who can paint a cow how industry folks want them to be painted. It’s all in the details. You have to be precise when painting someone’s animal because they will recognize the differences. Many of these animals, especially in the showstrings, are well-cared for and closely inspected every day, so the owners and fans can tell if it’s not authentically desirable.”

His expressions have gained him recognition amongst his peers, as he has won several awards in the U.S. and abroad. He has also painted covers for several magazines (including Hoard’s Dairyman), two town murals, museum artifacts, and dairy-industry pieces.

Schultz enjoys his trip to World Dairy Expo each year, saying, “I get to see old friends and meet new people. We all have an appreciation for the industry, and it’s neat to see how we can all relate to each other.”

All about relationships

Another medium that has developed a following is handmade jewelry and dairy artifacts. Lisa Coyne runs Bovine Boutique out of her Weathered and Worn Vintage Market in Miesville, Minn., and brings fun items to Expo. “I started out with western attire like jackets and transitioned to dairy-themed antiques and jewelry,” she shared. “I’ve been making my jewelry for the past five years but exhibiting at World Dairy Expo for 35 years.”

Coyne grew up on her family’s dairy farm and is a former Princess Kay of the Milky Way. “I gather my inspiration for the jewelry from my daughter who is in her twenties,” she said. “The trends tend to come and go each year. I also offer baby clothing and home goods.” She remembers when many of the vendors at Expo were “craft show based,” but now they tend to be more commercial and business related.

Accuracy and artistry make Larry Schultz’s paintings an Expo favorite.
Andrea Haines

Coyne enjoys her time at Expo, chatting with the other exhibitors and visiting with old friends. “I have so many people that can reminisce over the antiques or even customers who want to share about their family’s lives while purchasing a gift for their loved ones,” she explained. “It’s an art to develop and maintain those relationships, too.”

Relationships usually begin by showcasing a welcoming message. Metalcraft by K of Perham, Minn., sets the stage for Expo visitors to develop their own symbol of hospitality. Jim and Cathy Kratzke and their four adult children own and operate their crafted metal signs business. “Our powder-coated, solid steel signs are available for any type of customization. Many Expo visitors like to choose from our different design offerings and make their own version of our signs,” explained Cathy.

The family has been crafting their items for almost 30 years. “We enjoy coming to World Dairy Expo and getting to know about the different farms our products are representing. We attend quite a few shows, but Expo is a good place to bring our entire family. It’s very welcoming,” she continued. The family ships signs all over the U.S. and also has an international customer base. What began as a hobby soon propelled into a full-time business venture for the entire family. The focus on customer service can be seen in full swing at their booth: family members are shifting pieces and showcasing the many options to potential customers.

Cathy and her family understand the value in representing their customers’ wishes. “It’s important to have an image that is well-represented as many of our items are sometimes the first image visitors see when arriving at a client’s farm,” she shared. Including the right kind of tractor or animal designs tends to share about who we are as industry people. Just like many of the vendors, the Kratzke family has developed a niche market geared toward farm living.

Collectors and cow enthusiasts alike appreciate Carol Herden’s lifelike work.
Andrea Haines

Details matter

Correctly portraying an image is critical when representing breed characteristics or creating a replica of an exhibitor’s show winning animal. Carol Herden of Carol’s Original Works in Amboy, Minn., can attest to this theory because she’s been artistically serving clients at Expo for over 10 years. “I began sculpting because of my love for Breyer’s Horses. As a young girl I couldn’t afford them, so I made my own,” Herden shared.

The Western artist originally kick-started her career sculpting livestock, and she grasped an opportunity to update all of the ideal dairy model cows for NASCO in 2001. Herden collaborated with each breed organization to get them right. “The dairy industry has had an ideal dairy model since the 1960s, while other industries didn’t have that at the time,” she shared. “This industry is what taught me to focus specifically on details.”

Herden said she has a working method to her sculptures. “It’s become about 20% artistic and 80% construction from when I form a sculpture. It’s a lot of rubber molding, casting resin, and then hand painting,” she explained. Herden has had the honor of developing not only breed representatives, but also show trophies and awards.

“The days are focused and I’m often alone with my work. The busy week of Expo is a welcome disruption from the steady work,” she noted. She enjoys her Expo family that has developed over the many years behind her booth. Expo has not only been a place of business for her, but a chance to catch up with friends.

“There are many collectors that come through as well,” Herden mentioned. “We like to visit and reminisce over the traits of specific animals or talk about how a sculpture can be viewed at different angles.”

Herden’s sculptures can range from models meant to sit on a shelf to large-scale pieces that will take up space in a room. “It doesn’t matter the size; each piece takes time, some more than others,” she explained.

Depending on where your artistic preference points you, know that the culture at World Dairy Expo is welcoming of all types of mediums. Visit the exhibitor booths to meet these talented artists.