Hay bale art makes Highway 11 pop

by Charles Gerian

Surely you’ve heard the expression “Hay if for horses”.

Well, Hay is for art, too.

Motorists who frequent Highway 11 might have noticed the cute hay bales that have been stacked and designed seasonally for years now, whether they’re arranged as the Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus”, Snoopy characters, Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter from “Alice in Wonderland”, Jack Skellington from “The Nightmare Before Christmas”, The Grinch, Santa, a Nativity scene, flowers, or any number of other designs.

Currently, they are arranged as a Maroon football player and a Blackwell Maroons football helmet, and one of the hay bale artists, Lindy Simunek, took time out of her schedule to breakdown how these are made, how they came to be, and what’s next.

“Debbie Simunek started doing them a few years ago,” said Lindy, “it was a Christmas tree and a few different things, then years ago Kristen and I decided to join.”

Lindy laughed, “I’m not a very…artsy person, but the first one I did was the ‘Hocus Pocus’ one and that was not only my favorite, but a lot of people really liked it.”

“Then it turned into a regular thing,” said Lindy, “we would look at whatever was coming up- holidays, local events- and we would just keep thinking of new ideas.”

Lindy would later find that there’s a whole world of hay bale artists out there.

“Oh yeah,” she assured, “it’s a whole thing. Some of them are very extravagant with attachments and accessories. I get on Pinterest and see some of these, and we take some inspiration but mostly we do our own thing with it. I’ll find designs and transform them, like with the Maroon one we have now, that came from a George Bulldogs hay bale, I’m wanting to say.”

Lindy said that the process involves showing their idea to Debbie’s husband who stacks the bales with a general concept in mind before the women go out there and get to work.

“We do it all freehand,” said Lindy, “we’ll start with a rough outline and then get more detailed. It usually takes about 4-5 hours, depending on the design.”

Lindy said that it surprised her and her fellow artists how acclaimed their bales have become.

“We had Peckham School come over and get picture of the kids with the bales, then we see people all the time stopping, pulling off Highway 11, and getting out to get pictures either with or of them, which is really cool.”

Lindy said that was the point all along- to bring happiness to the community.

“We envisioned something that people could be excited about- something people could do school photos, holiday pictures, whatever infront of. And we have people calling now, some asking if we can do custom hay bales for their homes or businesses. It’s been so surreal.”

Right now, Lindy and her team are gearing up for their Halloween-themed bales.