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Alma, P.E.I.'s Kerras Jeffery remembered for contribution to folk art community

Kerras Trent Jeffery appears next to one of his pieces of folk art. The native of Alma, P.E.I., died on June 1.
Kerras Trent Jeffery appears next to one of his pieces of folk art. The native of Alma, P.E.I., died on June 1.

A Prince Edward Island man who turned scraps of wood and metal into beautiful art pieces is being remembered this week for his contribution to the province’s folk art community.

Kerras Trent Jeffery, 51, died at his home in Alma, P.E.I., on June 1.

“I knew him for four years and I came to love him. He was infectious,” says his friend, Larry Dugdale of French River, who delivered the eulogy at his funeral Sunday at the E. Gerald Rooney Memorial Chapel in Alberton.

“Kerras is remembered as the finest folk artist that P.E.I. has ever seen. He is also remembered for his absolute talent.”

Whether it’s the double-headed pigs carvings, the King Tut masks, the Canada Mountie beaver or the bear sculpture that guards his back door, the artist was known for his creative, playful spirit.

“Everything he did was made from repurposed materials. He would take an old gun that had lost his value, carve a moose, put it on the end and call it a moose gun. He made the Guinness book of World Records for building the largest egg beater in the world in 2005,” says Dugdale.

With an exhibition in Calgary and a website, his sculptures have been sold “all over Canada and beyond.” His commissioned work includes pieces created for Kingsbridge Garden, St. Andrews, N.B.

Jeffery, who ran Back Road Folk Art, also received media attention during his 20-year career. He was featured on “Canadian Pickers,” on CBC Radio with Shelagh Rogers and in “Saltscapes” magazine, this past Feburary as well as in The Guardian.

Jeffery, in an earlier interview, said he gradually got into folk art.

“I pinch myself sometimes. I enjoy what I’m doing. I used to be a labourer, but when I got into this, it was like a day at the beach,” says Jeffery in the video, “If You Build It — North Cape Coastal Drive’s Coastal Stories" (see the video below).  

The folk artist is survived by his wife, Shirley (nee Hustler) Jeffery and children Courtney Jeffery (Travis Gaudette) and Corinda Jeffery (Matt Capicotto) and his special fur baby "Calvin".

Born on April 6, 1966, he was the son of Wilbert and Verna (nee McDowell) Jeffery of Alberton.  A brother to Carter, Robert (Barb), Randy (Christine), Diane (Glen) Wallace, Kenny (Jody), Darlene (Rheal) Lacroix he is remembered by his grandmother Empress (late Roy) McDowell, of O'Leary. He is also survived by brothers and sisters-in-law, Nick Doucette (Carl), Roy Hustler (Eleanor), Bernice Costain (Gary), Norma Blacquiere (Arnold), Peter Hustler (Lorraine), Winnifred Hustler (Ivan), Priscilla Handrahan (Wendell), Barry Hustler (Rita), Joey Hustler (Darlene), Normie Hustler (Jaunita).

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