Making a memory into something tangible is often a hard task to accomplish, but Dorrel Harrison has succeeded in doing just that. Harrison, a retired schoolteacher and photographer, creates barn, mill and house plaques from the roofs of retired barns around Indiana. Using recycled wood, he crafts a three-dimensional, hand-painted barn unique to each customer.
This incredible handiwork only takes Harrison about two to three days to complete. Prices range from $89-$135 a piece. After making the move from New York to Indiana, Harrison saw a need for a structural barn plaque. He then started his business, Barn Mill Plaques, in Scottsburg, Indiana. “I found out that there was a demand for people to want a tangible memory of a particular structure like a barn, a house or mill, that was significant to them,” Harrison said.
Harrison said that these tangibles items are something that people grow to cherish. It is easy to see that Harrison makes each barn with that ideal in mind. Aiming to make his customers happy, Harrison looks forward to the presentation of the plaque to each of his clients. “I display it in my show room and I photograph them with it,” Harrison said. “It is one of my favorite parts.” Harrison’s careful construction and painting of each barn plaque gives him the ability to replicate memories special to each customer.
Not only is Harrison using this unique talent for his customers, but he is also using it to help the town of Scottsburg. As a member of the Arts Council, Harrison has made six barn plaques to auction off to raise funds for Scottsburg’s Heritage Museum. To see Harrison’s passion and talent shine through in his work, stop by the Indiana State Museum. His memorable and unique barn plaques are something that need to be seen.