Why Not Farm?

Heather & John

Heather & John

A few years ago, we made a classy little round sign for a place called ‘Whynot Farm on Snow Creek‘. Every year, we make hundreds of handcrafted farm signs, for customers ranging from tree-changers with a few acres of land to serious broad-acre ranchers. The Whynot Farm sign was a bit different, though. It had a well-designed logo and a name that sounded like a play on words. What sort of a farm was this? After a few emails with Heather Davis, I found out more of the story.

Whynot Farm Sign

Two years ago, Heather and her husband John studied sustainable farming under the tutelage of Joel Salatin, the self-described ‘Christian-libertarian-environmentalist-capitalist-lunatic-farmer’ from Virginia. With the help of their sons, they bought a piece of land and started putting some of Joel’s techniques into practice.

(Heather): The farm consisted of 25 acres on Snow Creek in the Love Valley of the North Carolina Piedmont. ‘Whynot Farm on Snow Creek?’  It’s a question and a farm name all in one. Next came the chickens, pigs, alpaca herd (twenty-six head), sheep, geese, ducks, rabbits, quail, et-cetera. We are now supplying two chefs, four restaurants and dozens of local farmers’ market customers with delicious, pasture-raised, all-natural, hormone- and antibiotic-free meats for their discerning customers and families.

Whynot Farm Animals

And the Danthonia sign?  It was a wedding present from some dear friends, as was the chicken sculpture.

Sign & Chicken Sculpture Whynot Farm

Farm Shed & Sign

The logo was designed by Type Work Studio, in Buffalo New York.

(Heather): It was a fun project. We wanted a professional look for our new business so we invested in a logo, brochures, a professionally-designed website, stationery, etc. I believe these things create an appearance of gravitas, credibility and substance that every new business really needs.

Whynot Farm Logo

Whynot Farm Stationery

More recently, Heather & John decided to open a farm shop in nearby Love Valley. It’s a town like few others in twenty-first century North America. The population stands at ninety, and no cars are allowed within town limits – only horses, wagons and pedestrians. The Davis’s purchased the ‘Old Jailhouse’, a small wooden structure in the middle of town. Out of respect to the building’s history, Heather asked us to created a hand-painted, western-style sign to mount on the false front.

Love Valley, NC

(image courtesy of City Data)

This was our first serious hand-lettering job and naturally we had to include some carved & gilded type as well. Here’s a few images of the process:

The Pattern

The Pattern

Chalk Outlines

Since we don’t have a pounce wheel or electro-pounce, we simply applied white chalk to the back of the pattern, and then drew over every line firmly with a pen. This transferred the pattern to the panel. It’s a little hard to see in this photo but it worked.

Painting the first colour

Since we were using Dulux house paint, it took several coats to cover the black undercoat.

Hand-Painting Dude Font

Painting the drop-shadow effect

Adding the Lighter Red Accent

Adding the Lighter Red Accent

Paint Stencil

After the hand-lettering was finished,we used a paint stencil for the carved & gilded lettering (sorry purists).





Hand-Painted Wild West Sign

The Finished Sign

Old Jail House Sign

Pub Sign Detail


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