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Piedmont Floral Galleries, Rufty’s Chrismon Shop to have August class

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SALISBURY — Linda Fleming has created every single Christian symbol and Chrismon that is offered at Piedmont Floral Galleries, which includes about 300 creations. The Alabama resident recently traveled about 400 miles to take a class at the popular business.

The business also operates Rufty’s Chrismon Shop, which is the world supplier for the original Chrismon books created by Francis Spencer. Chrismons are ornaments depicting symbols that represent the birth and death of Christ.

The next class will be offered Aug. 9 and 10.

Through the years, customers wanted more designs, so Rufty’s created more Christian symbols that include both Old Testament and New Testament designs.

Fleming was one of nearly two dozen women who signed for a recent class in which participants created their own Christian symbol. The classes were divided for beginners, intermediate, advance and advance plus. Each class level can have from five to 24 participants.

Those in the advance plus class would most likely not finish their intricate designs, said Melonie Rufty Beaver, co-owner of the business and primary creator of the Christian symbols.

Beaver said the original Chrismons included only New Testament designs from when after Christ was born.

As demand grew, the number of classes grew to a few times a year to classes being held February through September.

Fleming has been attending classes for seven years and creates designs for her entire church.

“My mother started in the 1970s. I started repairing the ones she made,” Fleming said.

In the last year, Janet Green of Gastonia said she’s made 300 ornaments, many of which adorn three different Christmas trees.

“Our group started in the ’60s,” Green said of her church group.

Carol Banner has traveled from Florence, South Carolina, for the past eight years to attend classes.

“It’s worth coming. The teachers are fantastic,” Banner said.

She first saw information about Chrismons online. Her church had some ornaments that dated to the 1960s that were mostly made of plastic foam.

“They couldn’t be repaired, so I got online,” she said.

She said taking part in the classes is like therapy.

“It’s a ministry of love. It’s not just a project,” she said.

Valerie Jones teaches a class out of her Charlotte home. She recycles some the older patterns.

“It was very confusing in the beginning,” she admitted.

Jones began teaching through a prayer group at her daughter’s preschool. The women wanted Chrismons for a tree. They’ve been making them for 25 years and create the ornaments for the school staff each year.

When her friends at her then church, Carmel Baptist, learned of Chrismons, they said they wanted to create them as well.

“They said we need this, and it grew from there,” Jones said.

The word spread, and members of other churches joined the class. She’s taught at her current church for about nine years.

“It is addictive,” Melonie Beaver said.

She said in many cases, once participants create their first ornament they are hooked. The series that Beaver and her staff have created includes passages or important stories in the Bible.

“I try to find some symbolism in the biblical stories,” Beaver said.

Each series is included in a booklet that details the history of the passage of scripture and how to create the ornament in step-by-step form.

Beaver said the Christian symbols can not only be displayed at Christmas, but often customers display them at Easter or during a children’s Bible study to help illustrate the story. In addition, some customers say they give the ornaments as wedding or baptism gifts.

One of her customers is a woman who runs a battered women’s shelter in Texas. The women get together, create Chrismons and have Bible study.

Piedmont Floral Galleries also offers Christmas decorations, nativity scenes, wreaths, silk flowers and ribbons, and all of the tools to create holiday crafts.

Piedmont Floral Galleries and Rufty’s Chrismon Shop is in a 17,000-square-foot showroom at 280 Furniture Drive.

For more information about Rufty’s Chrismon Shop visit Rufty’s Chrismon Shop at http://christiansymbolkits.com/ to learn about future classes. To learn more about Piedmont Floral Galleries, visit http://www.piedmontfloralgalleries.com/ or call 704-636-7739.

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.




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