Goats R Russ!

Limberjack toy maker


Material art
Musical instrument crafts


I make handcrafted dancing goat limberjacks. WHAT IS A LIMBERJACK? A limberjack is a loose-limbed dancing doll. This toy probably originated in 16th century Europe when a seated street performer attached a string from his knee to a jointed wooden toy and by jiggling made it dance on a board. A wooden stick replaced the string sometime in 19th century England. In Appalachia, these traditional toys are often hand-carved with a stick in the back. The manipulator, keeping time to a lively fiddle tune, taps on a narrow flexible wooden board. The vibrating board makes the doll appear to do a clackety mountain clog dance. A skillful handler can make this toy an effective rhythm instrument.rnrnOriginally mountain craftsmen whittled these “jacks” into shapes which were held together with pieces of wire. I use power tools and eye hooks to create my uniquely painted handcrafted Appalachian limberjacks. Each limberjack comes with a paddle board. Although my specialty is limberjack goats in a variety of colors, I also make hippos, limber jacks and jills, ponies, chickens, opossums, elephants, flamingos, lion, zebra, giraffe, assorted dogs, pigs, and llamas! rnrn

I am an urban Appalachian, born in Cincinnati but raised in Latonia in northern Kentucky. I currently make my home in Clermont County, which lies within the Appalachian region of Ohio. In the 1940s, my parents migrated from their homes in eastern Kentucky to Ohio for work. As a child, I made made weekly visits with my parents to my grandparents' farm in Lee County. My grandmother had a goat which inspired my first limberjack. The rich experiences I gained there in a home without running water or electricity forever colored my world and my philosophy: "If you want any more, you'll have to sing it yourself." Or, in this case, make Appalachian-inspired dancing toys!


Contact Info

[email protected]
Batavia, Ohio