Clowning Around

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Quite a few years ago my brother in law and sister in law, Ron and Helen, collected several numbered clown prints originally painted by the king of clowns, Red Skelton. The are absolutely beautiful and still hang in their home today.

That year, when Christmas was on the distant horizon, Tom and I were out shopping and came across a cross stitch pattern for one of the most famous clowns ever, Emmett Kelly. The character he created and played for many years was Weary Willie. He was a revolutionary clown who dressed as a tramp with an after 5 shadow instead of the traditional white face makeup. This sad clown was usually seen sweeping up after the other circus performers left the ring. He would try, but fail, to sweep up the pool of light from a spotlight.

I decided to purchase the pattern and that year it was our Christmas present to Ron and Helen. The pattern was tricky, with many, many colors, but it was well worth the effort. It still hangs in Ron and Helen’s home. In the picture, called “Hole in the Sole”, Willie is forlornly  examining the sole of his shoe as he balances on one foot.

Emmett died at the age of 80 in his Sarasota, FL home in 1979, but his legacy lives on in the memories of Weary Willie. He was inducted in to the International Clown Hall of Fame as well as the International Circus Hall of Fame in 1994 and 1998 respectively.

Thanks for the many years of laughter, Willie!

Emmet Kelly3


One thought on “Clowning Around

  1. My mom did several projects in this series for my father, who’s a big EKJ fan. They’re beautiful pieces, and I remember her saying they were challenging, though she’d been stitching for years.


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