Pharos-Tribune

Local News

March 17, 2013

Channeling creativity

Employee puts decorating knack to use at Logansport Mall

LOGANSPORT — Humberto Martinez had no idea what he’d be doing with several yards of green fabric he found in the Logansport Mall’s storage room.

You wouldn’t know it to look at the mall’s decor now.

“I see them all the time,” said Beverly Brown of the mall decorations. She’s a regular at the mall, where she walks loops around the central corridors for exercise. “They always look nice. People need to come out and see them. They don’t know what they’re missing.”

Although she’s not well acquainted with Martinez, who has lately been in charge of the mall’s decoration, she says he’s talented — and friendly.

“He knows everybody,” said Brown. “He’s a friendly guy.”

And at Christmas, she added, he did an excellent job.

Martinez, a custodial employee at the mall, was recently tasked with decorating the mall’s display cases and center hall for St. Patrick’s Day and Easter. It’s a duty that mall representative Teresa Short gave him last summer after he joined the mall staff.

“He was going through kind of a difficult time, so I thought it would keep his mind busy,” said Short, who’s worked at the mall for the last 11 years.

It did more than that. It gave Martinez an outlet for a long-developing decorating talent.

Martinez, who with his brother Cecilio Martinez moved to Logansport about five years ago, works about 25 hours a week at the mall, dust-mopping floors, taking out the garbage, shoveling snow and spreading salt in the winters.

He also works part time at D&R Fruit Market and decorates for various special occasions and at the bakery his brother Cecilio owns, Country Bakery on South Sixth Street.

Martinez, 45, started decorating when he worked as a gas

station attendant in Chicago several years ago. One slow night, he took several helium balloons that were for sale and started arranging them into balloon bouquets. At a time when such bouquets were popular, the gas station started selling several. Then as Valentine’s Day approached, Martinez began filling small decorative containers with gift items.

After some time, “we turned half of the gas station into a gift shop,” he said.

The station later won a soda brand’s decoration contest based on a window display Martinez had arranged “just for fun.” It’s how he got his first car, he said — the first prize for the contest.

After moving to Logansport, he began decorating for friends’ social celebrations.

“They always asked me, ‘Why don’t you start a business?’” he recounted. “It just comes naturally. I thank God for it.”

At the mall, Short said she lets Martinez have his own way with the decorations. He started with a pile of green tablecloths the mall has used in the past for special events.

“Whenever I get inspired, I just need to have something in front of me,” said Martinez.

Those tablecloths — and a little unseen rope — became a pair of cocktail dresses adorning dressmaker’s dummies in two windows on the west side of the mall.

“Probably it didn’t take me more than 5 minutes to start with that,” said Martinez, motioning to a “skirt” fashioned from a folded tablecloth and a piece of rope cinching the waist. “As soon as I put the first piece on the dress, I knew what I wanted to do.”

He used another piece of rope to cinch the makeshift dress bodice at the neckline, pulling the leftover fabric out to form an asymmetrical, ruffled collar.

Once Martinez is inspired, he works based on his “vision,” he explained. “I can see what I’m doing. It’s just like having a picture in your head.”

Sometimes an idea mushrooms, too. He occasionally makes several trips between a window display and storage areas, tracking down pieces he can use or repurpose for a display.

“Things don’t stop me

because I don’t have them,” Martinez said. He improvises

and tries to reuse as much

as possible.

“I’m like, well, I can create things with what we have. We don’t need to spend the money.”

That’s how he created “Bunny Land,” the garden scene where the Easter Bunny is welcoming children this month. He began by hanging pieces of artificial snow batting from the ceiling as clouds. Some passers-by identified animal shapes in the clouds.

“When I was putting them up, I was remembering my childhood,” said Martinez, when he’d lay out in the grass and pick out animal shapes from among the clouds overhead.

Other elements of Bunny Land were repurposed, too.

A flower cart was formerly an information kiosk elsewhere in the mall. Martinez created a fountain using a mass of cellophane wrapping. Even the boulders lining the Easter Bunny’s garden were made using packing paper from one of the mall’s tenants and some brown paint.

All told, Short said Martinez spent less than $20 on materials for Bunny Land — including mulch that Martinez says he’s taking chances with, hoping children won’t make a mess of it.

“If you don’t risk it, you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he shrugged.

Other mall walkers said they appreciate the decoration at the mall.

“We come up here and walk and I think that they’re innovative,” said Delores Binder, who walks regularly with her husband, Gregory Binder, and with Lisa Powell. “There’s so much space to cover and I think they do a fantastic job.”

“We always comment on the cleverness,” added Powell.

Martinez said he’s overheard comments of that sort before.

“I don’t want to turn around and say ‘thank you,’” he said. “I just can’t.”

But he appreciates hearing it just the same.

Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5151.

Want to go?

WHAT: Visit the Easter Bunny in Bunny Land

WHERE: Logansport Mall, 3900 E. Market St.

WHEN: Noon to 4 p.m. today

MORE TIMES: The Easter Bunny will also be at the mall from 1 to 6 p.m. this Saturday, on Good Friday, March 29, and on March 30; and from noon to 4 p.m. March 24.

 

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Area could see higher healthcare premiums Individual premiums for healthcare under the Patents Protection and Affordable Care Act could go up in counties with poorer health, according to a Ball State University study.The study said counties with poor health, specifically high diabetes incide

    July 30, 2014

  • NWS-PT072914 Voting2.jpg Round 2: Deadlines approach to file for November election Openings are filling up as deadlines to file approach to run for local town councils and school boards.Up for election this fall are town council seats in Royal Center’s districts No. 2, 3 and at large and at large in Walton as well. The filing deadl

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • NWS-PT073014 Hickman.jpg Two arrested in purse-, wallet-snatching spree

    MONTICELLO — Two were arrested late last week in relation to a string of purse and wallet thefts from shopping carts in local department stores. Lindsey R. Hogg, 22, Monticello, and Rachel D. Hickman, 23, Burnettsville, were arrested by the Lafayette

    July 29, 2014 2 Photos

  • Fatal wreck UPDATE: Monticello woman killed in overnight wreck

    A Monticello woman was killed late Monday night in an automobile accident involving a car and semi-trailer truck in the northbound lane of U.S. 31 near the junction with U.S. 931.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pool sets Sunday at closing date

    The season will close at Tower Park Municipal Pool on Sunday, according to the Logansport Parks & Recreation Department. Final season activities will begin on Friday, including "Floatie Friday." Pool-goers are invited

    July 29, 2014

  • Police investigate possible stabbing

    A woman called 911 late Monday to report she had been stabbed in her Brookston home.

    July 29, 2014

  • Winamac woman dies in crash with county truck A Winamac woman is dead after failing to stop at an intersection and being struck by a Pulaski County Highway Department dump truck. Just before noon on Monday, Dollie Frinkle, 71, Winamac, was driving a 1996 Buick Park Avenue westbound on 100 South

    July 29, 2014

  • Indiana BMV asks court to delay vanity plate sales INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles has asked the state Supreme Court for permission to continue its suspension on sales of vanity plates until a court case is settled. The Indiana attorney general's office announced Monday it ha

    July 29, 2014

  • Police Blotter: July 29, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    July 29, 2014

  • SPT - PT072914 Colts-pic [Duplicate] QB Luck making progress ANDERSON — Wind chill estimates put the temperature at 59 degrees Monday morning at Anderson University.During one stretch of his fifth training camp practice of the year, however, it likely felt much colder to Andrew Luck.The Indianapolis Colts quar

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Raw: Japanese Soldiers Storm Beach in Exercises Raw: Weapons Fire Hits UN School in Gaza Raw: Rocket Launches Into Space With Cargo Ship Broken Water Main Floods UCLA Two Women Narrowly Avoid Being Hit by Train In Virginia, the Rise of a New Space Coast New Sanctions on Key Sectors of Russian Economy Crayola Announces Family Attraction in Orlando US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Should grocery and convenience stores be allowed to sell cold beer?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
eEdition