Lonnie and Twyla Money were both raised along the Jackson and Laurel county line in southeastern Kentucky. Living there, they went from full time farmers to full time artist, converting a milking barn into a studio.
Lonnie attributes his talent as a carver to his great-grandfather, who was a carver in Switzerland before immigrating in 1883. At the age of five Lonnie received his first pocket knife. Seeing his Uncle Wayne carve a wooden gun gave him a driving desire to carve things out of wood. As a child he carved a walking cane for his grandfather. In 1980 he did piecework for the crafts-marketing program at Berea College, carving out basic animal forms for other craftsmen to finish. During the mid-1980’s he began making his own animal designs, which he carved and painted.
1985 Twyla began working with Lonnie, taking over the responsibility of painting his finely carved pieces. Together they create whimsical, finely crafted animal sculptures. The lovely rural setting of their farm has inspired a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Among their favorite subjects are opossums, skunks, a fox eating a chicken, pigs eating corn, cats with a mouse, dogs carrying a stick, turtles roosters and guinea fowl. Some of the animals, like the foxes, opossums and skunks, are fairly realistically painted with light strokes of paint over darker colors to suggest fur. By contrast, the pigs, cats, dogs, and fowl are finished in a variety of color combinations and patterns such as bull's eyes, star bursts, large and small polka dots and small strokes of color.