Handmade Crafts » handmade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog The blog of West Virginia handmade art and handmade crafts. Wed, 11 Jul 2012 14:48:29 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.5 en hourly 1 Being Blessed — I Am MountainMade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/being-blessed-%e2%80%94-i-am-mountainmade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/being-blessed-%e2%80%94-i-am-mountainmade#comments Tue, 31 Aug 2010 05:00:30 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=977 Most days, you'll find Heidi Haldeen serving artists and guests at The MountainMade Gallery in Thomas, WV.

Most days, you'll find Heidi Haldeen serving artists and guests at The MountainMade Gallery in Thomas, WV.

I have been very blessed to work at MountainMade. I am surrounded every day by a quality, excellence and a committed group of people who believe in what we do: We represent West Virginia artists and craftspeople by knowing and promoting their work.

I am on the front-line. I have other duties, but I am often one of the first people to greet you when you walk in the door, email or call with a question. I don’t always know the answer, but I’ll find out and get back with you as soon as I can.

The “gift” is the relationship(s) I have with our customers.

We meet new people every day, but many of you have become friends. The Gallery is an open, intimate space that invites lingering exploration. I’m here to answer your questions and guide you in your search for the perfect gift, but “it’s got to be the right fit.” We get to learn a bit about your stories and your passions and preferences. We learn what’s most important to you. Your trust and commitment to quality, handmade goods keeps us alive and growing.

I am reminded of this every day. Today it was the couple who had been in 6-plus weeks ago and seen a Beth Crowder pastel and came back just to see her exhibit. Needless to say, they’ll enjoy a few of Beth’s whimsical critters and her detailed landscapes for years to come. To answer the phone and be serenaded by an artist who knows that today is my birthday is delightful. The customer who meets me at the grocery and makes the connection — MountainMade! This IS the good stuff.

But, the winning recent memory is the gentleman who shook my hand because I helped him and his wife create the perfect wedding gift for a young man who made a life and death difference to their family. A custom-made piece of glassware that will be used and cherished for a lifetime. To hear your story, makes mine better.

I AM MountainMade and part of a greater whole. I keep good company. Yours.

I look forward to serving you.

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West Virginia’s Very Own Marble King http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/west-virginias-very-own-marble-king http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/west-virginias-very-own-marble-king#comments Wed, 14 Jul 2010 20:19:40 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=933 Marble King

Becky Henderson (far right) of MountainMade launches a Marble King marble down one of the toys at the gallery.

West Virginia is known for its rich tradition in fine art glass and marbles. Did you know that Marble King, Inc., was founded in 1949 by Berry Pink and Seller Peltier in St. Mary’s, W.Va.?

The factory didn’t move to Paden City, W.Va., until 1958 when Manager Roger Howdyshell relocated the factory after the original one was destroyed by fire. Howdyshell, who purchased Marble King in 1983, was the first to create cat’s eye marbles and veneering marbles.

Marble King, Inc., is still owned and operated by the Howdyshell family. The factory is open 7 days a week, 365 days a year and is touted as “The world’s best known and best loved quality marbles.” Marble King marbles have been featured in the movies Goonies, Hook and Home Alone.

Marbles aren’t just for tournament play. MountainMade is proud to carry Marble King Marbles and several Mountain Craft Shop toys, heirloom toys that family and friends will enjoy for generations.

Made from real wood (no plastic!) harvested here in West Virginia. Simple treasures and mind teasers like the Marble Trick, shuttle Puzzle to the beloved Marble Trees and Marble Chutes.

There is fun for kids of all ages. Of course, when you pick up the Marble Blister Pack of Marbles you’ll learn how to play those old marble games and what a “mig” is and why a shooter is called a “taw.”

So, what are you waiting for? Get your game on!

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July Exhibiting Artist: Charlotte Gerlach http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/july-exhibiting-artist-charlotte-gerlach http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/july-exhibiting-artist-charlotte-gerlach#comments Tue, 06 Jul 2010 22:00:14 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=916 Charlotte Gerlach and works

Charlotte Gerlach is a marvel and a West Virginia treasure. Self-taught, Charlotte’s ability to capture the fine details is little short of amazing. She works in oil paints. Her exhibit will be a collection of original works, prints and giclee’.

A nationally recognized artist, Charlotte has earned numerous awards and had her work commissioned. She is widely published.

Charlotte is known for her intricate, life-like work. “I want the viewer to feel a sense of being able to walk into the scene, touch the wildlife and enjoy our wonderful world of nature,” she said.

A generous spirit, Charlotte has contributed her talent and work to causes close to her heart: People’s Hospice, the American Lung Association, Duck’s Unlimited, West Virginia Health Right, Inc. and the Clarksburg Historic Society. She is a member of MountainMade and Tamarack.

Her work can be seen throughout West Virginia in various state parks (i.e Blackwater Falls) and select galleries.

Charlotte’s work is on display in Washington, D.C., in connection with fine art paintings she has been commissioned to paint for prestigious real estate developers.

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June Exhibit: Gerri Wilson Photography http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/june-exhibit-gerri-wilson-photography http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/june-exhibit-gerri-wilson-photography#comments Tue, 01 Jun 2010 22:00:04 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=886 Gerri Wilson photography exhibit in June at MountainMade.

It was no surprise that photographer Gerri Wilson became a juried artist. She and her husband Bruce pursue their shared and joint passion in their Deer Run Studio in Canaan Valley, W.Va.

A fine art nature photographer working from her home and studio in the Canaan Valley of West Virginia, she specializes in vignettes, close-ups and landscapes of native flora in the Allegheny Highlands.

Gerri has spent much of the last year documenting the flora of the Beall Farm Tract I in the Canaan Valley for the National Wildlife Refuge. She currently captures images on a Canon 30D digital camera, most often from a tripod, and processes images using an iMac using Photoshop CS4 and Lightroom 2 and prints from an Epson R1900 printer.

Gerri pursued photography after a long career in music education. Accustomed to “stirring the pot” of the creative process with her students, she brings the same expectation of possibilities to nature photography.

Gerri is attracted to wilderness, hence her interest in native species and visible signs of natural progression in time and topography. She has studied technique and composition from Kent Mason and Ed Heaton and pursues her course of self-education in all parts of the process.

Gerri has won numerous awards in competition at the Canaan Valley Refuge, including taking first, second and third place for Refuge Scenery.

She is one of the winners of the 500th Wildlife Photography Contest at Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge honored in the June West Virginia Magazine. Be sure to check out Gerri’s full-page spread.

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Moving Day At MountainMade! http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/moving-day-at-mountainmade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/moving-day-at-mountainmade#comments Tue, 25 May 2010 13:43:38 +0000 Becky Henderson http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=863 The MountainMade Country Store has been consolidated with the Artisan Gallery in Thomas. Now you’ll have one-stop shopping in Thomas for everything including books, food products, toys, fine art glass and lots more. The Pottery Studio will also be moving to the Gallery location.

The MountainMade staff spent the week boxing, wrapping, loading and unloading hundreds of West Virginia made arts and crafts. We are pleased to report that nothing was broken.

MM Moving Day Collage

The Gallery is now ready for summer and overflowing with great gifts for all occasions – we’re sure you’ll be able to find the perfect gift for someone special or even for yourself.

The MountainMade Artisan Gallery is located on Douglas Road. After you pass the U.S. Post Office, take a right onto Douglas Road at the MountainMade sign. The Artisan Gallery is three-quarters of a mile farther along the road.

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May Exhibit: Mary Hurst (Fine Art/Oil) http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/may-exhibit-mary-hurst-fine-artoil http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/may-exhibit-mary-hurst-fine-artoil#comments Tue, 04 May 2010 22:00:30 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=775
Mary Hurst (new juried artist)

We first met Mary in a MountainMade Studio class (Encaustic Painting with Michael Doig). It was no surprise in November 2009 when Mary’s work was juried in. She thinks “BIG.” Mary’s chosen medium is oil paints, abstracting from the plant life in her native Appalachian Mountains.

She tries to convey the sense of spirituality that can be felt while visiting a forest. She isolates and combines moments of particular appeal. Mary intuitively reacts to the colors and design elements within the forest floor, allowing them to evolve naturally.

Mary lives and works in her hometown of Fayetteville, W.Va., near the famed New River Gorge. Her oil paintings explore the wonder and spirit that she says are present in the world, especially the natural world.

She uses recognizable imagery, but distorts and combines it to create abstract compositions. Mary is currently developing her body of work related to the forests of the New River Gorge. This is her first Gallery exhibit with MountainMade.

She has also shown her work at Black Bear Burritos and the Paul Mesaros Gallery in Morgantown. We can’t wait to see what Mary Hurst can do!

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Celebrate Graduation With The Perfect Present http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/celebrate-graduation-with-the-perfect-present http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/celebrate-graduation-with-the-perfect-present#comments Mon, 03 May 2010 17:00:39 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=740 It’s been a cool spring here on the mountain, but we are ever reminded of the evolution of time. For many here in West Virginia and around the United States, a new journey is about to begin.

Students are preparing for final examinations and graduation. Many are preparing to venture into the work force in pursuit of their dreams and others still will be continuing their academic careers.

It is a time of mixed emotion for the student, family and friends. All of these graduating individuals will soon be starting anew and needing all the help they can get as they begin to make their mark in the world.

We wish these young adults an adventurous and joyful road ahead. We have selected a few items that may help make their transition from youth to adulthood an easier one, all beautifully made tools for the home and office.

Four lamps by Annie Simcoe, in three colors and two patterns, are available through MountainMade. Let the light shine in and remember the threads that bind us together. Each lamp is priced at $150.

Nature-inspired officeware

These three affordable pieces are (l-r): Leaf Letter Opener by Jeff Fetty ($29); Leaf Key Chain by Thomas/Work ($12.95); and Nature Wrap Key Chain by Thomas/Work ($12.95).

Journals by Jill Jarom with Coptic Binding

Record your travels through life with these three Journals by Jill Jarom (l-r): Coptic Binding/Dk Brown Tree ($75); Coptic Binding/Lt. Brown Tree ($75); and Coptic Binding/Reddish Straw ($65).

Case Book Journals by Jill Jarom

Also by Jill Jarom, three blank books for notes or adventure diaries (l-r): Case Book/Paste Paper ($50); Case Book/Lt Br. Cloth Tree ($50); and Case Book/Gr. Flax Falls ($50).

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New Hinkle Glass for Spring 2010 http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/new-hinkle-glass-for-spring-2010 http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/new-hinkle-glass-for-spring-2010#comments Mon, 19 Apr 2010 14:30:55 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=658 It’s spring time and Ron Hinkle and his team at Hinkle Glass have been fast at work!

There is a fresh batch of tumblers (8 and 12 ounce) that are beautiful, sturdy and just feel good in your hand. He spoils us with small groupings of different colors and patterns that are lively and eclectic.  I had a couple in over the weekend who have been collecting. They have an eclectic set of 12 different glasses that they enjoy using every day for everything: water, iced tea and wine.

They loved the color, the feel and the integrity of each piece, and said, “We don’t worry about bumping and breaking.”  
We think Ron might be gearing up for a garden party as he shared three new pitchers with us: a Rainbow, Purple Swirl and Watermelon, each of which can stand alone or be paired with matching tumblers. What a great gift idea as wedding season is fast approaching.

And don’t forget about the return, by popular demand, of Ice Screamers. Fashioned after Hinkle’s Martini Glasses (we have a nice selection of those too), these are gorgeous little dessert dishes that make every day a special occasion.

There are a number of specialty items that make great and affordable gifts for the glass collector on your list: 3D paper weights, apples (paperweights and table top sun catchers), shot glasses (many customers use them for tooth pick holders too), vases and a new piece, the Nuclear Windstorm Bowl. An amazing swirl of reds, blues, black and more surrounded in a neon green. You’ve got to see it to believe.
And that is just in the Gallery.

Slip down to the Country Store and there’s more! Pick up a $6 Kiss or ponder a flying pig (available in two sizes for every pocket book), dolphin paperweights, soap/lotion dispensers and Hinkle’s ever popular child’s vase.

The bottom line is that beautiful, collectible glass should be affordable for everyone and Ron Hinkle has done just that. Enjoy!

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Heidi Visits Treenware http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/heidi-visits-treenware http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/heidi-visits-treenware#comments Sun, 11 Apr 2010 22:00:44 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=532 I may never be let out of the Gallery/Studio again. I had the privilege to visit Stan and Sue Jennings of Allegheny Treenware on my way back to Thomas after spending the day in Morgantown. This is funny only because my vintage 1993 Subaru Impreza was smoking when I pulled up to the workshop to pick up an order.

Let me preface by saying you will not meet anyone more welcoming and genuine than Stan and Sue Jennings. I arrived a half hour before the end of the work day and everyone in the workshop was busy at the task at hand. I was immediately greeted by the staff, followed by Sue and the canine welcoming committee. It seemed this visitor caused a joyous stir of excitement.

I apologized for not arriving earlier as planned, but announced that I had had some car trouble a few miles out. My delay was waved off and Sue insisted on taking the time to show me around their workshop. They employ eight-plus employees who help them cut, shape and finish each piece. And it’s clear how much they value and appreciate each member of their team. More than once I’d hear Sue describe members of her team as “my right hand and we couldn’t do this without their help.”

Allegheny Treenware is located on a pristine 45 acres in Preston County, W.Va., along Rt. 50. They buy most of their wood in logs (they prefer cherry, but will work with many different woods) from local folks who do select cuttings when the need arrives. They mill the logs down into boards and cut/craft each piece from there.

As per my automotive saga, a member of the Treenware team (”all he drives are Subarus”) graciously took a look under the hood and discovered a crack in my radiator. Oy! Stan very graciously said, “Well, I guess Sue will run you home.” And bless her she was quick to put my embarrassment of the situation at ease. “It’s what you do. You take care of your neighbors.”

And it is that down-to-earth, give-back personality they both share that has built their business and supported their community. And as it turns out we had a wonderful talk about the business of art and humanity in West Virginia. It turns out we’re both “door knockers” who know the value of asking a question and sharing what we’re excited about.

Sue credits Stanley for allowing her “the time away from work to follow her passion” and lobby for the West Virginia artist community. She and fellow MountainMade artist Donna Lohr (Whimsical Woolies) helped start the Preston County Arts Council. She’s active with the Tamarack Foundation and MountainMade. “I’m so excited about being able to give back to the artist community and to be able to help artists coming up as Stanley and I were. We’re very fortunate.”

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Handmade craft projects keep children busy http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/handmade-craft-projects-keep-children-busy http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/handmade-craft-projects-keep-children-busy#comments Wed, 10 Mar 2010 15:10:15 +0000 Kristie Owens http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=397 Are your children finding it difficult to find things to do this winter season? With all the snow and lots of snow days it can be a challenge keeping them occupied. Try one of our fun-filled craft projects here at MountainMade Country Store. We have a great selection of old-time handmade art projects, and some of my favorites are the looper loom, spool knitter, lap loom, the drop spindle and our rug hooking kits.

Looper loom The little looper loom can be used for simple weaving of pot holders or hot pads; textile loops called “loopers” are used. Start by stringing loops in one direction, then string loops in the opposite direction, weaving alternately over and under the warp loops. Your last step is looping them together on the ends. The pot holders make great gifts for grandma or any other cooking lover.

Spool knitter You’ll make a tubular rope, called “horse reins,” which in turn can be used to make belts, mats and the like. This is a great craft for that fashion diva in your home.

Lap loom This must-have can be used to make such diverse offerings as a scarf, baby sweater, toboggan hat and more. Four-ply yarn is recommended, but thicker or thinner yarn may be used.  A metal hook is provided, but a crochet hook can also be used. Make a nice handmade baby shower gift with your lap loom.

Drop spindle kit Spin your own yarn, simply and without the cost of a spinning wheel. Spinning is the age-old art of plying individual strands of wool, cotton or flax together by twisting the fibers. Originally, rubbing the tufts of fiber between one’s hands made yarn. The drop spindle was another step in the evolution of the art of spinning.

Rug hooking kit The kit includes a rug hook and how-to direction pattern on a hand-cut wool colored diagram. The kit makes a wonderful deer log cabin mat.

You can find all these items and many other great toys at our MountainMade Country Store or our Web site. Order those crafts and have some fun, and make something useful in the process.

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