Handmade Crafts » MountainMade 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 MountainMade allows West Virginia’s Artists to Reach Outside of Rugged Landscape http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/mountainmade-allows-west-virginias-artists-to-reach-outside-of-rugged-landscape http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/mountainmade-allows-west-virginias-artists-to-reach-outside-of-rugged-landscape#comments Mon, 16 Aug 2010 19:28:07 +0000 Becky Henderson http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=953 West Virginia is a hidden treasure located within 2.5 hours of several major metropolitan areas.  Geographically, the Appalachian Mountains cut the state off from the East Coast.  Until the development of the interstate highway system, the roads crossing its rugged terrain discouraged visitors.  While the isolation of the mountains has helped to preserve our state’s largely unspoiled natural beauty, heritage and culture, it has also made it difficult for our talented artists and craftspeople to gain access to the best markets in which to sell their work.

Former Park Ranger and accomplished photographer, Gary Hartley, has taken many photos that captuer the stark beauty and depict the natural isolation that the state's rugged landscape creates.

Former Park Ranger and accomplished photographer, Gary Hartley, has taken many photos that captuer the stark beauty and depict the natural isolation that the state's rugged landscape creates.

With the development of the internet, some of the isolation has been lost.  Businesses have relocated here and more and more people work remotely.  West Virginia artists and craftspeople have been able to overcome some of the challenges of isolation and gain more exposure for their work by promoting their creations on the internet.

MountainMade was first envisioned as an eCommerce website with its fulfillment center in Thomas, WV. After the tragedy of September 11, people took to road trips and MountainMade’s retail location in Thomas took off and the website continued to evolve.  With the advances in website abilities, MountainMade realized the necessity of a completely new, exciting website and launched our new website last October.  Through MountainMade’s website, artisans are reaching new American and foreign customers.

For those of us who enjoy the benefits of being “isolated” from the metropolitan areas, the Mountain State is a great place to call home. The internet sales are helping our artisans remain here, doing what they love in a landscape that is not only inspiration for their lives, but for their art.

It's no wonder artists make the choice to stay in West Virginia. Being able to reach art connoisseurs the world over has made that decision more economically viable.

It's no wonder artists make the choice to stay in West Virginia. Being able to reach art connoisseurs the world over has made that decision more economically viable.

If you want to learn about the unique factors that contributed to West Virginia’s and the greater Appalachian Region’s cultural history, consider this wonderful Appalachians DVD Set, featuring an extended interview with the late Johnny Cash.

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History of Glass Making in West Virginia http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/history-of-glass-making-in-west-virginia http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/history-of-glass-making-in-west-virginia#comments Thu, 12 Aug 2010 22:54:08 +0000 Becky Henderson http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=947 Interest in West Virginia glass has been rekindled by artisans updating this craft with new designs, colors and individual flair.

During our state’s history, over 500 factories have manufactured glass in the Mountain State because it offers great quantities of silica sand, stone and other chemical compounds necessary to produce glass and vast reserves of natural gas for fuel. The network of rivers and railroads used to transport raw materials and finished product has made West Virginia an ideal location for all aspects of the industry.

Pictured here from left to right, MountainMade artists Chip Turner of Appalachian Glass is well known for his whimisical Friendship Balls, Lynn Gundry is an accomplished stained glass artist, Blenko Glass Watter Bottles like the Ocean Blue one picture here are very popular, Catherine Miller of Pilgrim Glass demonstrates her fine techniques in glass etching with the Pilgrim Green Vase with Leaves, and Ron Hinkle's Rainbow City Pitcher stands out in any setting.

Pictured here from left to right, MountainMade artists Chip Turner of Appalachian Glass is well known for his whimisical Friendship Balls, Lynn Gundry is an accomplished stained glass artist, Blenko Glass Watter Bottles like the Ocean Blue one picture here are very popular, Catherine Miller of Pilgrim Glass demonstrates her fine techniques in glass etching with the Pilgrim Green Vase with Leaves, and Ron Hinkle's Rainbow City Pitcher stands out in any setting.

To support the success of the glass industry, West Virginia attracted talented European immigrants to work in the glass factories.  These glass workers have passed down their craft to future generations.

West Virginian glass artisans traditionally created both molded glass and hand-blown glass.  With press-molded glass, glassmakers pressed molten glass into an iron mold, giving the glass both its shape and decorative pattern and eliminating the need for hand design.  After 1900, glass factories began making their own molds on site, allowing them to create patterns unique to specific companies.

Hand-blown glass allows an artisan to introduce a small amount of air through a blow pipe or blow tube into a blob of molten glass.  This novel technique dates back to the last century BC and is still practiced today by Ron Hinkle, Chip Turner and others.

MountainMade features a wide selection of glass art, made right here in the Mountain State. You can see more of our glass artisans’ work in the MountainMade Glassware Section of our website, or if you visit us in our beautiful Thomas Gallery.

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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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Lights, Camera, Action At MountainMade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/lights-camera-action-at-mountainmade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/lights-camera-action-at-mountainmade#comments Sun, 11 Jul 2010 22:00:05 +0000 Becky Henderson http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=924 On Camera At MountainMade

Working at MountainMade provides a constant source of challenges. On any given day, there are new details in running a retail business.

This winter presented additional problems brought by the record snowfall in Tucker County. However, taping the video pieces was a completely different challenge for one who prefers to take care of business without much attention.

First of all, I am not a MountainMade artisan. What I know about our artisans and their art I have learned from them. I hope and worry that the way I have related their craft, skills and history is correct.

Second, I have never been a thespian. At times, I can still be anxious before giving a talk or presentation. While filming these videos, I strove to clearly relate the details of the artisan’s skills and keep my knees from knocking.

And I worried about my appearance. How did my hair look? Did I slouch? In the midst of it all, I could hear my mother saying “stand up straight.” Of course, this had nothing to do with the quality of the video.

I hope the artisans are satisfied with my comments on their craft that I related in the video pieces. I am truly in awe everyday when I see what their talents can create.

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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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Hillbilly Gypsies At The Purple Fiddle http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/hillbilly-gypsies-at-the-purple-fiddle http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/hillbilly-gypsies-at-the-purple-fiddle#comments Sun, 04 Jul 2010 22:00:48 +0000 Mike Broderick http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=907 Hillbilly Gypsies At MountainMade on July 16

If you’re in the area Friday, July 16, come by the Purple Fiddle in Thomas to hear some great old-time singing and playing by the Hillbilly Gypsies.

The “Gypsies” are one of our juried MountainMade artists and we carry both of their rousing CD’s, “Come On In” and “One Foot in the Gravy.” Show starts at 8:30 p.m. – a good time is guaranteed!

The Mountainmade Artisan Gallery is only a short drive from the Purple Fiddle and we’re ready for summer and overflowing with great gifts from hundreds of West Virginia artisans.

The 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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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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Augusta Music Workshops A World-Class Experience http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/augusta-music-workshops-a-world-class-experience http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/augusta-music-workshops-a-world-class-experience#comments Mon, 24 May 2010 14:01:59 +0000 Mike Broderick http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=795 Augusta Heritage Center music

Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, W.Va., is best known for intensive week-long workshops that annually attract several hundred participants. Thousands more attend public concerts, dances and festivals.

Augusta’s full-time staff, plus volunteers, seasonal staff and work-study students produce a great variety of quality workshops. These world-renowned workshops and festivals have brought together master artists, musicians, dancers, craftspeople and enthusiasts of all ages.

Their mission -

  • To encourage wider understanding and practice of artistic expression found in local, regional and ethnic traditional folk cultures.
  • To document, promote, encourage, and nurture West Virginia’s folklife and folkways.
  • To accomplish the above through workshops, apprenticeships, publications and public presentations.

As a many-year participant in the workshops, I can attest to the fact that this total immersion into the music is a rare experience that you will never forget.

I would encourage anyone interested in exploring their artistic side through music or dance to take advantage of this unique opportunity in West Virginia. Many of the musicians featured at MountainMade have been teachers or students at Augusta.

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Last Chance To See Annie Simcoe Products At MountainMade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/last-chance-to-see-annie-simcoe-products-at-mountainmade http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/last-chance-to-see-annie-simcoe-products-at-mountainmade#comments Wed, 19 May 2010 12:14:49 +0000 Heidi Haldeen http://www.mountainmade.com/blog/?p=828 Annie Simcoe Collage

By mission MountainMade exists as a lighthouse to West Virginia artists and craftspeople. We value our relationships with these individuals and enjoy the privilege to be part of their success and development. We are saddened, but excited to learn that mixed media artist Annie Simcoe will soon be leaving the Mountain State.

Annie makes her own paper using natural fibers and with the use of thread connects a lasting impression. Many of you have seen her framed pieces, molded vessels and lamps here in the Gallery or on the MountainMade website.

Annie is embarking on a new adventure and we wish her every success and happiness. Unfortunately this means that we can no longer represent her work in the Gallery or on www.mountainmade.com. Annie will be coming to the MountainMade Gallery in Thomas next week to pick up her work. We encourage those of you who have enjoyed and collected her work to visit us one more time to enjoy her workmanship.

We would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You and Good Luck! And may life ever bring you back to West Virginia, Annie.

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