Conveniently located on Stratton Alley in downtown Lewisburg (beside the Greenspace and City Natl. Bank), Adorn Handcrafts is your newest source for high-quality, handmade household supplies, décor, gift items, apothecary, and more! The objective of this specialty shop is to serve as a platform for talented artisans who share their passion for sustainability, functionality, and style. The shop is filled with creative displays that emphasize the elemental nature of each product. To learn more about Adorn, we interviewed Jill McIntyre, the visionary behind the shop.
What was the inspiration to open Adorn Handcrafts?
I have always been an admirer and accumulator of beautiful things, including textiles, pottery, and paper. I learned to appreciate such things from my grandmother, Dorothy, who lived on a dairy farm but worked downtown at L.S. Good & Company, wearing impeccable clothing, high heels, and lipstick and bringing home treasures for her formal living room and china cabinet. “Ditty” was a consummate hostess, and she and the farmhouse were always well-composed. My mother, full of artistic talent, is a fearless and dogged maker and improver. She paints (both ways), plants, papers, and plumbs and is always ornamenting her home, inside and out, to the delight of family and visitors. Mom has never sold her talent, but she could.
When I traveled as an attorney, I began, in larger cities like Austin and San Francisco, to see cooperatives where makers of various crafts (e.g., sewing, leather work, pottery, letterpress) had joined together to offer their wares for sale in a single space, either on consignment or through a retailer. I decided that West Virginia deserved just such a space.
How did you come up with the name?
“Adorn” means to make more beautiful or attractive (and at Christmas, to deck!), which captures most of what we carry in the shop. Our products decorate bodies, homes, and vehicles. We add to the merely beautiful a study of and appreciation for how the beautiful thing came to be. If my grandmother were alive, she would handle and examine each item in the store for its lines, craftsmanship, and quality and would recognize that it is not only uncommon but also a good value. She would ask about and want to know the maker. She passed this characteristic on to my mother and me.
How has the local response been?
We are receiving more visitors from out of town than from locals. I think our guests are not contained by habits of where to shop and tend to chart their course via the internet, where we are well represented. See www.adornhandcrafts.com; www.facebook.com/adornLewisburg/; and adorn_wv on Instagram. One exception is that The Upper Cut next door sends ALL their clients over to our store, so at least that subset of the local population knows we exist. And we have developed very close relationships with a dozen or so customers and suppliers who stop by regularly to see what’s new and whose merchandise is selling.
Around how many artists do you have on display?
We are currently featuring about forty-five makers/suppliers. West Virginians make approximately one quarter of our goods. Another quarter are made in the United States and other first world countries (such as Canada, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Turkey). We sourced those through Etsy. Finally, we buy from five fair trade organizations, all of which make business decisions with the well-being of artisans and farmers in mind. (A global fair trade movement builds equitable and sustainable trading partnerships and creates opportunities to alleviate poverty.)
Who are some of the artists, specifically, you are currently showcasing? What is their craft? Is it a variety of media?
Our most recent collaboration is with sisters Emily and Betsy Sokolosky of Base Camp Printing (Charleston, WV). Emily engraves text and design into tiles and uses an old printing press to reproduce posters, cards, postcards. We recently commissioned a poster celebrating Lewisburg, and Emily supplied a tri-color masterpiece featuring the thing that made Lewisburg the best site for a town: the old spring. Another of our suppliers is Gary DeGraff, who impressed his mentors in the local wood-turning studio and was encouraged to develop a market.
What are the price points?
We have merchandise ranging from $5 to $500. Time-intensive items like hand embroidery and quilting cost more, while items made in the fair trade countries (e.g., Nepal) can cost less because of different raw materials and labor standards.
Adorn is located at 121 Stratton Alley, Suite 7. They are open from 11am to 5pm, Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 5pm on Saturday, and 12pm to 4pm on Sunday. For more info, visit adornhandcrafts.com or call 304-440-8130.
– HashtagWV #121. January 2020.
HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks. tiktok.com/@hashtagwv