On September 12th and 13th, wander the backroads of Pocahontas County and discover Droop Mountain artists at work from 10a-5p, during the 2nd Annual Droop Mountain Studios Tour. You will discover their fresh, unique, and limited pieces, while embarking on their personal stories of inspiration, reflection, and creativity. You will also learn the processes with ongoing demonstrations while watching the tools at work, and listening to the history of their art of over 25 artisans. There will be a violin luthier, magic wands, clay ink pots, West Virginia herbs, jewelry making, fabric art, wood-turning, knife-smithing, blacksmithing, fine art, and so much more! This special event is a drive-around art and a craft studios tour at 4 locations on Droop Mountain in Hillsboro on both Lobeila Road and Denmar Road, which are conveniently located off Rt 219 and about 45 minutes from Lewisburg. Blue signs will be posted along the routes between studios. All artisans will have work for sale.
Studio #1 on the map is Paolo Marks Violins (pictured on the cover). This is Paolo’s home workshop. You will find this studio a delight to visit as you learn about Paolo’s craftsmanship in making violins, cellos, and mandolins. Along with traditional woodworking hand tools, this shop reflects Paolo’s interest in diesel engines and old machines. Enjoy seeing works in progress while enjoying a fiddle tune!
Studio #2 on the map is Yew Mountain Center. This is an educational non-profit that provides programs which explore Appalachian ecology, culture, and the arts. Local guest crafters will here all weekend to present fun Make-And-Take Projects for all ages that explore everything Appalachian! While you’re here, take a hike or a canoe ride in the pond. Lunch and will be available here both days and Saturday evening will be rounded out with dinner and music at 6pm!
Studio #3 on the map is Wannabe Farm Artist. Several artists will have ongoing demonstrations.Eric Stahl and Cynthia Guerrerie will demonstrate Forming Functional Pottery both wheel thrown and hand built and preparing it ready for the first firing. Finished items will be for sale. On Saturday only, Cynthia will demonstrate her carving technique on Clay Ink Pots. She will have ink pots, medicine cups, quill pens and pokeberry ink for sale. Deb Ann Walker, a long-time quilter, will exhibit hand-quilting. Feel free to ask her questions as she loves to educate folks about quilt-making. A selection of her gorgeous goods will be available for sale. Dawn Baldwin Barett will provide a display of wild West Virginia Herbs, traditionally harvested for culinary and medicinal purposes. Several herbal teas will be available for tasting. Products she makes for numerous galleries may be available for sale. Cristin Bartlet will address her process in creating Resin Pendants that are embedded with flowers, herbs and even rocks! Regina Benedict will show her method in making several Crochet items. This will include West Virginia Christmas Stockings and Amigurumi crochet characters. She will also have her Acrylic Painted Barn Quilt Squares available in various sizes. Barefoot Woods will help in the process of “Make and Take” Mini Magic Wands (adults and children need magic in their lives!) Other wooden projects will be on display. They are avid “scroungers” looking for items to bring to new life and purpose.
Studio #4 on the map is BrenWood Forge and Broom. Here you will explore several different artisans as well as an Appalachian Hand-Tied Broomshop and a working Blacksmith Shop. Brenda Harman (pictured above) with Appalachian Hand-Tied Brooms and Brushes makes everyday chores a pleasure to perform. She handcrafts brooms in the traditional styles using twine colors that complement the sturdy broom corn material and distinctive wood handles. They are bought nationally and beyond. The BrenWood Forge will be in full swing with Blacksmith Robert Rush stoking the fires in the forge and hammering on the anvil. Janet Hunt creates beautiful Fairyscapes by utilizing various elements of nature. The connection of colorful and textural material and magical daydreams of garden parties hosted by fairies comes alive in Janet’s work. Mike VonStetina has spent the past 10 years working on his 1878 farmhouse. Somewhat new to Wood-Turning, he has taken up the lathe, experimenting with different techniques and types of wood that are found ready at hand. Kathryn Lehotsky specializes in Trout Paintings. She is a nationally known, award-winning wildlife artist, born and raised in West Virginia. She is a Best of West Virginia Tamarack Artist and her work is on permanent display at the National Folk Art Museum in NYC and the Hermitage Museum in Nashville. Suzanne Williams of Treat Your Senses has been touchy-feely since childhood. Taking silk roving and other fibers to create Wall Hangings, Cards and 3-D Forms, using copper and other metals to create Jewelry and other items. She also picks/buys local fruits to create One-Of-A-Kind Jams in her heirloom copper kettle. Stan Cook’s Wood Creations are made even more beautiful, as he enhances them with inlay, dyes, carving and other surface adornments. Meticulous with his sanding and finishing, basic bowls and platters are works of art. Malinda Carr is relatively new to Wire-Working but would never know it by the precision involved in her use of thin, almost tiny, copper wire. The beauty of the Jewelry she creates, using copper wire alone or with semi-precious stones make them sought-out items at Tamarack and other fine galleries. Tracey Walker has been an admirer of Pottery for years and then decided to “get muddy” herself. She enjoys using the wheel but also likes to use nature to help with forms, imprints and shapes.
Watch artists make what they love and if you appreciate what you see, purchase their art for memories you will treasure forever. Payment is accepted through cash or credit card. Make a weekend of it and stay the weekend! Lodging and camping is available on site at Yew Mountain Center.
Paolo Marks Violins is located at 10572 Lobelia Rd. Hillsboro, WV (304) 653-2037
Yew Mountain Center is located at 9494 Lobelia Rd. Hillsboro, WV (304) 653-4079 – Main Contact is Erica Marks
Wannabe Farm Artists is located at 5687 Denmar Rd. Hillsboro, WV (304) 653-4164
BrenWood Forge & Broom is located at 8798 Denmar Rd. Hillsboro, WV (304) 653-8550 – Main contact is Brenda Harman
Follow this event at facebook.com/events/234862607648613/ or search “Droop Mountain Studios Tour” Social distancing and mask wearing is strongly encouraged by artisans and tour organizers. This event is hosted by BrenWood Forge & Broom, Mountain Arts District, The Yew Mountain Center, and Suzanne Williams. | Find this article at hashtagwv.com
Pictured above: Pottery by Tracey Walker
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– HashtagWV #125. August 2020.