At the first Ronceverte Food Truck Festival, HashtagWV had the chance to visit with local artist Ena Basler at their vendor booth for their New Mourning Art. Despite near-constant crowds, Ena gave us a glimpse into their variety of art creations, including custom pet portraits, line art, and vibrant resin earrings (that are all lightweight and hypoallergenic)!
First off, who are you?
I’m Ena, and I moved back home to West Virginia during the Covid pandemic. I originally thought that I was only going to stay here for 4 months, and yet here I am 3 years later. I farm and build and make jewelry, and also work retail.
Yeah! We homestead on our farm. I live on a large piece of property with 4 other families, my parents included, so I help take care of the farm and do the heavy lifting and gardening, and drive the tractor. I grew up on this farm and hated it until I turned 18, but now I love it. It’s very strange.
What all do you make?
I make hand cut prints, mostly of animals, and I do pet portraits. I also make resin jewelry.
What is your favorite thing to make?
Where can people find your things?
Physically, you can find my earrings for sale at Wolf Creek, and also on my website at https://new-mourning-art.square.site/. With pet portraits, I do a sliding scale with pricing so everyone can afford it. $30-$125, because I know everyone wants art, of their pet and I want to make sure everyone can have one.
Can you tell us how you make your earrings?
I use alcohol inks to make the colors, and then I have different molds that I pour them into. It’s been a lot of trial and error to get it right. If it’s not right the resin can be sticky and soft. One time I tried to take a piece out of the mold and it hadn’t set right, and it literally stuck to my hand. You have to remove it with acetone.
Do you have any advice for a young artist?
Don’t compare your art to anyone else’s. It doesn’t matter what you make, it’s amazing because you made it!
Behind the name New Mourning:
I spent my 20s trying to get as far away from home as possible, only to end up back in West Virginia because of the pandemic. This created a very new type of mourning for myself. The loss of friends, my career, access to the arts, access to Indian food, the fear of a country that so desperately wants to snuff out queer people. That mourning eventually turned into joy when I fell back in love with the landscape I so desperately tried to escape. Rediscovering the depth of Appalachian culture was incredibly healing for me. I found my community again and found safe spaces within it.
Follow “New Mourning Art” on Facebook to stay up to date! Visit https://new-mourning-art.square.site/ to shop!