[caption id="attachment_81951" align="alignleft" width="400"]<img src="https:\/\/pocahontastimes.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/sites\/25\/2021\/06\/DSC_0006.jpg" alt="" width="400" height="574" class="size-full wp-image-81951" \/> Cristin Bartlett stands with some of her sculptures that are ready to be fired \u2013 birdhouses, cups, bowls and mugs. In addition to being an artist, Bartlett is also a serious gardener and an entrepreneur. Her new business is Saffron Flats Farms on Rt. 219 on Droop Mountain. L.D. Bennett photo[\/caption]\r\n\r\nLaura Dean Bennett\r\nStaff Writer\r\n\r\nMeet Cristin Bartlett, a Renaissance woman who is as enthusiastic about life as she is multi-talented.\r\n\r\nShe\u00a0\u00a0is an artist, a farmer, a Certified Nursing Assistant and a professional ceramic tile installer who had her own tile business before moving to Pocahontas County.\u00a0\r\n\r\nBartlett is an entrepreneur by nature.\r\n\r\nShe\u2019s just started a business on Droop Mountain called Saffron Flats Farms. \u00a0\r\n\r\nWhen she\u2019s not creating something, she\u2019s nurturing her family and spending time giving back to her community.\r\n\r\nHere less than three years, Bartlett has dug right into the fabric of Pocahontas County - making friends and building a business in her adopted home.\r\n\r\nShe\u2019s affiliated with the Droop Mountain Arts and Craft Studio Tours; a member of the Farmland Protection Board and the Pocahontas County Artisans Guild; she\u2019s on Pocahontas County Arts Council and is a member of the Humane Society of Pocahontas County.\r\n\r\nAnd if those commitments weren\u2019t enough, she\u2019s also homeschooling her 11-year-old daughter. \u00a0\r\n\r\nBartlett and her \u201cbetter half,\u201d Faunce Creamer, and their daughter, Alary, lived in Ocala, Florida before moving to Pocahontas County in 2018.\u00a0\r\n\r\nIn addition to their immediate family, Cristin\u2019s mother and grandmother, made the move to West Virginia, too.\u00a0\r\n\r\nBartlett is third generation Florida native.\u00a0\r\n\r\nHer family and Faunce\u2019s family were close friends, \u201cso it seems like we\u2019ve always known each other,\u201d Bartlett said.\r\n\r\n\u201cPeople often ask why we moved here, and I tell them that it\u2019s almost like it was meant to be,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\nBartlett grew up in the country in Tennessee not far from Fall Creek Falls State Park.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cWe had a farm and a garden, and we had horses.\r\n\r\n\u201cBut life moved on and there we all were in Florida - Faunce, Alary and me in Ocala, and my mother and grandmother in the Tampa area.\r\n\r\n\u201cBut it just got too congested for us.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cWe loved the mountains and the changing seasons, and we just felt like we had to get back to that.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were looking for a more relaxed way of life \u2013 someplace in the Appalachian Mountains.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt would have to be a good place for Alary to grow up and have nice schools in case she wanted to go to public school.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt would need to have medical care available not too far away because my mom and grandmother would be moving with us, and it would have to be someplace where Faunce and I would have work \u2013 he had worked for Walgreens, and I have a CNA license.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe also knew we wanted to have a farm and, ideally, I wanted to be able to start another business \u2013 either an agricultural or an art business \u2013 or maybe both,\u201d Bartlett explained.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe thought about going home to Tennessee, but my mom said it was just getting too crowded there.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe looked in North Carolina and Kentucky before we finally decided on Pocahontas County.\u201d\r\n\r\nPocahontas County had everything her family was looking for \u2013 the most state parks and national forest land, beautiful mountains and friendly people.\r\n\r\n\u201cWell, it wasn\u2019t exactly like closing our eyes and putting a finger on a map, but almost,\u201d she said.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe were looking for the greenest place in the Appalachian mountains \u2013 and, by golly, we found it.\r\n\r\n\u201cAs soon as we started visiting here and looking around for property, we fell in love.\r\n\r\n\u201cAnd it didn\u2019t take long to make friends.\r\n\r\n\u201cOnce we decided to move here, it didn\u2019t seem like it took very long for everything to come together. It was like it was meant to be.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe started visiting here and my mom and grandmother found a place in the Droop Mountain area.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cWe kept looking for property \u2013 we stayed in the Marlinton Motor Inn and even camped up at my mom\u2019s house in Jacox for a while.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cThen, all of a sudden it all came together.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe sold our home in Florida, closed on the property in the\u00a0Brush Country\u00a0and Faunce got a job as a Shift Manager at Walgreens almost simultaneously.\u201d\r\n\r\nThis family is homesteading in a big way.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe started gardening right away \u2013 everything we\u2019ve planted is edible all the way down to the mushroom beds which produced over six pounds just last month,\u201d Bartlett said, proudly.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe have a lot of animals at the farm - rabbits, ducks, chickens, some wonderfully mischievous goats and a cat named Smudge. \r\n\u00a0\r\n\u201cWe milk the goats, and I\u2019ve been making yogurt from the milk.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe have some maple trees and have been doing some sugaring \u2013 so we have a little of our own maple syrup.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cGoodness gracious, ma-ple syrup over goat yogurt is just wonderful,\u201d she enthused.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019ve also have added bees, so we\u2019ll have honey, too.\u201d\r\n\r\nWhen she\u2019s not gardening, Bartlett has been building her business, Saffron Flats Farms LLC.\u00a0\r\n\r\nSaffron Flats Farms owns the building on top of Droop Mountain where Anne Walker is leasing space for her art business \u2013 Handmade West Virginia. \u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cAnne moved her business, Handmade West Virginia, into the building, and I\u2019m starting a produce market there, too.\u00a0\r\n\r\nI\u2019m hoping that local farmers and our neighbors will also find it a good spot for them to wholesale or consign some of their crops and products there.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m hoping that the location will be a good place for all of us \u2013 me and my neighbors \u2013 to sell vegetables, homemade jams and jellies, baked goods and meats. \u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cDirectly behind the Saffron Flats Farms building will be the first of what we envision will be at least two high tunnels where we\u2019ll grow strawberries,\u201d Bartlett explained.\r\n\r\n\u201cCustomers who like to pick the berries themselves will find it comfortable to pick because they\u2019ll be grown in planters set at a comfortable height,\u201d she continued.\r\n\r\n\u201cI came from a long line of dirt farmers and I\u2019m still a dirt farmer,\u201d she said.\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019m 44 years old, and I\u2019ve always worked hard and I expect I always will.\u201d\r\n\r\nBesides being a farmer, Bartlett is also an artist with an associate degree.\r\n\r\n\u201cI\u2019ve always been an artist and worked in most mediums at one point or another and I like to learn new techniques.\r\n\r\n\u201cI don\u2019t really know how to describe my artistic side \u2013 I just say, \u2018I\u2019m Cris and I\u2019m an artist!\u2019\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cMind you, that doesn\u2019t mean I\u2019m good \u2013 but I am passionate,\u201d she insisted, with a laugh.\r\n\r\nI watched Bartlett finish sculpting one of her beautiful birdhouses.\r\n\r\nShe started with a leaf which she cut while still green and soaked in vegetable glycerin.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt keeps it soft and pliable indefinitely \u2013 this one is about four years old,\u201d Bartlett said as she showed it to me. \u00a0\r\n\r\nShe uses the leaf as a template for some of her bird house roofs.\r\n\r\nAfter she rolls out the clay and cuts it into the correct shape, she uses a rolling pin to imprint the leaf details into the clay.\r\n\r\nShe says her charming birdhouses are suitable for bluebirds, house wrens and sparrows.\r\n\r\nIn addition to several birdhouses ready to be fired, Bartlett had a collection of cups, bowls, mugs and charming animals set on her work table, ready for the next step in the process.\r\n\r\nHer Great Danes and kittens were adorable and lifelike.\u00a0\r\n\r\nShe is new to sculpting, but you would never know it.\r\n\r\nShe is the kind of person who just jumps right in.\r\n\r\nBartlett was barely here a year before she found herself getting stuck into the art community.\r\n\r\nShe learned how to sculpt from Cynthia Gurerri after meeting Gurerri at the Marlinton Elementary Heritage Fair in the fall of 2019.\u00a0\r\n\r\nSoon after Bartlett was taking pottery classes with her.\u00a0\r\n\r\nShe must be a talented student and Gurerri must be an excellent teacher, because Bartlett\u2019s sculptures are quite nice.\r\n\r\nAlso that fall, Cristin met Margaret Baker who invited her to come to the Art Guild and work on some watercolor painting.\r\n\r\n\u201cDuring last year\u2019s Droop Mountain studio tour, I made acrylic and dried flower pendants at Cyla Allison\u2019s Wannabe Farms.\r\n\r\n\u201cThis year I\u2019ll be on the Droop Mountain studio tour again.\r\n\r\nThis time I\u2019ll be offering make-and-take birdhouses which we\u2019ll be making from a bevy of the gourds we grew last year.\r\n\r\n\u201cIt should be a really fun project,\u201d she said with a smile.\r\n\r\nSaffron Flats Farms is selling beets, lettuces and greens, blue potato medley (a combination of blue, white and russet potatoes) and carrots, with beans, tomatoes, fresh eggs and poultry meat coming soon.\r\n\r\n\u201cWe\u2019re hopeful that Sandy Simmons will continue to supply us with her wonderful sourdough bread. It\u2019s so good!\u00a0\r\n\r\n\u201cLocal farmers who\u2019d like to set up at the Farmer\u2019s Market, are welcome to come,\u201d Bartlett said.\r\n\r\n\u201cThere\u2019s no long-term commitment necessary - just a daily set-up fee of $5.\u201d\u00a0\r\n\r\nMeet Cristin Bartlett at the Farmer\u2019s Market and check out Anne Walker\u2019s Handmade West Virginia shop from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturdays at Saffron Flats Farms on top of Droop Mountain near Tom\u2019s Barber Shop.