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Droop Mountain Open Studio Tours ~ ‘wander the backroads and discover artists at work’

More than 30 Pocahontas County and surrounding area artists will display, demonstrate and sell their artwork at the second annual Droop Mountain Open Studio Tours event September 12 and 13. The artists will be at four locations in the Droop Mountain area, offering a glimpse of the many talents they hold, as well as providing make and take projects for visitors.

Suzanne Stewart
Staff Writer

Pocahontas County has a rich history of raising and drawing in artists and crafters of all mediums. Whether they grew up nurtured by her culture and creativity, or were simply pulled into her welcoming embrace – artists have found a home in Pocahontas County.

Working together, a community of artists created the Droop Mountain Open Studio Tours – a four stop tour through the Droop Mountain area where artists and crafters will demonstrate and sell their work.

The event was founded last year by artisans Woody and Brenda Harman with open tours at their studio – Brenwood Forge and Broom.

The art world lost Woody this year, but his wife and fellow artists will continue the tradition he helped create when they host the second annual Open Studios Tours Saturday and Sunday, September 12 and 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The tour has expanded to include more than 30 artists at four locations – Brenwood Forge and Broom, Wannabe Farm, Yew Mountain Center and the studio of Paolo Marks.

Wannabe Farm’s Cyla Allison explained that the event has grown to include as many artists – and mediums – as possible as a celebration of the county’s extensive art community.

“We’re doing all this just to promote the arts, and we hope to sell a few of our own pieces,” Allison said. “You can spend all day just wandering about and not spend a penny or you can buy a piece of art. We’re pretty excited about it. It’s COVID-19 safe. It’s outdoors – most of it – and we’re asking people to wear masks and maintain a safe distance.”

Along with selling and displaying their artwork, the artists and crafters will be demonstrating their work. Several will have “make and take” stations where visitors can create their own art.

Allison, who is well-known for her vibrant watercolors, will lead a jelly print station.

“And you say, ‘what are jelly prints?’” she said. “I didn’t know either, and I fell in love with them because they’re just so much fun. It’s an impressionable surface and you squirt the paint on it. You get to choose two colors and then, you roll the colors onto this surface and then you put things on the surface like stencils or bubble wrap or a dried leaf. Then you take the paper and put the item on it and you rub it, so that when you pick up the paper, you have this gorgeous design.

“Anybody can do it,” she continued. “From grandpas and grandmas, to four year olds. Instantly, you’re an artist. It only takes a few minutes.”

The list of artists is lengthy and the mediums they have perfected are many.

Appearing at one of the four locations are:

• Cyla Allison, watercolor prints and cards and jelly prints make and take

• Eric Stahl, pottery

• Cynthia Gurreri, pottery and clay jewelry

• Dianne Monroe and Sarah Moss of Barefoot Woods, upcycled art and magical wands make and take

• Chris Bartlett, jewelry

• DebAnn Walker, quilting

• Jeremiah Manahan, napping – making tools from stone and organic material

• Dawn Baldwin, goat milk soap and wild grown herbal teas

• Tiki Hall, watercolor prints

• Stan Cook, woodturning

• Kevin Stitzinger, stone carving

• Mateus Stitzinger, clay sculptures

• Cree Lahti, clay printed jewelry

• Robert Rush, forge and blacksmithing

• Janet Hunt, fairy houses and natural material wreaths

• Malinda Carr, wire weaver and jewelry

• Kathy Lehotsky, wildlife watercolors

• Brenda Harman, handmade brooms

• Ron Ferguson, wooden cutting boards

• Mike VonStetina, wood turner

• Helena Gondry, Zentangle drawings

• Tracy Walker, pottery

• Suzanne Williams, silk fusion

• Cheryl Beverage, knitting and painting

• Laurie Cameron, photography

• Margaret Baker, card making make and take

• Katie Mullens, jewelry

• Robin Tywoniw, cookie decorating and painted gourds

• Marlyn McLaughlin, veggie rice bowls

For updates on the event, visit the Droop Mountain Artisans Facebook page.

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