Arts, crafts plenty at festival

September 30, 2002|by CANDICE BOSELY

Steve Adams sat underneath a tent, slowly chipping away at a green piece of wood that, in eight to 10 hours, would be a dough bowl.

Adams, of Martinsburg, makes hand-hewn bowls, some of which sell for hundreds of dollars.

He was one of more than 150 vendors who set up underneath tents at the 27th Annual Fall Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival. Held at Sam Michaels Park on Job Corps Road, the festival continues today and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Art prints, rugs, furniture, matted photographs, pottery, leather goods, toys, quilts, jewelry, musical instruments, clothing, food, apples and apple cider and other items were available. Bluegrass bands perform throughout the day.


Like many others at the festival, Adams started his craft as a hobby. His first bowl, which was on display, now holds business cards.

Since taking a three-day course on the art, Adams makes 25 to 30 bowls a year from wood he obtains near Richwood, W.Va.

With proper care, one of Adams' bowls could last hundreds of years, he said.

"To visualize something in your mind and to be able to create it out of a piece of living wood. ...," Adams, 61, said. "Plus, it teaches me patience."

Around the corner, at Nature's Creations, many people - especially women - stopped at Don and Edith Ann Ray's booth. There, one could buy pins, earrings and other jewelry made from real foliage and garden products.

Ray said she, her husband and their son, Dennis, get most of the foliage from around her home. Leaves and other items are electronically coated with enough copper to make the object solid. Color is then added, along with a protective coat. Many of the items for sale Friday were in typical autumn hues like red, orange and yellow.

Ray, who is from the North Bethesda/Rockville, Md., area, said her family has been making the items for about 27 years. Their craftsmanship also began as a hobby.

"(We) learned from an old man in the mountains in Colorado," Ray said.

This is their 20th year at the Harpers Ferry festival.

In another tent, Tim Johnson's black and white photographs seemed to catch some eyes. Each depicted a scene, many of a battlefield, containing ghost-like transparent images of Civil War soldiers.

Asked how he creates the photographs, Johnson pointed to a display which outlines the process.

First, he poses a re-enactor at the site. He halves the exposure and takes a shot. After that, being careful not to move his camera or the background, Johnson takes a second photo of the same spot, minus the re-enactor.

A Shepherd College graduate, Johnson, 44, said he was able to combine his love of photography and the Civil War. He took his first such image more than 20 years ago, and began doing it full-time about eight years ago.

This year, he will display work at 26 shows.

"It touches a lot of people, which is what I really want," said Johnson, of Falling Waters, W.Va.

Images of Gettysburg, Pa., seem to be the most sought, Johnson said, but, around here, photos of Antietam and Harpers Ferry, W.Va., also are popular.

As Johnson talked, a dark sky seemed to threaten rain, and many people strolling through the tents carried unopened umbrellas.

Opinions varied on whether the weather affected turnout. Ray, the jewelry maker, said no.

"People know this show," she said. "This (rain) isn't going to stop anybody from coming."

Johnson disagreed.

"There's nobody here," he said. "The weather has just kept people away."

Weather did not keep Veronica Cartier, of Alexandria, Va., from coming to the festival.

All she'd purchased as of Friday afternoon was some soap.

Cartier said it's the atmosphere that makes her attend the festival, held in the spring and fall, at least once a year.

"Even if I don't buy anything, I like to walk around, eat and listen to the music," she said.

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