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Whimsy meets function at W.Va. crafts festival

June 10, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

katec@herald-mail.com

Mary Louise Mahoney said the Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival is her favorite show.

The 33rd installment of the event will open Friday, June 11, and run through Sunday, June 13.

What's not to like? Bluegrass will be performed by musicians who have been playing at the festival for years: Colin Dunbar and Sleepy Creek, Jay Smar, Critton Hollow String Band, The First Generation and Patent Pending.

"If it ain't broken, don't fix it," said Mary Via, executive director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, which presents the festival in the spring and fall.

There will be plenty of food and craftspeople - about 200 of them. Baskets, decorative painting and folk art, dolls and stuffed animals, furniture, musical instruments, quilts and photography will be among the many offerings.

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Mahoney is the creator of Wild Women jewelry. Her work has been selected for the juried show for nine years. The former special education teacher will be back this weekend with her whimsical jewelry, her crew and a collection of party hats to celebrate if anyone should mention it's her birthday.

Mahoney handcrafts "wild women" in various roles. She has more than 200 designs, including one commissioned by the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. There are teachers, nurses and other professions, as well as a "supermom" and a "church lady."

Mahoney likes the show, in part, because the festival sponsors are good to the artists. She also likes the opportunity to see the work of other craftspeople. She has some Willow Creek Pottery in her Gaithersburg, Md., kitchen, and she'll have a chance to buy some more.

Willow Creek Pottery - Rod Meyer and Karri Benedict - will be back at Mountain Heritage - for their sixth year.

The Waynesboro, Pa., couple does about 18 to 20 shows annually.

All Willow Creek Pottery pieces are handcrafted. Most of them are functional - dinnerware, mugs and bowls. Willow Creek bowls have been part of the Potter's Bowl, an annual fund-raiser for the Community Free Clinic in Hagerstown.

The couple also offers other pieces as an interpretation of the time-honored Japanese firing technique known as raku.

Meyer said he is looking forward to the weekend. The atmosphere is nice, and artisans' exhibits all are under tents, so the show can go on even if it rains.

"There's something for everyone," he said.




If you go...



33rd annual spring Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival

10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, June 11, through Sunday, June 13

Sam Michaels Park, Job Corps Road between Shepherdstown and Charles Town, W.Va.

Admission costs $6, adults; $3, ages 6 to 17; free for those younger than 6.

Call 1-800-624-0577 or go to www.jeffersoncounty.com/festival on the Web.

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