Arts and crafts are plentiful at W.Va. festival

June 11, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. -Some people just can't seem to get enough of Lucy Moore's stuff - her stuffed animals, puppets, pillows and blankets.

A woman who stopped by Moore's booth on Friday said she had purchased around 16 of Moore's handcrafted blankets - one for each child and grandchild and, now, her great-grandson.

"I bet 90 percent of our business goes to people who already have our things," said Moore, of Alabama, who has been selling her work at the Mountain Heritage Arts & Crafts Festival since it started 34 years ago.


Linda and Ray Krok, of Bowie, Md., try to come to the festival every year.

"I love it. It's clean. It's friendly," Linda Krok said. "They get some great crafts and art. What's not to come back for?"

She had purchased a belt for herself and another item for a friend.

Linda Townsend and Jamie DeShong came to the festival from Harrisburg, Pa.

"This is a very nice show," said DeShong, a first-timer patron. "I could tell it was juried."

Artists who hope to exhibit their work must show their items to a jury beforehand.

A good variety of items were available, as opposed to "whole rows of pottery," DeShong said.

Townsend said she likes to buy food items that she can combine into Christmas baskets, while DeShong said she is partial to scarves and clothing. Together, they were carrying a heavy flower pot.

Margaret Stricklett was walking under a tent, trying not to part too easily with her money. Although several items attracted her attention, she said she was trying to prevent herself from buying anything that was not original.

Or practical.

She handed over some money for a lavender plant and a doormat made from recycled rubber tires.

"My husband had a wonderful time going through the food aisle," said Stricklett, of Greenbelt, Md.

Exhibitors Corrine Graefe and her husband, Bill Graefe, own Phoenix Hardwoods. They make bed headboards, tables, trunks, cutting boards and other items from hardwood slabs.

The couple are self-taught woodworkers who own a sawmill in Floyd, Va.

"Both of us love wood and we love trees," said Corrine Graefe, a first-time exhibitor. "We love what we do."

Another exhibitor, Tom Rodriguez, makes sparkling nonalcoholic cider, apple butter and spreads with apples from the Shenandoah Valley.

He uses recipes created by his grandmother, said Rodriguez's wife, Sharon Bradshaw.

"First, he had to make them taste the way he and his sister remembered, which was a feat in itself," she said.

Items from nearly 175 craftspeople are available, including photography and art prints, jewelry, Christmas items, leather goods, dried flowers and herbs, metal products, musical instruments, candles, quilts, rugs and glasswork.

Held twice a year, the fall festival is scheduled for Sept. 23-25.

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