You can’t beat it. Driving in the warmth of your own car, following a map and visiting local artists in their own studios.
I had the pleasure of taking two Studio Tours last month almost in my own backyard at Red Hill.
Several weeks before Thanksgiving my friends Bob, Carolyn and Katy took a short drive through Shepherdstown. From there we followed Rt.1 through Kearneysville to begin our tour at Heirloom Baskets, Brown Shop Bears & Fran Brolle’s Sterling Silver Jewelry in the village of Middleway.
From Middleway we worked our way back to Shepherstown, stopping at Ren and Pam Parziale wheel-thrown stoneware. Joy Bridy’s wood-fired pottery was next. Bridy’s pottery is fired in a wood-fired kiln she built by hand. Across the street and down a gravel road we found Eric Johnson’s historical working farm where he does his black-smithing.
The best part of this tour was visiting these wonderful homesteads. We wrapped up our Sunday adventure back in Shepherdstown at the home of Doug Kinnett, Paintings & Tile Creations. One of a kind pieces of Mixed-Media Wall Pieces were on dsplay by Rebecca Grace Jones.
After our tour we had a splendid dining experience at the Blue Moon Cafe in Shepherdstown.
And if this Jefferson County Studio Tour wasn’t enough, I had the pleasure of buzzing around the Pleasant Vallley the weekend before Thanksgiving with my good friends Bret & Rich in Rich’s new Suburu. This tour truly is in the backyard of Red Hill. We first drove down to the Historic Jacob House on Main Street Keedysville. Here we found Miller’s Candles, Allyson’s Pottery and a nice variety of woodwork, local honey and tree ornaments. I met the owner Diane and dabbled in some delightful hand balm.
From Jacob’s house we drove out to Rt. 67 to visit one of my all time favorite potters-Bill Van Gilder. His studio was bustling with folks shopping for the Holiday season. Hand thrown bowls, mugs and many other beautiful pieces were available in his rustic but warm studio.
From here we hopped back in the car for a drive through Burkittsville to Distillery Lane Ciderworks on Gapland Road in Jefferson. Cider and apples were offered at this unique orchard. I came home with a bag of delicious Russet apples.
This tour we took is call the Valley Craft Network Studio Tour. It’s held every year the weekend before Thanksgiving and is a fabulous way to support local artists and shop for upcoming Holiday Seasons.
From Ciderworks we went back through Burkittsville to M4 Studios on Mt. Briar Rd. in Keedysville. Kirke Martin creates wood-fired ceramics here. He took time to walk Bret, Rich and I through the firing process and showed us the interesting kiln he built in the slop of his backyard.
What a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon. For more information visit: Studio Tour West Virginia and Valley Craft Network Studio Tour