Top 15 Tamarack Artists
In commemoration of Tamarack's 15th anniversary, we celebrate the talents of some of its top artists.
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Designs by Shelley
A Tamarack artist since 2005, Shelley Goodman says she would not be where she is today if it weren’t for the love and support of her husband, parents, and sister. But Shelley’s own talent and faith have helped, too. “If you want something badly enough and if you work hard enough, then it’s yours for the taking and it will happen,” she says.
Shelley’s journey began 20 years ago when she decided to make her own outdoor Christmas decorations, with a little help from her dad, a jigsaw, and some paint. After that, Shelley was hooked on painting—she bought a book and started mastering her craft by painting hummingbirds, roses, and other designs on wooden chairs her dad made. In 2002, after the loss of her father, Shelley enveloped herself in painting and discovered enamel paints. “I was drawn to painting on glass surfaces because I love the functionality of a candy bowl decorated with roses or a vase decorated with irises and butterflies or an ornament decorated with a cardinal or a snowman,” Shelley says. “I love taking an ordinary piece of glass and then with paint turning it into something extraordinary.”
KATHY M. HANBY
“I have been doing crafty things since I was very young,” Kathy M. Hanby says. “When I discovered stained glass, I fell in love with every aspect of the craft and have since made a name for myself in galleries and homes all along the east coast.”
Kathy has been working with glass for about 15 years and designs and creates all of her own work rather than using patterns. She uses a decorative soldering technique to give her glass the look of jewelry. “I can create anything from metal wall sculptures using fused glass to fused glass jewelry to flat glass panels. The variety keeps working with glass fresh and new for me.” Lately, Kathy’s work has been moving more into three-dimensional creations. “In the future, I hope to see my ‘beveled glass conservatories’ adding beauty to homes, offices, and companies throughout the state. They are truly one of kind,” she says.
As a juried Tamarack artist for more than eight years, Kathy believes that: “Tamarack is the most important business for me and West Virginia artists. They have pulled from the hills and valleys some of the state’s best artists who would never have been discovered otherwise.”
Amalea Jewelry at
The Little Studio
Amy Johns makes sure to follow her own advice to artists by “learning as much as you can about your chosen medium.” She says, “I plan to keep taking classes, learning from others, and teaching myself new skills. I’m excited about what’s next!” She encourages other artists to “always try to push your art to the next level; don’t settle. Do it for the love of the art, and if you’re lucky, the money will follow.”
About 10 years ago, Amy wandered into a local bead store, remembering she had some broken jewelry around the house. She bought new stones to go with the old ones, and she started making fun, new pieces. When she started wearing her handmade jewelry to work, friends and co-workers asked her to make pieces for them. After that, she got into doing crafts shows and festivals.
But what really drew her to her work, she says, was “working with my hands and using cool tools to create something that makes people say, ‘Wow.’ I still get a thrill every time I light my torch and see the solder glow and flow.”
Setting up shop as an artist in West Virginia has been a rewarding experience for Amy. “The state has a rich culture and tradition that truly embraces handcrafted work. I have met so many wonderful people who have followed my progress as an artist and supported me.”
As a juried Tamarack artist, Amy says, “Tamarack has done more for my life as an artist than anything else. The opportunities I’ve had through Tamarack have brought added value to my work and given me credibility as an artist. People recognize the prestige of Tamarack, and it’s an honor to be able to call myself a Tamarack artist.”
Amy Johns, Amalea Jewelry at The Little Studio, 709 Beechurst Avenue, Morgantown, WV 26505
Paul Latos has been making pottery for 42 years. He started in high school with the encouragement of a favorite teacher, but some of his earliest efforts started in the woods near his home in Windsor Heights. There, he would dig for the crude, unprocessed clay and make pinch pots and other simple vessels from materials that contained roots and pebbles. “It was hardly the refined clay I now have learned to use,” he says.
“Clay has a special feel shared by no other medium. It responds immediately to pressure and emotion that is expressed during the shaping of each creation. The tactile quality of clay varies with its composition and allows me to create a visual and physical mood that is portrayed in the patterns of the product.”
Paul has been involved with Tamarack even before its name was selected, and he participated in early advisory panels. Prior to Tamarack, Paul spent many weeks a year traveling to trade shows across the country. “Since I lived in rural, central West Virginia, it was essential that I establish business ventures in more populated areas outside the state,” he says. “My relationship with Tamarack has minimized my inefficient, costly, and time-consuming participation in trade shows and craft fairs, and has enabled me to devote more time to the creation of limited edition, artistic works.” Paul was surprised to learn he was selected as one of Tamarack’s Top 15 artists. “It is humbling to learn that so many people have confidence in my work.”
The Linn Pottery Studio and Gallery, 1035 Chapline Street, Wheeling, WV 26003; 304.905.8957
Donna Lohr dabbled in crochet, embroidery, photography, watercolor, pottery, and paper crafts before she settled into her Whimsical Woolies four years ago. “I love being part of creating a Whimsical Woolie because the adventure is always new. There is always the moment when I see who the Woolie wants to be and I love the welcome surprise of co-creating a little Woolie personality—me and the Whimsy,” Donna says.
For her, working with wool and wool felt is rewarding because the material feels good, comes in many colors and designs, and is a forgiving medium. She also loves the portability of wool because she can take her supplies anywhere. She became a juried artist at Tamarack in 2008. “Tamarack believed in me from the day I juried in as a timid, new, ‘official artist,’ which gave me the necessary confidence to continue exploring and expanding my craft. I believe Tamarack has given that same confidence to a lot of its artists.”
Acorn Ridge Woodworks
In his small shop on a wooded hilltop in Lincoln County, David MacCallum handcrafts children’s rocking and slat back “sittin’” chairs. “Although I have been a part-time carpenter and woodworker all of my adult life, only recently have I pursued woodworking as more of a full-time vocation,” David says. His chairs are made of red oak, black walnut, or cherry, much of which is locally grown. These woods are used because of their strength, workability, and beauty and represent one of the Mountain State’s greatest renewable local resources.
“I made my first rocking chair for my granddaughter, and as a woodworker, I was fascinated with the complexity of what seemed like a simple project. I realized why so few woodworkers become chair makers,” David says. His chairs are not your typical mass-produced kind, as he uses the traditional methods incorporated by chair makers for hundreds of years.
“After teaching elementary and middle school for the last 35 years I am now spending most of my days doing the thing I love to do most,” he says. “You can usually find me at my shop in the woods of Acorn Ridge. It is a lucky man indeed that has a passion to work with wood and the good fortune to be born within and still live in the great forests of the Appalachian Mountains.”
Acorn Ridge Woodworks, 18 Acorn Ridge, Alum Creek, WV 25003; 304.756.3996
Handbags by Tennile
Tennile Martin grew up surrounded by creative people. She dreamed of having her own business and began that endeavor 10 years ago when she taught herself how to sew and quilt. When she couldn’t find the kind of handbag she was looking for in retail stores, she decided to design her own. Several compliments later, Tennile had made her first few sales.
“You represent your work and your work represents you. I am proud to be a West Virginian artist, and I’ve actually made tags that I sew into each of my bags that read: ‘Made in WV, USA.’” Tennile became a Tamarack artist two years ago. “I feel that it is such an accomplishment to be juried into Tamarack. It has opened many doors for me.”
Tennile has plans for the future, including a line of little girls’ bags called the Little Miss Collection, a Bucket Bag that is great for book bags and traveling bags, and a cosmetic bag she hopes to introduce this summer. “I would love to have my bags available in shops all around our state,” she says. “I love working with fabric and creating new designs. There are so many options with fabric—clothes, curtains, pillows, handbags—and it’s fun to play with color and pattern and then add detail to your creation with hardware, ribbon, and so on. I get so excited when I see people’s reaction to the finished project.”