2023 SFWV Artwork
About the Artist
Lee Ann Billups Blevins
Lee Ann Billups Blevins is a native of Kenova, West Virginia, where she currently resides with her husband of 36 years, Dennis Blevins. She graduated from Marshall University with a degree in art education in 1987. She is a retired art educator of 31 1/2 years in Cabell County, WV, and is a current member of Allied Artists of WV, Tri-State Arts Association of WV, and Tamarack Artisans of WV. She specializes in portraits of people and pets, with several works being accepted into the WV DNR Wildlife Calendars.
Her work has been included in shows at Huntington Museum of Art, Gallery Eleven of Charleston, Grayson Gallery in Grayson, Kentucky, Parkersburg Art Center, Mathena Center in Princeton, WV, and Tamarack. She most enjoys working in oils, creating portraits that capture the true spirit of her commissioned subjects and bringing them to life on canvas. Her work is currently sold at The Jewel Art Gallery of Ashland, Kentucky.
In addition to creating art, Lee Ann has a passion for nature, travel, and adventure. In addition to hiking and kayaking, she has rappelled off the New River Gorge Bridge, snorkeled Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan. Lee Ann strives to create art that will be meaningful and thought-provoking to the viewer.
2023 SFWV Basket
About the Designer
Mike and Judy McDade
Mike and Judy McDade bought their 1860’s home in 1990 after falling in love with the house as well as Monroe County. In 1994, Judy quit her job and decided to go into business on her own. After trying a few basket kits, she decided basket making was worth a try. Armed with a little knowledge and time on her side, Jamit! Baskets began.
After 30 years of book keeping for others, she already had the business experience and jumped in with both feet. In 1995, Mike and Judy attended a trade show sponsored by WV with Governor Caperton’s blessing. The show was a great break for them.
QVC Home Shopping Network chose their original design, the “Molly Basket”, for their show “50 States in 50 Weeks”. They had 10 weeks to produce 500 finished baskets. Mike and Judy set a goal of 50 finished baskets each week. They were very careful not to get ill, worked until 11 pm on weeknights, and even later on weekends. With drive and determination they finished their baskets in time, and were able to make the show, which they did live in Charleston. In five minutes of national air time they sold 200 baskets. The rest sold after the broadcast.
According to Judy, “I tell this story because after we succeeded with this order, nothing was going to de-rail our goal to make it in the weaving business. Mike became my partner with this order. Without him I could have never gotten 500 baskets done in the time frame I was given.”
Mike and Judy are self-taught weavers. Judy says, “Books are our teachers. Learning different weaving styles and techniques is a good start to basket making. The best way to improve as a basket maker, is to keep doing it. There really isn’t a wrong way of weaving as long as it works for you and you achieve the finished basket you had envisioned. Eventually the weaving medium you like to use will win out.”
Judy prefers flat and flat oval reed for weaving, and likes doing production basket making. Mike prefers the “one of a kind” basket, and his are just that. He studies his wood, antler, wisteria or tree vine and visualizes the basket form. Mike’s favorite weaving medium is round reed and seagrass. Row after row of any of these mediums will produce a strong weighted basket.
Mike and Judy also grow willow. Each year they harvest the willow before Spring, cutting the rods down to the stool (rod base). Next, it is separated by type, tied and placed in a dry shed for a year. Last year’s harvest is removed. Willow is a biomass material. It is beautiful through all the seasons, and makes excellent charcoal pencils and basket accents.
Mike and Judy’s house came with an established bamboo forest, and they are always looking for ways to incorporate bamboo into their baskets.
2023 SFWV Ornament
About Blenko Glass Company
Blenko Glass Company has been a family owned and operated company since 1893. They have been located in Milton, WV since 1921. Exquisite color, skilled craftsmen, and imaginative designs have made Blenko famous in the time-honored craft of hand-blown glass. In a world of ever increasing automation, Blenko prides themselves in paying particular attention to the forms and designs of their handmade products.
Adult T-Shirt Green
Adult T-Shirt Pink
Bib- Blue and Seafoam
Bib- Pink and Purple
About the Designer
Elizabeth is the designer at Charlie’s Market. She grew up in Lewisburg, West Virginia. It’s a small WV town full of lovely locals, mountain adventures, and farmland. And to her free-spirited hearts surprise, she continues to call this sleepy little town home.
Elizabeth has been an artist at heart since she was a little girl with an arm full of friendship bracelets and a room full of doodles.
Elizabeth’s first designs began with rusty skeleton keys given to her by her grandfather, Charlie. After mentioning her need of them for a project, he traipsed up the hill to his old shed, returning with a bag full of odd-and-end keys he had collected through the years. He knew they would one day have purpose.
That was kind of his thing. There was never a soul too worn out or tattered to be tossed out. He had a heart as big as the sky and wanted new life in Christ for every person he met.
When he passed, Elizabeth designed necklaces for each aunt and cousin as a token of his love for them and as a reminder to continue on with his legacy.
From that point on, she has had a desire to create beautiful, meaningful jewelry so that you, too, can have a piece of legacy.
Of course, now Elizabeth uses a little more color and usually the focal pieces are new, but her intent is still the same. She wants you to feel beautiful and worthy and overwhelmingly loved.
Hat- Sky Tie-dye
Hat- Vintage Green
Youth and Toddler Shirt Green
Youth and Toddler Shirt Pink