Archive for April, 2012

Sometimes, it is just how things are done in the Panhandle, guerilla style.

Here is some work from Autumn Beckett who is showing her work at the Wine & Gourmet Shop at 196 High Street, 304-535-1834.

copyright Autumn Beckett, reproduced and displayed here with permission.


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Please join the Bolivar and Harpers Ferry community for an Art Walk this coming weekend which will extend along Washington and High Street, from Bolivar to Harpers Ferry’s lower town. There has been a great response and, with fingers crossed, the Art Walk will be an annual event.

Over the past several weeks, participant and artist information has been posted here and on facebook. There is an interactive Map on Google.

Please refer to the Art Walk notes post for further information.

Events don’t come any more “grassroots” than this, and I want to thank everyone who took a chance and volunteered to participate.

I’m looking forward to seeing all the wonderful work!

Art Walk brochure

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I have some reason to believe that The Bolivar Bard was a resident at The Scottish Castle for some time and was named Mr. Rose. According to an article by David T. Cottingham that I found at the Harpers Ferry National Park Library, he was the uncle of the Castle’s last private owner, Mrs. Hallam. 

“An uncle of Mrs. Hallam’s … a Mr. Rose, lived in the castle the year-round as a sort of caretaker. Most residents of the area who ever visited the fabled structure did so as his guests in the ‘twenties. All were enthralled at the castle’s interior – and, as payment for the privilege, were obliged to stay and hear recitations of Mr. Rose’s own poetry or readings from Shakespeare. To intensify the dramatic impact of his renditions of the Bard’s drama, the self-styled poet-actor rigged a spotlight to shine on him during his performances.” 

At the Jefferson County Museum, I was able to see copies of  “The Mountain Echo,” published by the Woman’s Club of the District of Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, Vol. II. – No. 4, dated April 1921 which contained the following poem by The Bolivar Bard.


Hark! the voice of Spring is calling
“Earth, awake ! for life is here”
On my heart the soft tones falling,
Wake the sweetest music there.
All the world is full of gladness;
Humming bee and singing bird;
Put away all thoughts of sadness,
Come where Nature’s voice is heard,
Cara mia
Come where Nature’s voice is heard.

Now arbutus hides her flowers
Where the brown leaves thickly lie;
Golden sunshine, quickening showers,
Open the violet’s sweet blue eye.
Tender green the hills are showing,
Skies above are blue and fair.
Honey-scented winds are blowing,
Joyous life is everywhere –
Cara mia –
Joyous life is everywhere.

Let the dead past hide its sorrow,
Bid the golden present stay,
Take no thought of the tomorrow.
Life so sweet is ours today.
Where the pale wind-flower is swaying,
Ere the celandine departs.
Let us o’er the hills go straying,
With the springtime in our hearts,
Cara mia –
With the springtime in our hearts.

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On April 28 & 29 there will be an Art Walk from Bolivar to Harpers Ferry’s lower town. This character:

can be seen in Art Walk participant windows.  The print is based on an illustration of Maryland Heights by Granville Perkins for the publication “Picturesque America” published in 1893.

Harper’s Ferry.
With illustrations by Granville Perkins

“After a short but heavy rain the air was fresh and bracing on the October day when we started for Harper’s Ferry. There is no season so glorious in any country as an American autumn, and it is, above all, the time to see the mountains to the best advantage. The atmosphere, bright, clear and bracing, acts upon the frame like champagne ; the forests put on their livery of splendid dyes, and gold and crimson and sober brown are massed on all the hills, or set in a dark background of pine and hemlock. For this reason, seated in the cars of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad, and with the arriving and departing trains making discordant noises in our ears, we congratulate ourselves on the beauty of the day. …

The first near sight of the mountains is inevitably one of disappointment. Is it not thus withall the stupendous works of Nature ? The man who expects to stand spellbound and awe-stricken before Niagara,will find this emotion very commonplace in contrast to the exalted state of feeling he anticipated. Very seldom, indeed, are the combinations such as to present these scenes in all their impressive grandeur ; and rarer still is the mind that is capable of comprehending at once all that is taught by them. Yet those who have been merely summer sojourners among the “eternal hills,” can understand, if they have used their time wisely, why the mountaineer comes gradually to love them. He can feel, seeing them again, the force of the attachment that animated, thousands of years ago, the Hebrew people, whose strong places of defence they were, and that animates to-day the Switzer, who, far away from his native Alps, grows homesick, even at times unto death, and whose eyes are tear-stained whenever he hears the familiar “Ranz des Vaches.” …

Climb the Maryland Heights, as we are to do to-day, and pause on the ascent and look back. Fair and open lies the northern landscape, bounded by its semicircle of mountains. How the mind expands and feels a sense of delight and power as the eye takes in, at one sweep, the glorious scene! The feeling that pictures us as slowly transversing the huge mountains, insignificant atoms on its vast surface, ants that crawl over an ant-hill, vanishes. And then to this first exhilaration, this flush and glow of pleasure, succeeds the softer, calmer mood that sees, in the still and marvellously beautiful vsion, but one of the least of the wonderful works of the Creator. There is no disappointment in a mountain. …

The town of Harper’s Ferry is built at the foot of the narrow tongue of land that thrusts itself out like a cutwater, separating the Potomac and the Shenandoah, and known as Bolivar Heights. It lies in Jefferson County, West Virginia. … Including the little town of Bolivar, on the heights, the population of Harper’s Ferry is about two thousand. The principal street runs parallel with the Shenandoah, with a side-street ascending the hills to the right, perpendicular to which numerous stairs, cut in the solid rock, lead upstill steeper ascents. …

We are now on our way to Jefferson’s Rock. Perched high up to the right are the bare walls of the Episcopal and Methodist churches, whose joyous bells, in other times, aroused the echoesof the mountains on the calm Sabbath, while the worshippers wound their slow way up the steep hill, and perhaps paused at the church-door to take a last look at the glorious scene below, the wooded heights, the shining river, the sleeping town, and to thank God that their little home, secure among its sheltering peaks, was so peaceful and unthreatened. …

Before visiting Maryland Heights and the superb panoramic view that there sweeps around almost from horizon to horizon, a few moments will be well spent in seeing the less striking scenery of the Heights of Bolivar. Unless the traveller be a remarkably good pedestrian, a carriage and horses will have to be procured for part of the ascent of the former, and the drive around Bolivar over a good road can easily be made a part of the day’s programme. If dismayed at the board-signs that,projecting from dilapidated shanties, announce them to be livery-stables, he expresses doubts as to procuring a respectable team, he forgets one thing – he is in Virginia, and on the boarders of the Valley. The man that is surprised, therefore,to see a pretty woman or a fine horse is strangely unacquainted with the latitude. Our landlord, upon being consulted, promises us the horses in a moment, and in little more than that time, they are at the door – a sorrel of mustang blood, and the prettiest three-year-old Black Hawk we had set eyes upon for many a day. …

The evening falls among the mountains, calm and peaceful. The huge shadows of the dusky heights overcast the town and river. If it is in the season – for artists, like migratory birds, have their time for appearing in different places, and for disappearing – some wandering artist from Baltimore, Washington, or, in rarer cases, New York, may stroll in with sketching-portfolio and camp-stool, and exhibit to the wondering natives the counterfeit presentment of familiar scenes.

The night darkens, and the Ferry puts on another aspect, both noveland singularly beautiful. The mountains, dimly seen, close upon the murmoring river and the quiet town. They rise, still sombre and black, unrelieved bya single gleam of light, and shut out the sky, except immediately overhead, or where the long reach of the river has made a break in their continuity, which the eye follows, and down which the twinkling stars, reflected in the water glitter brightly.”

Enjoy the walk!

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Woman’s Club
856 W. Washington St.
Artist hosted:  Susanne & Jim Koenig



Artist Statement/Bio

Susanne Koenig and husband, Jim Koenig, will feature their work at the Harpers Ferry Woman’s Club. Susanne may be best known locally for her richly rendered ink drawings. As former artist for the Shenandoah-Potomac House and Garden Tour, her drawings grace fifty of the most historic and notable homes in Jefferson and BerkeleyCounty. By special order, she can capture your home in ink or create a treasured family heirloom of your pet in a painted portrait. Visit her website www.fineartportraitbysusanne.com

Jim Koenig is an accomplished literary and visual artist, and a professional handyman.  He and his wife, Susanne, have lived in Harpers Ferry since 1985.  Primarily he exploits locally found material, especially cedar root, to fashion elegant or fanciful sculpture.

copyright Susanne Koenig, reproduced and displayed with permission.

copyright Jim Koenig, reproduced and displayed with permission.


Westwind Potters
144 High Street
Hosted artist:  Various



Artist Statement/Bio (from website)

“Located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, historic Harpers Ferry has been the home of Westwind Potters for 24 years. A great day trip, equal distance from Gettysburg, PA, Baltimore, MD, and our nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. Craft enthusiasts trek to Westwind Potters for the high quality, affordable, all American-made products.

For over two decades, emphasis has been placed on pottery, since that was the humble beginnings of Westwind in 1983. Since then, our late founders dream of a simple pottery studio has evolved into a nationally-known craft retailer. Our shop has now expanded to showcase 52 artists from 28 states. Their handiworks include pottery, baskets, carved utensils, candles and an “in-house” stained glass studio.”

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Harpers Ferry Guest House
800 W. Washington St.
Artists hosted:  Peggy Winchester and Sharon Garvey

Appalachian Trail Conservancy
799 W. Washington St.
Artist hosted:  Sharon Garvey



copyright Peggy Winchester, reproduced and displayed with permission.

copyright Sharon Garvey, reproduced and displayed with permission.

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Teahorse Hostel
1312 W. Washington St.

Artist hosted:  Kweli Kitwana


Acrylic Painting

Artist Statement/Bio

“The art of transforming ourselves with make-up and masks is a universal phenomenon. Decorating one’s face in various patterns and shapes has been a part of the cultural make-up of many societies since the beginning of time. Face painting is a common theme across cultures as divergent as the Indigenous American tribes in North America and various tribes and cultures in Asia, Africa and South America. In Native American Tribes, face painting has been used for artistic expression since ancient times.”

copyright 2012 Kweli Kitwana, reproduced and displayed with permission.

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Information will be posted shortly about the artists showing their work at these locations.

I took a walk this morning from the Visitor’s Center to Lower Town. It is about an hour and fifteen minute walk taking into consideration a three minute stop at each location and a side trip to Hilltop House. Beautiful day today – and the best part, the walk was all downhill!

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Mary Adams
170 High Street
Harpers Ferry WV 25425

Scoops Cafe
173 Potomac Street
Harpers Ferry, WV


Mary Adams and Scoops Cafe will be featuring an eclectic mix of artisans both vintage and new styles ranging from stained glass, metal work, photography, painting and artistic jewelry designs.

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Last month, Steam at Harper’s Ferry opened a new exhibit entitled “Steampunk Travel” which will continue until May 13, 2012. For the Art Walk, here is an introduction to the artists and their work.


Steam at Harper’s Ferry featuring Kristin Consaul, Chip York and Jill Evans-Kavaldjian of Pith Helmet Provisions and Jason Edwards, Visual Artist
180 High Street, 1-B
Harper’s Ferry, WV

Artist Statements/Bios

Pith Helmet Provisions (from the website):  “Pith Helmet Provisions is a collaborative effort of unique talents – a painter, a tinker, and a carpenter.

Jill Evans-Kavaldjian is an artist, muralist, and decorative painter; a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Fine Arts; and a former teacher. Her work takes many different forms, from commissioned landscapes, a murals, faux-painted formal interiors, historic and one-of-a-kind floorcloths, and illustrated educational materials.

[Chip York] is an artist, photographer, seamster, carpenter, and tinkerer with mad science leanings. As a boy he took things apart to see how they worked, and occasionally put them back together. Now he takes things apart to make them into something else, scavenging the elements of his creations from the curbsides and dumpsters of our disposable culture. He claims that once you learn construction you can build anything, from a house to a corset. He was steampunk before he knew there was a name for it, and since he and his wife started steampunkfamily.com, he has a forum for sharing his DIY projects and philosophy with other like-minded souls who want to possess objects much more amazing than they can buy, and the joy of making it themselves.

[Kristin Consaul] learned carpentry and tinkering in her father’s workshop. Whenever she got in trouble, her punishment was to help dad in the shop, so she got lots of experience! She formalized her skills at the Heartwood Homebuilding School in Massachusetts. She finds inspiration in the Victorian aesthetic, an era had an elegance that is missing from much of what we surround ourselves with today. [She] is drawn by the rich colors and textures of seasoned wood, and her decorative pieces are often made of salvaged wood.”

Jason Edwards (from his website):  “For over ten years, [he] has been a professional scenic artist.  He is a graduate of  University North Carolina School of the Arts, located in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He participated in additional apprenticeship programs as a scenic artist at the Skylight Opera Theater, Goodspeed Opera House, Santa Fe Opera and Cobalt Studios. In the Washington, DC Metropolitan area, he has worked with some of the most well-known organizations in the performance industry, including The Shakespeare Theater, Washington National Opera, Third Dimension, and most recently with the Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company. Award-nominated productions on which he has worked include “Fever Dream”, “Full Circle” and “Boom”. Over the past two years, he has expanded his artistic interests toward more personal art and produced several pieces available for viewing on his blog, jordebot.com. Here’s an interview from American theatre wing: http://americantheatrewing.org/biography/detail/jason_edwards



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