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X’s and O’s: Artisans sell gifts at Fourth Annual Shepherdstown Valentine’s Handmade Market

By Staff | Feb 14, 2019

From right, Tiffany Miller, of Charles Town, shops for glassware, as DraKiln Glass owner Michael Powers explains to her the process of creating his pieces, during the Fourth Annual Shepherdstown Valentine's Handmade Market in the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Braving Saturday’s gloomy weather, community residents stepped into the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub to buy handmade Valentine’s Day gifts.

The Fourth Annual Shepherdstown Valentine’s Market featured 22 vendors, selling everything from steampunk jewelry, to beer steins, to oil paintings, during the one-day event.

“I always find stuff to decorate my room with at events like these — this stuff is beautiful and I love supporting local vendors,” said Tiffany Miller, of Charles Town, as she took a break from offering free 15-minute massages at the event to shop.

“People here are so creative. I have no creative talent whatsoever, so it’s great to see everything they make!” Miller said, after purchasing a glass dish from DraKiln Glass.

For DraKiln Glass owner Michael Powers, the market is an event he has enjoyed selling at for three years.

Tom Simmons, of Keedysville, right, shops with his wife, Kathy Simmons, for birdseed wreaths, with the help of For the Birds owner Berkley Simmons, during the Fourth Annual Shepherdstown Valentine's Handmade Market at the Town Run Tap House and Community Pub on Saturday. Tabitha Johnston

“I like working with other artists, the venue is great and the people who come by are nice,” Powers said, mentioning he usually sells between 12-24 items in a typical day at the market. “People have gotten to know when they come to events here, that the quality is high. People who sell at this event put a lot of art into the things that they make, whether it’s bowls or ceramics or other stuff.”

According to Powers, his glassware is different from that of other local glass artisans, because it isn’t blown to create its shape.

“I have a big kiln that you just make it in,” Powers said. “I’ll fire it one time to put the glass together to make it one piece. And then I’ll fire it again to put a shape or other element into it. And then I’ll fire it a third time, to make it into its specific shape. I like working with different colors, just to see what comes out.”

On the opposite end of the room from Powers’ table of colorful glassware, For the Birds owner Berkley Simmons was arranging her display of birdseed wreaths and bird houses in-between customers.

“People like to feed birds in the winter, to get them fat and ready for the winter weather,” Berkley, of Boonsboro, Maryland, said. “I was thinking it would be a nice gift for teachers, because it’s small and useful. And it’s a good gift to give to people you need to give a gift to, but don’t know very well.”

For Berkley, running the business during festivals throughout the year helps fund a longtime hobby of hers, volleyball.

“About three years ago, my mom said I needed to start raising money for club volleyball, and so I have been doing this every year since,” Berkley said, mentioning she has played club volleyball for four years, is Potomac Elite Volleyball Club’s full-time setter and hopes to play college volleyball.

According to Kathy Simmons, of Keedysville, Maryland, attending the market is an opportunity for her and her husband, to stock up on a variety of handmade products, including Berkley’s birdseed wreaths.

“I hang them in the trees near my other bird feeders, and the birds just love them,” Kathy said. “We’ve come to this event for years — this is about our third time.”