Denise Justice, left, Victoria Edwards and Darlene Boone are three members of the Virginia Artisans Cooperative in Boykins. The newly formed venture aims not just to sell heritage crafts and primitive art, but also to pass on skills, such as making soaps by hand. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES/TIDEWATER NEWS
Denise Justice, left, Victoria Edwards and Darlene Boone are three members of the Virginia Artisans Cooperative in Boykins. The newly formed venture aims not just to sell heritage crafts and primitive art, but also to pass on skills, such as making soaps by hand. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES/TIDEWATER NEWS

Archived Story

Virginia Artisans sharing their skills

Published 10:42am Wednesday, July 10, 2013

BOYKINS—While other people might debate about art and commerce, the members of the Virginia Artisans Cooperative are simply doing their thing.

Complete with a toy John Deere tractor, Denise Justice holds up the egg she's made, available at the cooperative. -- STEPHEN H. COWLES/TIDEWATER NEWS
Complete with a toy John Deere tractor, Denise Justice holds up the egg she’s made, available at the cooperative. — STEPHEN H. COWLES/TIDEWATER NEWS

That “thing” is what Victoria Edwards calls heritage skills and primitive art, which includes making soaps by hand, candles, decorated eggs, fabrics, oak strip baskets and blacksmithing. The latter, said fellow artisan Darlene Boone, does not refer to making horseshoes, but rather shaping metal into decorative and functional forms. Travis Covington, also of Boykins, is president of the Tidewater Blacksmiths Guild.

The public can see for itself at the grand opening of the Virginia Artisans Cooperative at noon Friday, July 12, at 32090 N. Main St., Boykins.

Naturally, the handiwork shown will be for sale. The contributors are asked to keep prices reasonable.

But this venture is not just about retail sales, it’s about teaching, Boone said.

“We want to pass on our skills,” said Edwards, adding that the cooperative intends to offer classes and activities, particularly for children.

“We’re very kid-friendly,” she said.

This is an example of woodturning by Joel James of Virginia Beach. -- Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News
This is an example of woodturning by Joel James of Virginia Beach. — Stephen H. Cowles | Tidewater News

The project came about when Boone and Covington reconnected; both had gone to the same high school. She said they discovered they each had similar ideas about creating what would become the cooperative. After finding the location, work got started in late spring.

Pastels are her medium, and even while working as a nurse, Boone said, she did not give them up.

“We all know each other,” Boone said about her connection with Edwards and Denise Justice. Justice takes eggs large and small and decorates them as simply or as ornately as desired.

“I enjoy doing them,” Justice said, explaining that she’ll use backgrounds from magazines in her creations.

Edwards said she witnessed soaps being made by hand at a heritage fair and liked it enough to take up the art herself. Now she can do old-fashioned lye soaps, artisan or luxury kinds using fancy oils, herbs and butters.

The three women, Covington and Joel James, who is a wood turner, are members. Others are juried in based on their work. There’s a $25 monthly members fee.

As mentioned, the cooperative intends to later offer programs, such as a three-day workshop for children from kindergarten age through 6th-grade.

The co-op is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday and from 1 to 6 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 653-8481; email virginiaartisanscooperative@gmail.com; or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VirginiaArtisansCooperative.

  • http://covforge.com/ TCovington

    Thanks to TN for a great article. We are excited and ready to have some fun.

    Suggest Removal

  • FromHere

    Had a sneak peak. Everything in there is awesome. Beautiful work by ALL parties. I’ll be spending some $ there this weekend, I’m sure.

    Suggest Removal

  • vikkime434

    We are all very excited. Any artisans/crafters interested are welcomed to contact us for more information. There are two options, being a member or consignor. Each have their own benefits. We have these two options because we want to work with local artisans to help them promote them and feature their work. Hope to see you all at the ribbon cutting ceremony Friday. We will also be celebrating Saturday and Sunday too!

    Suggest Removal

Editor's Picks