Art and Woodworking Exhibits at Heritage House

Saturday, May 24, as part of Artspring’s fourth annual “county-wide celebration to highlight the arts community in Tucker County” the “Woven Into Me” fabric, mixed media and graphite art exhibit by Heather Tobgetse and her husband went on display at Heritage House.

spoon makerHeather created several beautiful and fascinating wall hangings and her husband drew several portraits from old photographs she gave him. The collection retells stories of her grandmother, Maxine Parsons King, and her life in the mountains of Parsons, WV.

The display was in the Heritage House on Saturdays and Sundays through June 7 and 8 and volunteers from the Parsons Revitalization Organization as well as some of the workers from AFHA AmeriCorps were there to answer questions. The Heritage House was cleaned and rearranged inside in preparation for the exhibit and then decorated with three colorful sails and balloons outside. There was a steady flow of people into Heritage House and all expressed delight not only in the exhibits but in Heritage House itself. The former train depot is a wonderful relic from Parsons’ past that could play an important role in Parsons’ future.

Also as part of the festivities three woodworkers, Richard Comer, Greg Cartwright and Stan Jennings, brought and displayed many wonderful handmade pieces. However, the exhibit was greatly enhanced because Jennings did demonstrations of wooden spoon making throughout the day and even helped me actually make a spoon.

Richard Comer, one of the woodworkers, has lived and worked in Petersburg, WV for 40 years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and served in Viet Nam. His interest in working with wood began when he was in high school and took shop classes in woodworking, metal work and printing. He still has the first shelf he made for his mother during that high school class. Comer rarely makes large pieces of furniture, but has done so by special request on a few occasions. He had several arch topped chests with pull out inserts, magazine stands, keepsake boxes, sewing boxes and porch swings on display. However, he also enjoys crafting toy boxes, flat top chests and cedar hope chests in large, medium and small sizes. He can be contacted at (304) 257-2787.

Greg Cartwright of Grafton makes beautiful pens from historic wood, and has been working with wood for a long time, making furniture for his grandchildren and kitchen cabinets. There are three facets to his hobby and he enjoys all of them: traveling to find wood, the time he spends in his shop and going to festivals where he talks with interested folks about the pens he crafts with historically significant woods.

He became interested in vintage wood while working as a consultant at Webster County High School when he was offered some really nice wood from the restoration of an old log home. The type of wood from one of the log homes could not be immediately identified, so he sent it to WVU for analysis. The carbon dating process indicated that it was approximately 150 year old black locust and the columns from the same log house turned out to be old growth walnut of the same time period! When he discovered the beauty and age of those woods he became inspired to look for other vintage wood with a story.

Greg currently has about 80 different types of wood in his collection that came from various types of buildings including old homes, schools and businesses. Some of the wood is even from seven buildings on the National Register of Historic Places and three of those buildings, the Corrick home, Tucker County Bank and Heritage House, are in Parsons! He said he always has permission before looking for wood to make pens. For more information on his pens, Greg Cartwright can be contacted at 304-506-3355.

Stan and Sue Jennings of Thornton, WV own Allegheny Treenware, LLC. To quote from their customer catalog, “We met while working underground in the coal mines in October 1984, but soon found ourselves out of a job one month later when the mines shut down. We married in 1986 and began our woodworking career in 1990. What started as our hobby easily turned to a full-time profession. Our ancestors, both colonial and shaker in nature, provided a wealth of knowledge and designs that have proven successful in today’s kitchens. Many years later we find ourselves employing several friends and family members and offering over one hundred different styles of utensils. Our blessings have been too numerous to count.”

One of the many awards the Jennings received over the years for their work includes a listing in the Early American Homes Directory of the top 200 Traditional Craftsmen in the United States. For more information on their many varieties of hand crafted wooden kitchen utensils you may go to or call 304-892-5008.


Pamela Ruediger

The Parsons Advocate

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