Nita Reynolds and Kathryn R. Schulz
Nita was asked by her husband, Ron, to teach china painting for the fledgling Campbell County Recreation Department in 1973 after renewing her confidence with private lessons with a Lynchburg area china painter. Nita, at the recommendation of her first porcelain art teacher with the Richmond, VA Department of Recreation Department, took lessons through Maryland China Company when she lived in Baltimore, MD. Her teacher, Betty Smith, studied under a Meissen Master prior to World War II, so Nita has an unusual porcelain art foundation for an American porcelain artist. Shortly after beginning her teaching, Nita started selling her work at craft shows, usually accompanied by family, making it a weekend adventure, full of discovery for the Reynolds children, Kathie and Phillip.
Several years after moving to the farm, Kathie gained approval to raise sheep for her Vocational Agriculture class project. Nita figured she’d continue to do shows and follow through with which ever did best for her, china or fiber. It came out fifty/fifty! Nita learned to spin, refreshed her knitting skills, took crochet more seriously and learned all the stages of fiber processing, from sheep to shawl.
Kathie headed to college, earning a double major in Animal Science and Poultry Science from Virginia Tech. After marriage and moving to Kingston, NY in the Mid-Hudson River Valley she joined a spinning Guild, became a proficient spinner and very knowledgeable about natural fibers. When she moved to the Pittsburgh, PA area, she again joined a fiber guild and discovered needle felting, taking it to the level of art. She then joined the business, and pushed The Hill Art to a new level.
Kathryn now lives in Milpitas, California. Her husband, Jeff, is a computer engineer. Her son and daughter are in high school and elementary school. Alex keeps her busy with team activities, sports and debate. Kathryn and Rebecca share interests in horses, and Jack Russell Rescue. Though she is not able to participate in the Quilt and Fiber shows with Nita, she continues to needle felt jackets, tailored garments, and “fiber paintings” which can be framed.
Nita specializes in the traditional needlework and porcelain. We both spin the more luxury fibers, such as angora, silk, and miniature llama hair.
The Hill Art
Nita’s B.A. in History from the University of Richmond and working for Colonial Williamsburg combined with Kathie’s Animal Science and Poultry Science degrees from Virginia Tech have been beneficial in our business endeavors. Family background also contributed to our skills, interest and accomplishments. Nita’s Grandmother, Mallie Phillips, spun, knit, and quilted. So we are continuing family tradition two more generations and passing it on to a third.
Nita and Kathie both feel that what we are doing is passing on knowledge and skills which can be easily lost.
Fortunately those domestic skills, which were part of a gentlewoman’s required knowledge to run and maintain a proper house, and in even more families were needed for survival, have been given new purpose. They have become tools for recreation, an outlet for creativity, give a sense of achievement, and much needed relaxation.
The heart of our business is pleasing our customers, offering high quality, unique and custom made products. We use much of the fiber furnished by our own animals in custom spun and hand spun yarn, custom woven mohair, and wool fabric. We offer products from other cottage industries whose products we use ourselves such as FeltCrafts tools, Back to Back alpaca/wool quilt batting, and the Miniature Llama hair from The Very Little Llama Farm.
You can send a picture, which can be needle felted to a denim jacket, or even a frameable “fiber painting’ by Kathryn. We will spin yarn to order or dye custom spun yarn your choice of color. Nita will gladly create personalized porcelain gifts such as a baby bootee with the baby’s name, birth date, and birth weight with the flower of the month, or your suggested design. We both enjoy working with you to give you the opportunity to be a partner in creating your unique purchase.