History of The Hill Art
Family introduced me to both fiber and porcelain art. Mother, grandmothers, and aunts started teaching me, at a very young age, needle arts. My mother-in- law introduced me to china painting.
My mother allowed me to use her sewing machine at eight years old, Mama Lowe trusted me on her treadle machine, Grandmother Phillips inspired me to learn to spin, even though I don’t remember her. My daughter, Kathie added sheep and needle felting to The Hill Art.
My mother-in-law invited me to join her in the China Painting class she was taking through the Richmond, VA Department of Recreation and Parks. When my husband accepted a position with the Baltimore County, MD Department of Parks and Recreation, I was encouraged to continue china painting at the Maryland China Company. Their teacher at that time was Betty Smith who had the opportunity study under a Meissen Master while her husband was stationed in Germany after WWII. I enjoyed classes and workshops from other porcelain artists, joined the International Porcelain Art Teachers (IPAT), attended several conventions which was a great opportunity to meet international artists and be exposed to their techniques and art. These were opportunities to expand my knowledge and create my own style. In 1972 my husband accepted the challenge to develop the Campbell County, VA Department of Parks and Recreation. I was asked to teach China Painting for the county to add to the Department’s cultural oﬀerings. I also started participation in art and craft shows with hand painted porcelain gifts and jewelry.
When daughter, Kathie needed a vocational Ag project she asked about chickens, I said “no”. Pigs? Her Dad said “no”. Next day she asked about sheep. We said O.K. She had already found two sheep in the heart of Lynchburg. That day “Pricilla” and “Ambecrombe” arrived at The Hill and spinning began.
After college with a double degree in Animal and Poultry Science then marriage, Kathie learned to spin, process fiber, discovered Needle Felting and joined me in doing shows. She is now in Milpitas, California and has started her own business featuring handwoven mohair chinches and needle felted embellished jean jackets, both very appropriate for California. Find Kathie on Facebook at Kathie’s Cinches & More and at http://www.kathiescinches.com/.
Shows the Hill has participated in over the years are The Virginia Fiber Festival, Mancuso circuit: Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival, Pennsylvania Quilt Extravaganza, Denver Quilt Show and the Florida Quilt show. I was asked by Peter Mancuso to present a lecture on the secrets antique quilts reveal about the lives of their makers entitled “Scrapbooking Through Quilting” for the Mid-Atlantic Festival.
The New York State Sheep and Wool Festival plus a number other shows in Virginia, and Mississippi. Plus presenting demonstrations for museums and re- enactments.
My husband and I continue to enjoy presenting school, library and summer camp programs. We have had school, home school, and church field trips to our farm. The programs adjust to the age and needs. My husband explains the shearing process cares for the lamb or Angora kid while I explain the fiber preparation from “Sheep to Shawl”. It is usually presented as “Colonial Clothing” my other prepared program.
The goal of The Hill Art remains preserving the traditional art forms and craft skills that were so important in the survival of our ancestors and have now become very important to the recreational and creative aspects of our lives.
History of Webber Farm
Historically our farm is known as The Webber Farm. John Webber received 2000 acres from Seneca Creek to Flat Creek as a Revolutionary War Land Grant. The Property is easily traced back to 1820 and is eligible for State and National Historic Registry as the Evolution of a Farm from 1820 to 1942. The farm is now 59 acres with the original log cabin with an 1860’s addition.
In 2007 a new addition was added for modern conveniences. The new addition on the site of the “L” that burned in the early 1900’s. We rehabilitated the house, preserving the feel of it’s age but making it comfortably livable. The “new” 1906 Victorian farmhouse is nearby. Still standing are the chicken house, Smokehouse, corn crib. Sites of the kitchen, ice house, and tobacco barn are known. The Webber-Shannon family Cemetery is in in the back pasture, and the Old Courthouse Road bed runs through the property.
Through the years a number of arrowheads and other Native American tools have been found. Indicating the source of Seneca Creek was possibly a major summer camp and chipping ground. A vein of fire-able clay made it a site to throw pottery. The lay of the land would have been good for gathering and planting food hunting and preparing for winter needs.
Information can be found in Events for field trips Farm tours (animals, historical, customized to meet your group’s needs) also private and group classes.