Many artisans live and work in Staunton, and many allow you into their creative spaces where you can actually see them honing their skills and creating beautiful things with their hands. After watching them create, you might feel inspired or feel a deep connection to their work. Fortunately, you can purchase their handmade wares to wear, for the home, or as gifts for the special people in your life. Read below for the best of Staunton’s arts and crafts scene.
Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing | 202 S. Lewis Street
One of Staunton’s most interesting tourist attractions is Sunspots Studios & Glassblowing, owned by Doug and Caroline Sheridan. You can wander the gallery and select unique and beautiful art glass in the forms of ornaments, vases, jewelry, and even wizard wands to purchase. Visitors are welcome to visit the studio and watch Sunspots staff demonstrating fascinating techniques and creating unique pieces. Would-be artisans can even attempt to blow their own ornaments with guidance from Sunspots staff, of course. Admire the work of additional artists in May when Sunspots hosts the Virginia Hot Glass Festival. Sunspots is open Monday through Saturday from 10 to 6 and Sunday from 11:30 to 5.
Rachel’s Quilt Patch | 40 Middlebrook Avenue
Three generations of quilters are ready to help you with your project at Rachel’s Quilt Patch. Rachel Brown and her daughter, Kay, are avid quilters and work the fabric shop together, along with granddaughter, Emma Rose, who helps out after school. Rachel’s Quilt Patch sells quilting supplies and notions and gift items like soaps. The store offers regular classes for both beginners and experienced quilters. You can also join clubs and “sew-ins.” Quilters can get assistance with fabric options, stitching, quilt preservation, and even service for sewing machines. Store hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, or by appointment Thursday evenings.
Artful Gifts | 6 Byers Street
For wearable art that is organic and sustainable, make sure you visit Artful Gifts, where fiber artist Lisa Jacenich creates hand-felted clothing out of wool, silk, and other natural materials. You can buy unique and intriguing coats, hats, dresses, blouses, and shawls. You will also find scarves and mittens coaxed out of re-purposed wool sweaters. If you’re looking for an accessory, check out Lisa’s husband Jim’s kumihimo (Japanese braiding), which he uses to create jewelry and belts. The Jaceniches also offer a variety of individual and group workshops, so you can learn some of their techniques to try on your own.
Concepts Created | 515 Middlebrook Avenue
Bryan Black, designer and owner of Concepts Created, has been constructing custom furniture out of reclaimed wood and other materials since 2007. Each piece is created after a detailed consultation with the customer. Skilled handcrafting and attention to detail produce unique pieces that have both beauty and history. Stop by the workshop on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-2 to meet Bryan, check out inventory furniture on sale, and view artwork by other local artists.
Appalachian Piecework | 38 Middlebrook Avenue
Laurie Gundersen is a “utilitarian folk artist” and the driving force behind Appalachian Piecework. Her talents include basket weaving, fabric dying, quilting, and spinning. From her 18th century barn loom she crafts handwoven market bags. From locally-harvested trees she weaves a variety of baskets. Not even the bark is wasted. Appalachian Piecework also offers handcrafted products by like-minded artisans. Stop by to shop Thursday through Saturday from 11 to 6. Restoration requests and custom orders are welcome.
The Potter’s Daughter Studio | 13 W Beverley Street
Jessie Taylor’s The Potter’s Daughter Studio is home to both a pottery studio and a massage therapy practice. Jessie’s pottery is designed to reflect the natural world and her unique artistic expression and is fired in wood or gas kilns.
Cherish Every Moment | 13 East Beverley Street
There’s a little bit of everything and Cherish Every Moment, and most of it is handmade or upcycled. Shop for gifts like one-of-a-kind jewelry as well as lighting and home decor. Cherish Every Moment also assists with interior design and can create made-to-order upcycled furniture and wall decorations. Open Tuesday – Sunday, 11-5.
Staunton’s Susan Weeks has been designing unique jewelry for 25 years. You can find it in her new storefront, Bonfire Begonia, along with all kinds of other beautiful and eclectic items like paintings, paper mâché, furniture, and work by other artists. You can even sign up for crafting classes. Another great way to appreciate Susan’s jewelry is to subscribe to her take on the gift box trend. Instead of getting mass-produced impersonal products, subscribers will get a one-of-a-kind necklace made from vintage and found materials each month. Each piece is shipped with a handmade greeting card so it can be easily gifted.
Gift Shops Offering Handmade and Fair Trade Crafts
If you’re looking for handmade and fair trade crafts, clothing, art, and jewelry by both domestic and foreign artists, make sure to visit Harmony Moon, Latitudes, and Made; By the People, For the People.
Galleries and Fine Art
For fine art like paintings, drawings, sculpture, and juried handcrafts, visit our Art Gallery page. The galleries in downtown are a treat for the eyes and feature work by a number of talented local artists.
Art for Gifts | 20 S. New Street
Stop by the Staunton Augusta Art Center’s annual Art for Gifts sale and exhibition from November 9 – December 30. You’ll discover original, juried fine art and crafts by 60 artists in this holiday shopping boutique. Open Monday-Saturday 10-6, and Sunday 1-4. Closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.