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Artisan Gallery
Annette Samouris...

From the time I was very young, I remember a quote that my Nana would sayÖĒIdle hands are the devilís workshopÖWe want to keep kids busy with positive things. If you donít give them things to do, somebody else will.Ē

I learned how to knit and crochet at about 8 years old. I have never stopped since. All things fiber are of interest to me. I have even expressed myself creatively with quilting and basket making. When I was 14 years old I had to opportunity to live in Iceland for 2 years as a Navy Brat. This is when I learned to make my first Icelandic sweater. I made one each year that I lived there.

After running into a demonstration of the local Spinnerís Guild some years ago, I decided spinning would be my next fiber related endeavor. I find it to be a very relaxing hobby that provides me with beautiful yarns to knit and weave with. I have a couple of sheep on my farm and there is nothing more rewarding than shearing, processing and then making a garment from my own sheepís wool.

Within the past few years I have developed an interest in weaving. I continue to learn many new techniques as time goes on.

I have been making goat milk soap for the last five years. I have an outstanding herd of Registered Nubian Dairy Goats that started because my daughters wanted to show them in 4H. Now that the children are grown I needed to find a way to use the gallons of milk we were gathering from our herd. After many different formulas and a lot of trial and error I have come to the soap I am currently making, and by the feedback I have received my customers are quite happy with the results.
Barbara Ferrante...

I've always had a strong creative side, my mind is very active. Growing up easily bored and unable to sit still I was labeled a trouble maker in the many Catholic schools through which I passed. As an adult, I am well suited to my profession as a Dog Groomer - excuse me - Professional Canine Stylist. My creative side is still very strong and I always have multiple projects going at the same time. Thus Project Woman was born, I love the feel of fiber but I am interested in almost any kind of creative process, most recently delving into altered art and collage. I just can't sit still.

My home is my studio; the living room holds looms and spinning wheels. A guest room contains pottery making equipment. Art projects and art possibilities are everywhere. The walls are covered in murals and quotes to remind me how I want my life to unfold, my home is my canvas.

Jones Branch is a way of paying homage to two women whom I was named after and also instilled the "fiber arts bug" in me - my grandmothers. Jones Branch was the actual branch (small creek) running behind the home of one set of grandparents and my other grandmother's maiden name was Jones.

I can remember sitting on Grammy Carrie's bed with a box of buttons, a scrap of cloth, a threaded needle and sewing away as long as that thread lasted and asking for more when I came to the end. I remember Grammy Lee giving me needlework kits to stitch, beautiful embroideries and more. So (or sew) I started on the fiber arts road literally as a toddler sewing buttons onto scraps of cloth and it blossomed from there. My parents bought my first sewing machine for me when I was in the 8th grade and I never looked back.

My creative side took some twists and turns along the way after I married my husband since he was in the Navy and moving made it difficult to keep a studio. I made custom needlepoint pieces for a shop in Jacksonville, FL for many years, designed and stitched counted cross stitch pieces for a shop in Norfolk, VA, took part in some craft fairs along the way, and have well over 5,000 volunteer hours with the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society from knitting baby layettes. Of course I also sewed, knitted, crocheted, painted, you name it for both of our kids as they grew up too. When our daughter started colorguard with Drum Corps International and Winterguard International I began designing and sewing colorguard flags and have worked with quite a few guards and have even designed and sewn uniforms as well.

I currently tend to run towards the baby/toddler side of things having a granddaughter but you never know what will catch my fancy. I may be making purses and bags, knitting items, stretching my wings on my new (to me) floor loom, spinning yarn, trying my hand at a multi-media piece - I never know where my art will take me and that is half the fun of it!

Jane Watkins...
I have been sewing and crafting since I was a teenager. I started quilting once we moved to St. Mary's County in the late 90's. I enjoy working with different colors and quilting patterns and find the hand work relaxing. I started teaching sewing and quilting classes in my home about 15 years ago, and especially enjoy working with the young girls as their skill levels build along with their enjoyment of sewing and being creative. Over the years I have belonged to different quilting guilds and enjoy the sharing of ideas and patterns with other quilters and also learning new techniques.
Misti Dayton...

Hi! Iím Misti Dayton and Iím a fiber-holic. At the age of five, I started sewing with yarn at my motherís knee, while she sewed my dresses and play clothes. At nine, my aunt taught me hand stitching and embroidery. After ninth grade home-ec class, my mother caught me smuggling her sewing machine into my room. Iíve been sewing clothing and home items ever since.
During my teen years, I had brief encounters with weaving during art class and living history exhibits. Then in 1999, I finally indulged my fascination with weaving and learned this ancient craft. What great pleasure it is every time I weave a scarf, shawl, or fabric. Itís like magic on the loom. Now, I teach weaving to others so that I can pass on these skills and the magic.
Over the years Iíve tried my hand at many other fiber craft. Some I like better than others, but I always enjoy the process of learning them even if I move on to other things. These days, I spin, knit, crochet, and felt, as well as miniature punch-needle embroidery, in addition to weaving and making magic.
Sara Burbage...
I owe all my inspirations to be a farmer, shepherd, fiber arts enthusiast to my grandmothers as well as my mother who all taught me how to knit, crochet and sew. They were the ones who evoked my love of nature, farming, animals, and all things fiber oriented. As a kid who grew up in suburban Maryland, I looked forward to spending my summer vacations at my grandmotherís farm in Orange, Virginia where I spent entire days pretending to be a cowgirl and trying to ride her cows who were extremely uncooperative. And then on a field trip in third grade, I visited a sheep farm where I was introduced to sheep. Little did I know I was hooked until I moved to a farm in St. Maryís County in 1980 and began to get extremely interested in spinning, weaving, wool crafts and wool breeds of sheep. I owe my love of spinning to my teacher, Barbara Townsend, in St. Maryís City and to Anne Richards who inspired me with her wonderful wool figures at the Christmas Country Store at Cecilís Mill in Great Mills, Maryland.
Today my farm, Ferny Brae, is the home to Border Leicester/Corriedale cross sheep which I raise predominately for their beautiful quality fleece which is shorn twice per year (yes Ė they grow a lot of wool) and it makes an excellent choice for hand spinning with its lusterous and soft handle.
Sue Sloan...

I have been sewing and knitting since my early teens. I added weaving and then spinning to my skills in the early 1980ís when I moved to St. Maryís County and met Barbara Townsend, who taught spinning in her home. ďI love learning new techniques, and Iím a practical person who canít sit without some fiber work in my hands. Iíve found that spinning and weaving are particularly soothing, rhythmic crafts that also let me make items that I can really use.Ē