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Washington College Academy craft festival brings out the artists


Staff Writer

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Historic Washington College Academy in Limestone has recently become a school for arts and crafts. And this year, Office Manager Jennifer Rasnake and Artist in Residence Stephanie Demarchi, helped head up the first Craft Festival on the campus.

One hundred percent of all profits went to the historic preservation of Harris Hall.

“This was our first run at a fundraiser for a restoration project (at Harris Hall),” Rasnake said. “It is essentially to get it up and going and get it in a useable condition. We are hoping to have the Craft Festival annually.”

Not only did the festival contain various crafts canvasing the grounds, but also food trucks, music and demonstrations by artists.

“All of us are volunteers,” crafter Patricia Petropoulos said. “The money made on the aprons sold goes to restoring Harris Hall.”

Petropoulos is retired, but spent her extra time not only making aprons, but bows as well.

“It is such a beautiful school,” Petropoulos said. “All the alumni I have talked to said they loved going here. I can see why.”

The festival wove its way inside and outside of buildings, offering a variety of arts and crafts. “We have fossils, minerals, crystals, soaps and everything in between,” said Nancy Long of Earth Elements. “It is all-natural healing. I take nothing pharmaceutical. Mother nature provides.”

Owner of Earth Elements, Angie Owens, is a certified medical technician.

“I began this four years ago,” Owens said. “I am also certified in CBD (cannabidiol).”

Long became a believer when her husband broke his foot.

“We used natural healing and it opened my eyes to other options,” Long said. “It is also very relaxing.”

Among the woodworking, floral arrangements and pumpkins, there were also many books on display.

“My writing began as a hobby,” author Reba Rhyne said. “I originally worked in the marine field. I did prototypes for new boats such as Tracker and Bass.”

Rhyne writes fiction, as well as contemporary Christian. However, it was when she started learning about her family lineage that she turned a focus to telling their story and history.

“Three years ago, I went to Tipton, England,” Rhyne began. “It was there I was inspired by my ancestors and learned their background. I am actually a descendant of Colonel John Tipton of the Tipton Hayes Historic Site.”

Rhyne tells the chronicles of her genealogy in The Tiptons of Tybbington, a book in two parts.

“I was pleasantly surprised at the number of people that were attending,” craft enthusiast Sondra Baker said. “And there are a variety of different kinds of crafts.”

The grounds were filled not only with artists, but numerous guests to the campus as well.

“I was impressed that within a very short walk there was a variety of craftsmanship to view,” attendee Mike Baker said. “From soaps to paintings to handcrafted furniture. Obviously, there is a wealth of talent within the Washington College Academy community.”