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MSHA hospitals to feature art for sale to benefit auxiliary

Contributed — MSHA • Oct 24, 2013 at 10:17 AM

Mountain States Health Alliance is featuring local artisans in three of its hospitals through the new Artisan of the Month program.

Jonesborough’s Pat Smith, who specializes in pressed flowers, sketches and calligraphy, is the first featured artist. Her work will be at Indian Path Medical Center in Kingsport during October and at Johnson City Medical Center in December.

The Mountain States Auxiliary, which benefits MSHA patients and their families, created the program. Proceeds from sales of the artwork benefit both the artist and the Auxiliary.

“This provides unique, handmade products to view and to purchase as gifts,” said Lynnis Hornsby, MSHA’s director of Volunteer and Auxiliary Resources. “Patients, their families and our MSHA team members enjoy this, plus it supports our local artists. So far, all the feedback we’ve received has been positive.”

The program rotates the work of each artist for a month at a time in the gift shops at JCMC, Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City and Indian Path in Kingsport, in that order.

Each artist will be on site two or three days per week, doing demonstrations, taking special orders and talking with people about the art. Their artwork will remain on display in the gift shop throughout the month before they rotate to the next hospital.

Smith worked with Hornsby to pilot the program, and has already spent a month each at JCMC and Franklin Woods. Jewelry-maker Nikki Hunt of Johnson City is featured in October at Franklin Woods.

Smith’s work goes beyond what most people imagine with pressed flowers. She uses a variety of flowers, plants and twigs to create or adorn cards, framed pieces, glasswork and other items. Nature scenes may include pieces of corn husk, pressed banana skins, dill, onion skins and various greenery.

Smith was one of the founding members of the online World Wide Pressed Flower Guild where members from all over the globe share information, have online workshops and projects, and hold an annual conference with competitions. She has won many awards for her work, has judged pressed plant competition at the Philadelphia Flower Show and has taught and judged for WWPFG annual Conferences.

She grows her own flowers for use in her artwork. Smith also does sketches of historical homes and uses her calligraphy skills to do the lettering in her cards, which are usually left blank so the customer can write whatever message is desired. Smith will hand-letter the message upon request.

“This is the perfect opportunity for an artist to get some good exposure,” she said of MSHA’s Artisan of the Month program. “I think artists would love this.

“It’s really rewarding to have the artist on site demonstrating how they create their art, because quite often people might look at this work and don’t know how it’s done or that it’s hand-lettered and uses real flowers. The response is always better when they see how it’s made.”

For more information on Smith’s work, visit www.sonshinecrafts.com.

Hunt, now featured at Franklin Woods, got her start through beading and makes unique jewelry and does a variety of crafts.

Artist applications are available in the three hospital gift shops. A juried group reviews and selects the featured artists.

“If the interest and community support is there, we certainly will consider expanding this to other MSHA hospitals,” Hornsby said.

For more information about the Artisan of the Month program, call MSHA Volunteer and Auxiliary Resources at 423-431-6871.

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