Artists & Farmers

Artists and Farmers:Meet a few of our fabulous Artists and Farmers. More Features coming soon!

Marilyn Cade of Mountain Farm

In December of 1974 we moved to the North Carolina mountains, filled with enthusiasm for the romance of farming our own land. We were also filled with complete city-bred ignorance of farming. Over the years, we were helped by many real farmers, who are neighbors and friends today. Back-to-the-earth books showed me how to milk our first goat.”

We discovered what parts of farming we really liked: lots of small animals and raising flowers and herbs. Today we have dairy goats with their own guard-llama, chickens, angora goats and rabbits for their knitting wool, various barn cats and a dog.

The idea of living self-sufficiently evolved into living in nature as an art form. That is, to make a small number of really lovely yet ordinary things, using the farm’s spring water, mint, comfrey, lavender and rosemary. Each 80 bar batch of soap is hand-made, hand poured. All the lavender products are made in quantities of about a dozen at a time.

In the beginning we made soap the truly old-fashioned way, with lard rendered on the stove from animal fats. Now we make only vegetarian soap, using coconut oil, palm oil and olive oil, with goat milk, essential oils and our own herbs.

Marilyn Cade and her husband Jerry are the owners of Mountain Farm, a working lavender, blueberry and goat farm open to visitors throughout the year. Marilyn offers soap-making demonstrations at the farm and at schools, and twice a year she gives two day hands-on complete process workshops in cold-process soap making.

Ina Hilemon: Hand sewn children’s clothes and accessories

I grew up in Mitchell County in a house on a hill overlooking the Toe River. When I was around 10 or 11 years old I asked my mother for a sewing machine for Christmas. The year before I had received a toy machine for the holiday, but it did not do what I wanted it to – sew! My mother and father saw to it that I got my wish, and I still have the sewing machine I received as a gift that year.”

Sewing is such a part of me. The sewing room is a place I can go to relax – when life gets ugly and I can’t fix those problems, I can work in the sewing room and make something right. For example, a couple of years ago, a young lady called me in tears late one night. Her prom was to be held the next evening, and to her horror her prom dress would not fit. I altered the dress, and by the next morning the dress fit. I am also blessed to be able to use this talent to make money. I have been working at sewing for over 42 years, and there is still so much I would love to know how to do.

I thank the Lord for the Market on Oak project and that I am a part of it. The project affords me a great opportunity to sell my products without dealing with the challenges of craft fairs and other shows.

Ina Hilemon was born the youngest of three children to Ike and Nola Garland. She learned to sew from her mother, who learned from her mother.

Ina has been married to her husband Tony, whom she calls her sewing enabler, for over 35 years. Ina and Tony have three daughters, Cheryl, Shannon and Selena. They have been blessed with six grandchildren, for whom she often sews clothing.

Duncan Nielander: Glass Artist, age 14

I was born and raised in Spruce Pine, North Carolina. My parents are Joe and Lilith Nielander. We have a house with a glass and jewelry studio on 3 acres. I have a skateboard ramp, trampoline and a bike path in the woods. My parents are both artists. My father is a glass blower and I would watch him blow glass when I was very young. At the age of 5 he began to teach me how to roll the pipe and I learned to make my first abstract snowman.”

Through the Market on Oak project, I am learning about business such as sales, marketing and managing my money. I was excited to be accepted, and it is helping me save money for college.

Duncan Nielander is only fourteen years old, but he has already been blowing glass for nine years! He is the son of Joe and Lilith Nielander. Duncan’s father, Joe, is the owner of Nielander Glass and has been a glass artist for more than 20 years.

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