Continuing family tradition of making rag rugs
NEW CASTLE – When the Craig County Artisan Center opened in New Castle back in June, 2012, vendors were assigned numbers, to identify their craft items. No. 1 was assigned to Jeanie Drummond, who was the first vendor to set up shop in the center.
Since she’s had two major surgeries in the last few months, Jeanie has not been present in the center as often, but she has kept her display stocked with her usual variety of arts and crafts.
Jeanie’s sign identifies her space as The Shabby Corner, but it’s anything but that. The rack displaying her handmade rag rugs is the first thing you see as you approach her area. Making rag rugs is an old family tradition, taught to Jeanie by her grandmother. The rugs are colorful as well as durable.
The Shabby Corner also has crocheted hats, mittens, fingerless gloves, scarves, cowls (neck warmers), along with baby buntings and baby blankets. All of the crocheted work is made without the use of patterns. The patterns are in Jeanie’s mind. There are several tote bags on display, each one featuring a “picture” drawn and painted by Jeanie. The multi-talented crafter also has some “red-neck” greeting cards and gag gifts nestled among her more traditional items.
One of Jeanie’s hobbies is canning, especially jams and jellies made from her homegrown fruits. These spreads are also sold in the center and include peach (from her backyard trees), strawberry, blueberry, and blackberry. These are all made fresh each year. She has also made pepper jelly, tomato preserves, pumpkin butter, and watermelon preserves. Jeanie’s other hobbies include crafts, reading, and eating out. In the past, she wrote and directed plays and was active in the Masonic Theatre in Clifton Forge.
Jeanie grew up on Potts Creek in Alleghany County and attended Alleghany High School. She and her husband, Bernie Arthur Drummond, have been married 45 years, and have lived in Oriskany off and on for 40 years. They have a son, Tommy (and wife, Teresa), and a daughter, Shannon Compton, plus a “handful of grandchildren”.
Jeanie’s first job was working at the Halmode factory in New Castle. She next worked several years as a teacher’s assistant at New Castle High School. Then she worked as post master in numerous post offices in the area. After retirement, she had more time to devote to her craft work, and sold her crafts in numerous shops, including one that she opened in a renovated outbuilding at her home in Oriskany.
When the Artisan Center opened in New Castle, Jeanie says “it was the best thing that ever happened for me, to become involved with something that I felt was very worthwhile in our area. So many talented people in the area. I want the Center to grow and be successful, to provide a venue for people to sell their arts and crafts.”
While Jeanie is recuperating from surgery, her Shabby Corner is still stocked with a varied selection of gift ideas. In anticipation of folks shopping for gifts, Jeanie says “I have rag rug kits, various crocheted pot holders and coasters, I will have redneck wine glasses, some homemade jewelry, all my design, several gag gifts, and whatever else I can think up.”
Jeanie expects to soon be back in the center on a regular basis, and she invites everyone to stop in to visit with her and to see the many arts and crafts. If Jeanie is there, visitors can expect to hear her friendly greeting, “Come on in and sit a spell.”
The Artisan Center is now open on Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
—Ann Harrell, contributing writer