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Tattered, Torn, Faded and Worn Materials Become New Treasures

Nationally known primitive fiber folk artist, Denise Davis of Sassafras Hill Primitives displays her works of art at Crossroads Gifts and Greetings.

Denise Davis, a primitive fiber folk artist, pattern designer and proprietor of Sassafras Hill Primitives, describes her work as "stemming from a passion for primitive antiques and whimsical artsy items."

"I prefer working with worn old woolens and cottons, because they have a feel to them that can’t be truly duplicated with new fabrics," said Davis.  "I love chippy old architectural castaways, antique textiles and unique natural items found in my travels throughout New England.  I try to incorporate them into my work as often as possible."

Davis designs her own one-of-a-kind patterns and brews her own recipes of colors from flowers, herbs, teas and other organic sources. Inspired by her grandmother, Davis has made her art into a profitable and enjoyable business. 

"Some of my earliest memories are of time spent with my grandmother," she said.  "She was a resourceful woman like most women of her time, and was skilled at fixing up, making do, and crafting wonderful things from next to nothing.  Most visits to her farm included craft lessons- paper dolls and paper chains, woven potholders and altered art.  She was an extremely imaginative, patient, and encouraging woman, and this is how my spark was kindled."

Davis said that as a young mother, with limited finances, she chose to carry on the same traditions as her grandmother and crafted many of her household items and gifts given to family and friends. 

"Later, my grandmother fell ill and as I sat with her, I would pass the hours stitching wooly little snowmen or teddy bears," she said. "I began crafting primitive wood items, and big funky grapevine wreaths and swags, and continued with my stitching- mostly snowmen and kitties. My business started from their and I never returned to full time work."

Davis has been featured in numerous publications of Country Sampler Magazine and Mercantile Gatherings Magazine along with several newspaper articles. She has won many awards including most recently first place for her "Lady Liberty" doll in the Cloth Doll Artistry Primitive Patriotic Doll challenge for 2010, where she competed against many well known doll artists.

Davis' works of art have previously only been found through her web site at www.sassafrashillprimitives.com or at one of the American Artists juried shows. But now, Davis' hand-stitched and items are now being featured at located at 588 Main Street, Somers.   

"To have someone of Denise Davis' talent and stature display her works of art in my store is more than exciting," said storeowner, Judy Cooley. "It is amazing and I am thrilled that she has chosen Crossroads Gifts and Greetings to be the first store to do so. The response has been over-whelming and it is nice to see new customers walk through the door along with the positive outpour from old."

Davis said she has been asked many times if she has a store that people can go to and shop but that she had not found the right mix until now. 

"My local customers are more than overjoyed that they now can come and look, feel my newest creations and purchase without a wait," she said.

Davis currently has items from her spring and Easter collection at Crossroads, however, she plans to let her collection grow from week to week. 

"All of these items will be one-of-a-kind and will not be duplicated on my web site or through my show series," she says. "I like the way this is setup, I don't have to take pictures and post them on my web site which takes so much of my time. Now I can simply stop by the store on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and add my newest creations. This will give me more time to spend doing what I do best, the creating part."

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