Silver and Gold
SISTERSVILLE – Hilda Steen of Middlebourne is an artist by the grace of God.
Maybe as such, four mayors saw the light and chose the Christmas Ornament she created as the one for Tyler County. Several people entered the contest organized by the Pleasants County Chamber of Commerce. Steen paints using a number of mediums, but said she does her best work with acrylics. She created a bordered wooden ornament painted black. Over it, she created a Christmas mouse blowing a trumpet in front of a Christmas tree and underneath a shining star. She dubbed her submission “Star Lit Noel.”
Her acrylic “Star Lit Noel,” was a runaway choice of the Tyler County judges, which were the county’s mayors: Joel Davis, of Paden City; Charlie Delauder, Middlebourne; Bonnie Hostuttler, Friendly and Bill Rice of Sistersville.
“It was really hard picking a winner because all the entries were very good,” said Middlebourne Mayor Charles Delauder.
Sistersville Mayor Bill Rice added, “All these people did a good job.”
The ornament will be placed on the tree prior to the Dec. 2 Christmas parade in Sistersville. The remaining ornaments will be sent to Governor Earl Tomblin’s office to be reviewed for possible placement on the Christmas tree, maybe at the governor’s mansion.
Back to Steen though because she has a fascinating story about her ornament which features a mouse.
That creature was what mayors said is what made them choose Steen’s design.
Think about that a minute. Some people have an affinity for mice not rats but mice. Remember that syrupy Fievel the Mouse movie that was made during President Reagan’s second term. And who can forget that cute little mouse in that “Twas the Night Before Christmas” cartoon that usually airs on television as opener for a famous show, which is maybe holiday watching tradition for some families, about how Santa finally gets a clue and picks a Rudolph to lead his sled because of the animal’s mutant red nose. Try watching that holiday classic through today’s PC lenses.
Anyway, like Snow White or virtually any Disney princess, except for maybe Elsa from “Frozen”, animals flock to Steen. Yes. Really. Keep reading. Steen said maybe the motivation to create her mouse ornament came from how a small mouse crawled into bed with her one chilly night. Instead of freaking out, Steen said she welcomed the mouse and made sure it was warm and cared for.
“I like furry little animals,” said Steen, 85, of Middlebourne.
Steen most likely did the right thing because she has a kind heart. She said a chipmunk like Chip or Dale – has found its way into her bedroom.
Even Steen’s cat is nice.
“My cat brings them to me all the time, he doesn’t kill them,” she said.
Now that’s some cat.
But cuddly little creatures aside, Steen is no stranger to the art world. She teaches art classes and won second and third place honors for her paintings at the West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival earlier this year. Her creations have been on display throughout the region.
Steen’s was one of more than a half-dozen Tyler County submissions.
“I guess that’s what God decided I should be doing,” she said. “I’ve been painting all my life. I’m very delighted to have received this award.”
Last month, the Pleasants Area Chamber of Commerce announced its annual Christmas Ornament contest for both Pleasants and Tyler counties. Chamber executive Jody Murphy wanted to insure Pleasants and Tyler had artists represented on the state’s “artistree” in Charleston. Once again, the Chamber received several submissions.
“They were all very well done,” Murphy said.
This year’s Pleasants County selection is from Judy Perkins, who crafted a “chubby snowman” in acrylic paint on a glass ornament. A 3-panel group of judges chose Perkins’ design as this year’s winner. Perkins is part of the Pleasants County Senior Citizens Center art group. She’s an annual contributor to the contest.
Perkins’ Chubby Snowman was one of several entries in the annual Pleasants County ornament contest.
The winner of the Chamber’s inaugural Tyler County ornament contest is Hilda Steen, an 86-year-old artist who lives outside Middlebourne. Steen has been painting for decades and gives lessons. She created a bordered wooden ornament painted black. Over it, she created a Christmas mouse blowing a trumpet in front of a Christmas tree and underneath a shining star. She dubbed her submission “Star Lit Noel.”
Dalton Hayes, of Sistersville, created a glass bulb “Snowman” cube.
Marian Kay Broughman, of Sistersville, designed a wooden “Snowman” accentuated with acrylic paint and glitter.
Sue Stone, of Friendly, produced “Mr. Snowman,” a light bulb-based ornament she transformed with acrylic paint, foam and tape.
Caitlyn Northcraft, of Sistersville, created “Snowflake in Night Sky” a wooden ornament with acrylic paint.
Rebecca Hayes, of Paden City, used acrylic paint on a wooden ornament to create trees and a silver stars for her “Christmas” submission.
Caitlyn Hayes, of Sistersville, an 11-year-old sixth grader produced a wooden “Christmas Tree” ornament.
Tiffany Hayes, of Sistersville, also used a wooden ornament to design a “Christmas Present” using acrylic paint and glitter.
Ann Hendley, of Sistersville, created a wooden, heart-shaped ornament with an acrylic painting of Santa Claus on it, dubbed a “Christmas Heart.”
The additional Pleasants County submissions were:
Helen Garner, of Belmont, used acrylic paint to decorate a bulb with “Trees Covered in Snow.”
Debby Metheney, of St. Marys, used acrylic paint and silver stuffing to craft “A West Virginia Christmas Poinsettia.”
Jane Mendenhall, of St. Marys, painted a “Skiing Snowman” scene on bulb.
Leona Eddy, of St. Marys, used acrylic paint to decorate a bulb clear bulb with “The Cardinal,” West Virginia’s state bird.
Linda Huggins, of Waverly, decorated a bulb stuffed with red ribbon and acrylic paint to create “The Wreath.”
Twila Cokeley, of Waverly, used oils to transform a bulb into a snowy scene of a mouse with presents into her “Tiny Treasure.”
Jo Ann Martin, of St. Marys, stuffed a bulb with red paper Mache and used acrylic paint to craft “Snowman.”
“We wanted ornaments and designs that represented Pleasants and Tyler and its artists,” Murphy said. “We were not disappointed. We received a number of wonderful submissions. Any number of them could have been our winners.”
Murphy said all entries were shipped to Charleston for display on the governor’s artistree. Those who submit ornaments to the state contest will be invited to a celebration/reception at the Governor’s Mansion. Murphy said several ladies from the senior center attended last year’s reception and had a wonderful time.
“I know they are looking forward to going back.”
All the submissions can be seen on the Chamber’s Facebook (Pleasants Chamber) page.
“The entries we received were beautiful and showcase Pleasants and Tyler counties and its creative artists,” Murphy said. “I’m honored to send them to the state for display. I want to show them off. And show off their creators. They should all be proud of their work. I know I am.”