joy magnetism: West Virginia's bold experiment

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Monday, August 3, 2009

West Virginia's bold experiment

Magnet #528 - Tamarack, West Virginia

Since the day we moved to North Carolina, we've been burning up the roads with road trips back to Chicago. But in all that time, we've never dropped by Tamarack, which was built in the early 90s and is nestled in the mountains of West Virginia.

What started out as a WV economic development project, quickly became a self-sustaining collective of folks from every corner of WV, helping boost the state's economy by selling their locally-made products. The Crafts Report called it "West Virginia's bold experiment."

I love that that's all they sell - stuff produced in West Virginia! They have art and blown glass and quilts and clothes and jewelry and woodwork and bronze and foodstuffs and a cafe and, and,'s crazy packed with the best that WV has to give. It's true, apparently, there's a stringent quality and/or selection process in order to get your stuff on their shelves.

The building is pretty cool as well - even though we only went in through the back side, judging from this magnet. It was designed, built and named by local firms. They designed the building to look like a starburst quilt pattern from the sky - I bet aerial shots of it are amazing in the summer. It's certainly pretty neat from the road. They also selected the name Tamarack for the tree, a symbol for its strength, beauty and versatility. Perfect, for what this building stands for, and for what it houses.

Oh! And they have magnets, as well. I'm cheating, because this one was given to me by a friend before I went for myself. Truthfully, when she gave it to me, I had to look up what Tamarack was - I didn't have a clue. And even after I looked it up, I was still kinda hazy, and slightly skeptical.

I was like, hmm, a whooooole building for just West Virginia products? Really? It's duly noted now, what Tamarack is, and if ever you're riding around WV, definitely stop by. I love my purchases, and I'm only sad we didn't stay a little longer.
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