Variety of art at Merrywoods
by Jazz Clark
Sometimes art is right around the corner and visible from U.S. 522 in Berkeley Springs.
Take the Artists of Merrywoods, a gallery of original sculpture and visual art. Though many large rock sculptures are outside, the photography of local scenery inside is what really draws the eye.
Bill Gregory has been using a beveled shape to his photographs for seven years, meaning the edges are sloped outward. To his knowledge, they are the only artists to present photography in this format.
All the locations pictured are within three hours of Berkeley Springs, except for a photo of Florida, where they used to live.
Gregory loves nature, and his favorite photo in the gallery is of a fallen tree in Cacapon State Park.
“Bill has had a knack for photography since youth.” said his mother, Jeanette Gregory. “He’s worked on his own to advance to professional status.” Gregory’s wife Lori helps out with the rock sculptures.
The pair like to tell a story with the rock pieces. Some simulate a knife cutting through solid rock, others show stones hanging in the air as if by magic. Others recreate items such as food using different types of stone.
“Every rock knows just what it wants to be, and it’s our job to reveal it,” Gregory said.
The inspiration for stonework came from people stacking rocks in rivers, but they wanted to create something more permanent.
Jeanette Gregory has a gallery of her own, and it’s filled with handcrafted teddy bears.
“People will often ask for bears made with an article of clothing from someone who has passed away,” she said.
She has made thousands of bears in the last 30 years. They are fully jointed with German glass eyes and many of them have real fur.
The trio opened Artists of Merrywoods in April, 2011. They describe business as a little slow, but they’ve had visitors from as far as Russia. They’ve shipped pieces as far as Alaska. They plan to set up a booth for Apple Butter in October.
At the end of the day, they’re always thinking of new art to make.
“We try not to copy other people,” Bill Gregory said. “I just use any medium I can to create whatever appears in my brain.”
Their gallery is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and occasionally on other days. When the flag is up, they’re open. They can be contacted at 304-258-9097.