Hsus named to Apple Butter Festival Hall of Fame

Jean-Pierre and Carol Hsu, 2019 inductees into the Apple Butter Festival Hall of Fame.

Local artists Jean-Pierre and Carol Hsu have been chosen by the Apple Butter Festival as the 2019 inductees into the festival’s Hall of Fame.

With the 2019 tee-shirt and program cover, the Hsus have created eight festival designs. They are already thinking about next year’s festival design celebrating 2020 and the 200th anniversary of Morgan County.

The bold and arresting designs they have done for the festival over the years derive from Carol Hsu’s long time fascination with paper cutouts in the style of famed artist Henri Matisse.

“I do all the designs as paper cut outs and then Jean turns them into usable images on the computer,” she said. Other artists have also played into the Hsus’ inspiration with 2016’s apple head with bowler hat being derived from surrealist René Magritte.

Festival shirts were not their first venture into wearable designs. In the 1980s, Carol Hsu created shirts for the Berkeley Springs Playschool. In 1993, her design was used on a memorable shirt for the statewide Arts Assembly held in Berkeley Springs. That design inspired the Morgan Arts Council (MAC) logo a couple years later. Not only has the MAC shirt been printed hundreds of times over the years and is still available, but the design pieces have been disassembled and used in other ways including currently hanging on the side of the Ice House.

Soon after Jean-Pierre Hsu graduated from Antioch College with a degree in art, he and Carol were married and moved to Berkeley Springs in 1975. They built a studio and grew a family of two daughters.

Carol Hsu had abandoned college studies to pursue her art abroad. She was introduced to jewelry making in Florence, Italy and pursued it further along with pottery and weaving in Mexico.

“I’m basically self taught,” said Carol of her distinctive jewelry.

The Hsus are a prime example of how many artists evolve in their work. In 1983 Jean-Pierre Hsu shifted from doing pottery to join Carol making jewelry and mobiles.

“We really enjoy working together,” she said. They also began using aluminum. “It’s colorful, lightweight and recyclable,” said Carol of their choice. “It also allowed us to fulfill our mission of making work that was affordable.” Their jewelry is hugely popular and you can scarcely attend a public function in Berkeley Springs without seeing someone sporting Hsu earrings or pins.

Hsu Studio can be visited during the 33rd annual Berkeley Springs Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday, October 19 and 20. Maps for the free tour can be obtained at the Ice House Gallery and the Visitors Center. Hsu jewelry can be seen at the Ice House Gallery year ‘round. It is also available at art shows and galleries around the country.

The Hsus will be inducted into the Apple Butter Festival Hall of Fame at a special luncheon at The Country Inn on Thursday, September 12. Tickets to the luncheon are available from the Chamber of Commerce.

The Hsus’ induction brings the total number of members in the Hall of Fame to 76.