There's only a few of us behind the scenes here at Blackwater - we don't have aspirations at being a mega-business, only to make our mark as a "made in the USA", homegrown kind of company like the kind of small business that used to thrive in our country! Growing up, Pam Mitchell, the artist and driving force of Blackwater Folk Art, was part of an extended family of simple people that loved the outdoors, gardening and creating something from nothing - one grandmother, Ma Gracie, was an artist in her own right, creating beautiful and functional quilts from the fabric scraps generated by her occupation as a seamstress. She didn't know she was an artist at the time, she would have laughed had you called her one - but looking at what she fashioned with her hands ( and an old treadle sewing machine ), we all realize it now, long after she's gone. We treasure those quilts and memories! Sitting at her feet during quilting bees Pam learned to turn cast offs - empty wooden thread spools, fabric scraps, snuff tins ( yes, snuff tins! ) and other odds and ends into little gifts and treasures for those she loved. Somehow she's never outgrown the idea of "making a silk purse out of a sow's ear" and she still loves her daily work of creating something that makes you smile out of nothing! Pam's daughter, Gracie ( named after Ma Gracie ) has participated in the family business since she was a child - crafting little flower pots with her thumbprints and now her son, E.J., stays busy at the workshops creating his own little signs and yard art. If you're one of the lucky ones, you've received a shipment with his artwork scrawled on the outside of your cardboard box! When he runs out of paper he's learned to make do! it runs in the family i'm telling you! For the first decade or so of business, we concentrated mostly on making birdhouses and birdfeeders out of cypress lumber milled locally, but with a series of hurricanes that struck our part of paradise our world was turned upside down ( literally ) ! With those storms came an abundance of raw material that just absolutely cried out to be turned into something fun and functional. Today, many years later, we help provide livelihoods for a number of local families that salvage old warehouses, barns and delapidated buildings in order to provide us with the recycled metal we use to craft our goods. Most of our painters and crafters are self taught artists with a love of color and creativity. We all enjoy the lighthearted nature of our product and the way that people respond to the whimsey and humor that we instill in it. Everything we do is painted by hand, not by machines, and yes, occasionally you'll get a sign with a "typo" which just goes to show you that it's really, really one of a kind and hand-done! ( we'll always make that right by the way, we pride ourselves on our customer service! ) We hope you'll enjoy what we've created & we promise you that you're helping carry on a family tradition by purchasing our work! Thanks and God bless you!