The Delta Record | Local creates coloring books for dementia patients

BUCKHANNON – Shanda Hoover, a Buckhannon native and owner of local business Mountain Mama Market and Artistry, recently collaborated with others to create a coloring book for dementia patients.

Hoover was born and raised here in Buckhannon. She has two children, Nathan and Catie, with her 21-year-old husband, James. Hoover said, “I had a photography business for almost 12 years, and for the past seven years I had been employed full-time as a photographer. Once I started photography full time, I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I fought for about a year and after that I thought I was going to achieve my dreams.

“I wanted to have a place for photography, with a studio, but I thought it would be cool to have a showcase too, because I’m a crafty person and I like to draw and paint. It happened there about a year ago and the store really took off and kept me busy. So the photography business is running out of steam now,” Hoover said.

Hoover went on to explain that she prayed for another opportunity that made sense. Around this time, Hoover’s cousin, Jese Exline, a traveling nurse currently working in Georgia, contacted Hoover. The program offers themed gifts to patients who have been diagnosed with dementia and/or take a sunset). An example provided by Hoover was that August has a mental health awareness theme. Hooved noted, “For August, we’ll be doing paint-by-number kits for patients and a few other goodies, including macrame rainbows made by my daughter Catie.”

This month they’re giving away the coloring books, which were designed by Hoover and printed by Ralston Press, as well as crayons made by Hen House Hues. Hoover also said that a picking of flowers has also been inserted into the coloring books. The flower pickings were carried out by Amy Botzet. In addition, crocheted washcloths, made by Shari Phillips and Susie Higgins, will be sent to these patients. “I feel like these gifts are really going to uplift them and the more I research dementia I hear that art is great for their spirit and attitude. It’s amazing to me that I have prayed this prayer and out of the blue this happened and I’m just like wow, my God!”

The owner of Hen House Hues, Katherine Bush-Henzler, is a former high school English teacher, but currently a stay-at-home mom. “Hen House Hues was originally developed as a creative outlet from the monotony of a very stressful work/home life. Hanging out in my studio, The Hen House, derived from my love of farm life and my married name, Henzler, and creating crayons and crafts for my own children was something I enjoyed doing in my spare time,” Bush-Henzler said.

Bush-Henzler shared that she contributed her standard tint boxes (basic pencils) and my puzzle-like tint boxes for this project. “Shanda had contacted me to make my tint pencils for this institute. My Hue Box pencils are larger and thicker than standard pencils and they are perfect for patients who might have trouble grasping a standard pencil. I also reflected with Shanda on the contribution of my puzzle tint box The interesting and fun thing about the puzzle box of crayons is that it also works for the mind, as the crayons in the puzzle box can be put back together in different ways, not just one singular way, so we thought an addition of the hue puzzle pencil box would be specifically good for these particular patients.

“I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for a decade, but moved back to my beautiful state of West Virginia a year ago. This will be the place where we will finally put down roots. Although we don’t live in Buckhannon, Buckhannon will always be my town. Any project that helps my community do something spectacular, I want to be part of it. Shanda Hoover is an incredible human being who has invested so much in her community by helping local artists and giving her time to others. When she asked me to be part of this beautiful project, I was absolutely honored. I think people forget that crayons aren’t just for kids, but for everyone. Anyone, regardless of age, can be an artist,” Bush-Henzler said.

The website is henhousehues.com. Bush-Henzler noted, “I ship all over the US and also have crayons in store at Mountain Mama Market!”

Shanda Hoover can be contacted by email [email protected] or mountainmamamarketwv.com, or by calling (304) 460-2259. Also stop by the Mountain Mama Market and Artistry located at 14 North Kanawha Street, Buckhannon to purchase the items mentioned above. There are also many other locally made items.

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