Visit Annie’s Holiday workshop
It’s an overcast day in Autumn as this article goes to post. Leaves blow, acorns fall, but in a magical barn-turned-workshop that overlooks the rain swept hills of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Christmas lights are already glowing and there’s a definite spirit of playfulness in the air.
Colonial Crafts in Primitive Style
If we step inside, we’ll see primitive-style Santa dolls carrying enchanted pocket watches, intent on delivering toy bears.
More Santas ride the white backs of Mother Goose figures on their way to holiday adventures. Felt birds nest by what looks like dozens of electric candles, each one meticulously antiqued and adorned with faux berries and twigs.
In this softly-lit room it’s easy to imagine the artist behind the scenes filling our mugs and teacups, and talking about how she loves to make something new out of something old. Come along today on this virtual journey to Annie Grossart-Steen’s Pondside Primitives workshop for some rainy-day inspiration …
… follow me into Annie’s world …
Lanterns big and small, electric candles, and many birdhouses … vintage household items turned into decorations … everything has an aged and well-loved feel …
It turns out that Annie’s talent for design emerged when she began decorating a new home and roughly one acre of land with her husband, Tim. That was over eleven years ago, and today her home and business, Pondside Primitives, are a bewitching source of inspiration to real-life visitors, and on the Internet as well. If you view Annie’s photo album on Facebook you can see both projects and a stream of inspirational artwork she shares, which seems to fuel her passion for beautifying the world and breathing new life into vintage objects.
… a chicken feeder becomes a ginger and red birdhouse … every surface has the texture and feel of time gone by …
It couldn’t hurt, on the other hand, to have strong hands, and to know how to use power tools like saws and drills, or to learn how to wire lamp cords into almost anything—as Annie often does.
… up-cycled from flea market finds … accent lights like these can help dehumidify winter rooms and brighten spirits at the same time!
Yet, even if she lived in the past, before the era of power tools and electricity, it is easy to imagine Annie making wonderful things using only her two hands and her unfailing eye for color and detail. She uses classic folk art colors, ginger, ochre, dove gray, brick red, flat blacks, heathery blues, and greens and clearly loves all things vintage especially if it’s made of distressed metal or weathered wood. She and husband Tim are champions at flea market shopping and collecting (do not stand between the Steens and an antique lantern). Washtubs, buckets, rakes, old bikes, pumps … they know how to transform these into whimsical decorations. They are treasures that will not go to waste!
… a mini vintage sled turned into a base for the growing lantern collection …
Many of us strive to decorate with our flea market collectibles, but it’s another level of accomplishment to get the harmonious look that artists and shop-keepers like Annie so easily create, but she steadfastly shares this encouragement: “There are no mistakes when creating. You can give ten people, let’s say a pattern of a teddy bear … each one follows the pattern to a “T”. You will have ten very distinct bears, and no two alike.” Embrace your uniqueness! Try something new.
Or as Annie says, “Live in the moment … follow your heart and passion … and see what wonderful things unfold. You can create anything … it’s your life!”
Annie’s shop door with an Autumn garland, but with paint colors that will easily transform into a Christmas scene.
It’s true we are all unique and we all have something brilliant to offer the world. And it’s also true that some of us shine especially bright when it comes to decorating, crafting, and creating magical worlds. Annie Grossart-Steen is a kind of star that way, and we thank her for opening the workshop door for us and allowing us visit through her beautiful photos. (We’ll be back in the Spring when the pond thaws out.)
Until then, embrace your unique style, as Annie does!
4 Queen Ln,
East Fallowfield Township, PA 19320
More about Annie: