Sunday Afternoon in the Park showcases local artists

Mint Hill’s twelfth annual Sunday Afternoon in the Park gave over two dozen local artists the chance to showcase and sell their work. Here’s a look at some of the talented artisans who displayed their products.

Next-door neighbors and Charlotteans Lisa Wallace and Barbara Frye were newcomers to Sunday Afternoon in the Park. Like many vendors, they learned about the festival by participating in Mint Hill Madness. Both women make unique jewelry. Wallace uses vintage China obtained from thrift stores and antique shops to make broken china jewelry. “I’m a collector of China, and I’ve always loved teapots and teacups, so I just decided to turn it into a craft,” says Wallace. Frye makes ladder necklaces from imported yarn.

Lisa Wallace’s broken china jewelry

Wallace and Frye were among many jewelry artisans at the park on Sunday. Karen Hethcote of KC’s Dragon Maille has been making steam punk and chain maille jewelry for almost three years. Hethcote credits her teenage daughter with helping her get started. “I have a daughter who, at the time, was 15 and had really, really small wrists,” says Hethcote. “She could never find a bracelet, and I said, ‘Well, let’s learn how to make our own bracelets.’”

Karen Hethcote’s chain maille dragon

Hethcote, who lives in Matthews, sold mainly chain maille bracelets at last year’s festival. This year, her business has grown to include an extensive collection of steampunk items as well as unique men’s items like chain maille neckties and bowties.

Hethcote’s selection of steampunk-inspired men’s bowties

Jeanette Egan of J Egan Designs brought her hand made wood burned products to Sunday in the Park for the first time this year. Egan processes locally sourced wood and burns designs into it. “I’ve always been what I call a “notorious doodler,’” says Egan, who got into woodburning less than a year ago. “I started last year with just some little ornaments, and then it just grew into all of this stuff,” says Egan, gesturing to her Christmas ornaments, plaques, keychains and wooden crosses. “Usually my biggest items are my custom work.” Learn more about the Asheboro artist on facebook:

Jeanette Egan’s wood burnt bookmarks and keychains

Egan was one of several artists specializing in woodworking at the festival. Another woodworker in attendance was Rickie Lemons of 2nd Time Around Custom Woodworks based in Stokesdale, NC. Lemons makes custom cutting boards, chopping blocks, lazy susans, rolling pins and serving trays. Lemons lets the natural beauty of the wood shine through in his work using only mineral oil and no stain. To learn more about his work, email Rickie at

Lemons’ wood cutting boards

Jessica Ballard of J. Avent Designs is also a Mint Hill local and a newcomer to Sunday Afternoon in the Park. “I’ve been doing artwork since I was three years old,” says Ballard, who earned her BA in Fine Art from UNC Charlotte but works full time in the IT field for Duke Energy. “This is something I do on the side,” continues Ballard, who hopes that one day her passion will become her career. Ballard displayed and sold a variety of artwork at the festival including abstract paintings, animal paintings, pencil drawings and pen and ink drawings.

Jessica Ballard with two of her animals paintings.

Erin Horner has been hand knitting hats, scarves, ear warmers, and cotton dishcloths for 16 years. Her signature piece is her “inside out” hat. “Every time you’re done with a skein, you’ve got a random ball left over because you don’t need to use it all,” says Horner. “I’ve been collecting this yarn since college because I won’t throw it away! I knew I’d find something to do with it, and six months ago, I figured it out. Everybody likes to stand out, everybody likes something unique. This way you don’t have to worry about walking around with the same hat as somebody else.”

Erin Horner’s inside out hats made from yarn remnants.

Horner also takes pride in her 100% cotton hand knit dishcloths. “The dishcloths, to me it’s kind of a legacy thing,” says Horner. “People see the cotton dishcloths, and they say, “Oh my God, my grandma made these!” You can find Horner’s knit goods on facebook at or on etsy at

Horner’s 100% cotton dishcloths.

Mint Hill local Donna Chisum has been writing poetry her entire life, but it wasn’t until five or six years ago that Chisum began to think, “I need to see if there’s something I can do with this.” Chisum channeled her talents into writing custom greeting cards, which she sells along with gift tags and a small, handwritten book. Chisum hopes to gain exposure for her work through events like Sunday Afternoon in the Park. “I’m confident that I can get people interested in my stuff if I can just get their attention,” says Chisum. “I think that I can move people, but it’s hard to get attention for this kind of stuff.” To learn more about Donna’s custom cards, visit her on the web at or email her at

Donna Chisum’s cards and gift tags.

David Clark of Mudslinger Pottery is a local Charlotte potter and self-termed “wheel thrower.” “Almost everything I’ve got here is thrown on the wheel,” says Clark. “I do a variety of things – teapots, clay instruments, drums, whistles, birdhouses, functional bowls, utensils – a little bit of everything.” Find David on facebook or email him at to learn more about his pottery.

David Clark’s clay birdhouses.

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Mary Beth Foster
Mary Beth Foster works part time as an essay specialist at Charlotte Latin School and full time as a mom to her three-year-old daughter Hannah and her newborn son Henry. Prior to having children, she worked as a high school English teacher for nine years. Most recently, she chaired the English department at Queen’s Grant High School. She and her husband have lived in Mint Hill with their children and their cats since 2011.