Jack Mountain Crafters is located in the Western Highlands of the Shenandoah Valley. Since 1991 Artisan Gary Robinson has carried on the tradition of using broomcorn and various types of natural handles to produce a truly American type of functional domestic art—brooms and brushes. These brooms and brushes are largely of Appalachian origin and are heavily influenced by the physical properties of the raw materials that are used in their construction.
Made from broomcorn, a plant that resembles a corn plant, but in reality is a type of grass, is related to the sorghum plant from which molasses is made. The long flexible yet tough fibers are ideal for sweeping and have been used since the colonial period as the material of choice in the making of brooms.
Robinson is native to the area and has worked with his hands all of his life. "One of the real satisfactions of my work, "noted Robinson" is showing people the possibilities of taking simple raw materials and creating with their own hands something that is both useful and attractive."
Gary Robinson demonstrates his craft at historic venues, including the American Museum of Frontier Culture in Staunton in May and July; the Mount Vernon 18th C. Market Fair, in September; and the Waterford Homes Tour & Craft Exhibit in early October.