The record delta | Local creates coloring books for people with dementia

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

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’ve had a photography business for almost 12 years in the past, and for the last seven years I’ve been a full-time photographer. I was diagnosed with breast cancer when I started taking photos. I fought it for about a year and after that I said to myself that I will make my dreams come true.”

“I wanted to have a place for photography, complete with a studio, but I thought it would be cool to have a storefront as well, as I’m a smart person and I love to draw and paint. This happened about a year ago and the store really took off and kept me busy. So the photography business is kind of fizzled out now,” Hoover said.

Hoover went on to say that she was praying for another opportunity that had meaning. It was around this time that Hoover was approached by Hoover’s cousin Jese Exline, a traveling nurse currently working in Georgia. The program delivers themed gifts to patients diagnosed with dementia and/or sundowners. An example from Hoover was that the month of August has a mental health awareness theme. Hooved noted, “In August we’ll be doing paint-by-number kits for patients and a few other gifts, including some macrame rainbows made by my daughter, Catie.”

This month they’re giving away the coloring books designed by Hoover and printed by Ralston Press, along with Hen House Hues crayons. Hoover also said that a flower picker was also included in the coloring books. The flower pickers were made by Amy Botzet. Additionally, crocheted washcloths by Shari Phillips and Susie Higgins will find their way to these patients. “I feel like these gifts will really lift her up, and the more I research dementia, the more I hear that art is great for her mind and attitude. It’s amazing to me that I prayed that prayer and out of the blue it came up and I’m just wow god!”

Hen House Hues’ owner, Katherine Bush-Henzler, is a former high school English teacher but is currently a stay-at-home mom. “Hen House Hues was originally developed as a creative outlet from the monotony of busy work and home life. In my free time, I loved hanging out at my workshop, The Hen House, which springs from my love of farm life and my married name, Henzler, and creating crayons and crafts for my own children,” said Bush-Henzler.

Bush-Henzler shared that she contributed her standard color boxes (plain colored pencils) and my puzzle-shaped color boxes for this project. “Shanda had contacted me about making my colored pencils for this institute. My hue box crayons are larger and thicker than traditional crayons and they are perfect for patients who may have trouble grasping a traditional crayon. I also thought about contributing my Puzzle Hue box with Shanda. The interesting and fun thing about the puzzle crayon box is that it also stimulates the mind as the puzzle crayons can be put back in different ways, not a single way. So we thought an addition to the Puzzle Hue chalk box specifically for these special patients would be good.”

“I’ve lived in Pennsylvania for a decade but moved back to my beautiful home 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 a part of. Shanda Hoover is an amazing person who has invested so much in his community by helping local artists and donating their time to others. When she asked me to be a part of this beautiful project, I felt absolutely honored. I think people forget that crayons aren’t just for kids, they’re for everyone. Anyone, no matter what age, can be an artist,” said Bush-Henzler.

The website is Bush-Henzler noted, “I ship anywhere in the United States and I also stock crayons at Mountain Mama Market!”

Shanda Hoover can be reached via email [email protected] or or by calling (304) 460-2259. Also visit Mountain Mama Market and Artistry at 14 North Kanawha Street, Buckhannon to shop for the above items. There are also many other locally made items.

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