Daniels, W.Va. – Dozens of Secretaries of State from around the country will not only discuss the important issues facing their offices during their national conference here in July – they will also see the work of some of West Virginia’s most talented people.
Joanie Hessler and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant check
out the wood-turned pens Hessler made for the Almost
Heaven 2011 NASS Summer Conference.
One of those people is Joanie Hessler from Hurricane. Joanie hand-made each visiting Secretary a wood turned pen with the conference’s “Almost Heaven 2011” logo on the side.
The case holding the wood turned pens also features a wooden replica of the State Seal of West Virginia, made by etcher Stan Cook.
Joanie uses cherry, black walnut, hickory, and oak to make the pens – and all of the wood is harvested on her property.
Joanie’s small business, called JAWS – or Just Another Wood Shop – began with just one lathe her father found in a junkyard. Thanks to years of hard work, dedication, and her unique talent, Joanie has grown her business to include three lathes. She’s made more than 1,000 of the pens over the years and displayed her work at Tamarack, The Greenbrier, Calvin Broyles Jewelers, and numerous fairs and festivals.
“I have learned over the years that turning a fine writing instrument requires patience and a constant willingness to learn, and the more I make the more I learn,” Joanie said. “Turning is meticulous and tedious work and over 1,000 pens later, I still find myself anxiously waiting to see how it will look when I am finished.”
Secretary of State Natalie E. Tennant said she is excited to present the pens not only because of the workmanship, but because they are such unusual gifts.
"I am so proud to be able to present these pens at our national conference,” Tennant said. “These are a wonderful example of the West Virginia spirit; our resourcefulness, our ingenuity, our talent and our generosity."
The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) annual summer conference visits a different state every year. Recent past conferences have been held in Minnesota and Rhode Island, and next year’s conference will be in Puerto Rico.
The Secretaries will be discussing all the varying aspects of their offices including elections, business and licensing, notary and charity registration, and many others.
The conference at Glade Springs begins July 10 and ends July 13. More information about the conference can be found on the Secretary of State’s website at www.wvsos.com.