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About Our Artists

The Pioneer Arts Mercantile supports Utah-based artists who practice one or more heritage arts as part of their portfolio.  Presently, we are launching a pilot version of the store to refine our systems.  For a conservative 10% gallery fee plus a $15 per month flat fee, we will provide website creation and maintenance, bookkeeping, and identification of and promotion to target markets.  To keep costs down, artists maintain their own inventory and ship it directly to customers upon purchase.  Artists must have a functioning email address, a PayPal account (which can be set up for free) and easy access to the internet.

If you or someone you know practices a heritage art, whether it be an art which was practiced by those who immigrated to Utah during the latter half of the 1800s or a derivative art which celebrates these pioneers, we want to work with you!

Because our store will be educational to the public, we ask that you submit a 50-300 word story associated with each item, in which you may provide an explanation regarding the item’s heritage arts relevance.  The story may use the following structures:

Historical—general: Story gives a general, historical context to the item by taking the customer back to pioneer times when the item or object(s) featured was used.  (Example 1)

Historical figure: Share an experience about one pioneer who used the item or the object(s) featured.  This “Wall Street Journal approach” helps the public to personally identify with and understand the context in which the item or object(s) featured was used by the pioneers.  The historical figure may be named or unnamed.  (Example 2)

Celebration of heritage: Share how people today celebrate the pioneers through your item.  (Example 3)

Preservation of history: Explain how your item is authentic and true to object(s) used in pioneer times. (Example 4)

You will find that there may be some cross-over within each category.  Include references in bibliographic form with each story, where applicable.

Please provide a .jpg image (300 dots per inch) of your item, along with an electronic Item Submission Form that includes a place to specify the quantity you presently have for sale through our store, shipping weight of the item, and retail price.  Retail price should include handling costs, although shipping fees are dealt with separately.  Please fill out a separate form for each item you would like to submit.  First-time artists should also fill out an electronic Contact Information Form.  Email completed forms and .jpg images to

For assistance in writing stories or for any questions, please email Emily or call her at (801) 207-7574.

Associated Pioneer Story Types: Example 1


“Handcart Trek”

8×20-inch prints on premium luster paper of acrylic painting on weathered wood, by Larry Nielson, Ephraim, Utah.

The handcart pioneers were the poorest Mormon Saints to cross the plains, and many handcart companies were the last to reach the Salt Lake Valley.  These Saints could only bring 17 pounds of personal items, which forced many to part with treasures from home.  They were rationed to 10 ounces of flour per one day and 10 ounces of pork per 20 days.[1] “From 1856 to 1860, ten handcart companies traveled to what they considered Zion.  Eight crossed the plains successfully. Two—the Willie and Martin Companies—met with wintry disaster…,” explains Heidi S. Swinton.[1]

Many of the pioneers who came by handcart emigrated from Great Britain, Scandinavia, and other parts of Europe.  They were laborers from the city and were not skilled in building handcarts or trekking across the plains or scaling steep mountainsides.  But the LDS Church could no longer afford to build wagons and provide oxen for the remaining Saints who were waiting to come across the plains, so they asked the last groups to pull handcarts.

The Saints who came in the Willie and Martin Companies left too late in the year.  They used wood for the carts which was too green (because that was all that was left), and as a result, many carts split along the trail.

200 died in the harsh winter winds of Nebraska and Wyoming, but at least 1,000 survived because of the rescue of the handcart companies at the Sweetwater River by brave men from Salt Lake City.

[1] Heidi S. Swinton, Sweetwater Rescue: The Willie and Martin Handcart Story.  (American Fork, UT: Heidi S. Swinton, 2006.) vi, 33.  Published by Covenant Communications, Inc.

Associated Pioneer Story Types: Example 2

Historical Figure

“The Shepherd”

10×15-inch prints of acrylic painting on weathered wood, by Larry Nielson, Ephraim, Utah.

Sanpete County is known for its sheep herding.  When the Scandinavian Saints who settled the area arrived, they brought only a few sheep and cattle with them, and a cold, bitter winter in 1849-50 decimated their livestock.  According to an essay by Conrad Frishknecht,[1] the area has a lost sheep herder to thank for replenishing its sheep in the early days of Mormon settlement. The man, who was traveling to California, lost his way and was nearly starved.  He traded some of his sheep for provisions from the Mormon Saints.

Soon women were busy shearing sheep, washing wool, carding, spinning, weaving and knitting.   A sheep co-op was formed to teach the Mormon settlers what to feed the sheep, how to protect them from predators, and how to treat the unique illnesses sheep often acquire. “To cure sore mouth they mixed pine gum and mutton tallow which they applied successfully to the afflicted sheep’s mouths.”[2]

[1,2] Conrad Frischknecht, “The Sheep Industry in the Early History of Manti and Gunnison,” Saga of the Sanpitch, Vol. 12.  (Ephraim, UT: 1980, Snow College) 50-51

Associated Pioneer Story Types: Example 3

Celebration of Heritage

Old Time Utah Dances

CD with old time dance tunes with accompanying booklet with descriptions and historical background as taught and compiled by Laraine Miner and Michael Hamblin, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Despite the harsh traveling conditions of coming across the plains, many Mormon wagon and handcart companies trekking West danced at camp in the evenings to rejuvenate their spirits.  It was their optimism and faith in their God that literally kept them alive when shoe soles had disintegrated, clothing had become worn, and family members had gotten ill or had perished along the way.

The songs and dances that emigrants brought with them were a way for non-English-speaking pioneers to connect with their traveling companions, and the music transitioned into part of the early Utah experience.

In the Uintah Basin during the first part of the 1900s, Patti Thacker Richards and the Thacker family of musicians would travel by horse and buggy and horse-drawn sleigh in the winter to play for parties and dances within a fifteen-mile radius of the town of Altamont, Utah.  Music included polkas, the Danish Schottische, waltzes, quadrille figures, and other 19th-century U.S. music traditions.

At 15, Pattie learned to chord on the piano to “spell” her mother whose arms would tire from playing.  At 19, she picked up an accordion and began to play melody as well as chords.  Pattie recalls that her mother loved most to play for the children’s dances at church.

Pattie Thacker Richards has recently passed on the tradition of dance music to Cory Webster and the Buckle Busters, a group of musicians who specialize in singing and playing the old Utah pioneer songs and music.  The music of these old dances has its own special sound with distinctive decorations of notes and special fiddle and bowing techniques.[1]

[1] Patty Thacker Richards, Personal account of childhood.  (1995)

Associated Pioneer Story Types: Example 4

Preservation of History

“Gardner Village”

Prints of 9×9-foot quilt by LouAnn Wilde, Salt Lake City, Utah

Wilde was commissioned in February 2008 to create a quilt to illustrate scenes from the stories and songs from Don’t Let them Be Forgotten, by the Ghosts of Gardner Village, an album about the pioneers who settled Gardner Village in West Jordan, Utah.  Scenes from the lives of Archibald Gardner, Abigail Gardner, Mary Ellen Ahlstrom, Orson Johnson, Hamilton Orr, Clara Walker, and others are stitched into this art piece that serves as the backdrop whenever the associated multi-media show is presented.

The founder of Gardner Village, Archibald Gardner, gained experience building mills in Canada before coming to Utah in 1847 with the first wave of Mormon pioneers who arrived in the Salt Lake Valley.

A devoutly religious man, Gardner entered into the early LDS doctrine of plural marriage, and over the course of his life, had 11 wives, fathered 48 children, and had 270 grandchildren.  His many industries helped support his families.

Gardner’s first mill was built near the mouth of Cottonwood Canyon.  By 1850, he began building an industrial hub on the west side of the Jordan River.  He managed a large grist (grain) mill, mattress factory, broom factory, blacksmith shop, and general store.  He was also responsible for developing the West Jordan canal and other irrigation canals.  The first commercial water right in Utah went to Gardner and his West Jordan Mill.

To remember the lives of Gardner and the first inhabitants of the milling community, a shopping village has been created in the restored historical structures that make up Gardner Village.[1]

[1] Gardner Village.  (Gardner Village, Utah: 2009)

Bibliographic Form

In citing sources, use MLA bibliographic style in short form as described in the Chicago Manual of Style.[1]  In addition, provide hyperlinks to references obtained from online sources.  The following is a description of the basic short form.

The most common short form consists of the last name of the author and the main title of the work cited, usually shortened if more than four words, as in examples below.

1 Samuel A. Morley, Poverty and Inequality in Latin America: The Impact of Adjustment and Recovery (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), 24-25.

2 Regina M. Schwartz, “Nationals and Nationalism: Adultery in the House of David,” Critical Inquiry 19, no. 1 (1992): 131-32.

If you reference more than one page in a document, you may combine references with the following structure:

1,2 Conrad Frishknecht, “The Sheep Industry in the Early History of Manti and Gunnison,” Saga of the Sanpitch, Vol.  12.  (Ephraim, Utah: 1980, Snow College) 50-51. Saga of the Sanpitch

[1] The Chicago Manual of Style, 15th ed. (Chicago, IL: 2003, The University of Chicago Press) 604.


Pioneer Arts Mercantile is an online and traveling store that retails heritage art products, many of which are crafted by Utah artists, which celebrate Utah’s pioneers.   The Mercantile is a network of  stores and independent artists.  When you purchase items from these stores or artists, they will send them to you direct from their studios.

Whether it is through songwriting, dramatic presentation, paintings, quilting, sculpture, metalwork, woodwork or leatherwork,  it is through the arts that we can best remember the stories of the pioneers, just as the arts tell the stories of all ancestors, in fun and memorable ways.

A related pioneer story is attached to each item for sale in the Mercantile.  Whether an item is small or large, expensive or inexpensive, each item along with its story will provide individuals with a connection to Utah’s pioneers.  In addition, each week we will be adding an article on this blog about a pioneer, a unique craft that the pioneers engaged in, or an artist that is part of our team.

About Emily Sanderson

Emily Sanderson, the Mercantile’s Manager, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from BYU and an MBA from the University of Phoenix.  She has used her writing skills in a variety of offices and as a freelancer.  Formerly, she was manager of an online resume writing service and wrote articles that included free resume and cover letter writing tips.  Emily has always had a love for history, specifically about her Utah pioneer ancestors, and she wants to celebrate the pioneers through her writing talents.

Please check out our website:

If you are an artist who would like to join our team, please click the link, “Learn about our Artists” on the right-hand side of the Boutique’s home page.

Thank you for your interest in the Pioneer Arts Mercantile  To contact us or to get on our weekly email list, email