A 9-to-5 gig just wasn’t cutting it for Elizabeth Elswick, an artist and brand creator based in St. Albans, West Virginia. She sought a way to be authentic and found it through art and her Appalachian roots.
In 2017, Elswick created Hippie’s Daughter, a lifestyle brand built to express common Appalachian phrases and culture through stickers, key chains and macramé.
“I had the idea a couple of years ago to start with some basic sayings I grew up with like ‘Come hell or high water’ or ‘Y’all be careful.’ So I did a small collection and it was so well received that I just dove further into it,” Elswick told Reckon.
Hippie’s Daughter is more than an ode to Elswick’s parents; she credits them for inspiring her aesthetic, creativity and love for Appalachia.
Her father taught her how to paint and create art from a young age, and influenced the 90s, hippie mountain and dark magic style of Elswick’s designs. And the phrases used to express Appalachian language through her work are colloquialisms her mother uses every day.
“We spent a lot of time in the mountains. My grandfather owned 37 acres in the Monongahela National Forest and that is a huge part of what kind of shaped all of us. We have always been that hippie, nature, and environmentally friendly type of people,” Elswick explained.
Despite harsh perceptions about rural Appalachia and even West Virginia, Elswick’s love for the region continues to make her value the people and places that make Appalachia special to her.
“It is truly like no other place. I know the news only shows the bad parts but the people here are so kind and nice. It is beyond gorgeous here and unfortunately, a lot of people don’t get to see that,” Elswick says.
With small, rural Appalachian towns like St. Albans, population 10,000, communities are close and most towns have limited forms of entertainment with little to nothing to do but hike and go grocery shopping. In the future, Elswick hopes to broaden the avenue of things to do in her town by providing people with a way to explore art and value Appalachian culture together.
“I want my own brick and mortar, so I can build a place for the community with my vision,” Elswick told Reckon.
As Elswick grows Hippie’s Daughter she will continue to lay roots for her brand both online and in local shops across the state of West Virginia.
“It’s really cool to still be here and be bringing light to Appalachia.”
I bet you didn’t know these were Appalachian sayings. If you don’t know what some of these mean don’t fret, Elswick has a definition for them all.
Come hell or high water
“We will get through this, no matter what”
Y’all be careful now
“See you next time” or “I love you”
Lollygag a Little
Do no harm take no shit
“Find the balance, do the right thing, and don’t do the wrong thing, but don’t let somebody walk all over you either”
Lord willing and the creek don’t rise
“We’ll get through this as well as we can.”
Raise hell and hug trees
“Have fun but don’t screw up the environment”