By Bob Pest

I have always been impressed by married couples that work together. My own wife and I have worked together for several decades on a variety of projects, including the Ozark Foothills FilmFest. It takes a special kind of patience for spouses who live together to also work together, but couples that can make it can enjoy every minute of the day. One of my favorite art stores and galleries if is Black River Beads and Pottery, located at 213 E. Broadway in downtown Pocahontas. This beautiful and eclectic gallery showcases work by over twenty local artists, ranging from watercolors, oil paintings, and weaving to photography, custom hand-painted glass art, and silversmith jewelry. They have also added a glass-blowing studio, one of the few in the state open for public viewing. You can see some photos at

Black River’s Lampwork Beads are created by gallery owners James and Mandy Tinker. Each bead is individually crafted. The Tinkers will work with you to design a custom piece of jewelry for a special occasion or outfit. Black River Beads also carries beading supplies, repairs beaded jewelry, and teaches classes in jewelry making. Be sure to spend some time with James and Mandi, as hospitable and helpful at they come.

In addition to beads, the multi-talented Tinkers create high quality, wheel-thrown and handmade stoneware and pottery, made with lead free food safe glazes. It can be cleaned in the dishwasher and is also safe to use in the microwave. It is created in their store studio with a wide selection of glazes and textures available. Black River Beads and Pottery is open Monday through Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5:00 p.m. the gallery is closed Saturdays. For more information, visit their impressive website,, or call 1-877-240-8427. Black River art is also available online at

Pocahontas also holds a popular monthly Stroll on the Square and Open House on the first Thursday of every month, much like the well-known Hot Springs monthly Gallery Walk. In addition to Black River Beads and Pottery, arts enthusiasts can also visit the Gallery on the Square, showcasing work by a number of talent local artists. Pocahontas has made major strides in the past few years, promoting the arts, creating a welcoming environment, and offering a full schedule of activities from live theater to Rockabilly music. The art scene has grown considerably in the past few years, thanks in large part to the success of the monthly Gallery Walk. A trip to Pocahontas is well worth your time, especially if you go on the third Thursday. You’ll be surprised at how many talented artists you will meet, but make sure you meet James and Mandi.