|Donna and Don McEachern moved back to town for the third time in the fall of 2004. After traveling the world and experiencing many places, Donna said Hermann is where she wants to be. "I feel secure. I feel like people know me," she explained. They live, and Donna has opened a shop, in the fifth building the McEacherns have restored in Hermann since the 1980s.
Die Heimat and Little Hawk Studio opened in June of 2005. The shop is kind of a general store, which was influenced by a store her father owned when Donna was growing up in Kansas. "It was a cozy place to hang out. It was a place where you could get good food, good coffee, and an exchange of the news in Wichita," said Donna. As people did at her father's store, Donna said, "I want everyone to have a good time here." She admitted to having as much fun at Die Heimat as her customers do.
When the shop is open (Friday, Saturday and Sunday), Donna serves coffee, tea, hot chocolate, and cider. "I always have something delightful to eat that is homemade," she added. Shop hours are from 7-4 on these three days. When the shop is closed, Donna rents it to small groups for meetings and social events.
Die Heimat carries a little bit of everything. Donna prefers to deal in original work. Sometimes when she sees something interesting in a magazine she will contact the vendor. Inventory includes cookie cutters, German knit stockings, Dutch cookies from Holland, pottery from Poland, linens, teas and coffees, honeys, syrups, and sorghums, candles, candies, boiled wool tote bags, and things made by Donna. New items are introduced regularly.
Two cookbooks she wrote are for sale. Cookies and Things That Go Crunch When Swept Under the Rug features a bit of humor interspersed with family recipes and Die Heimat--Grounds to Eat, Drink and Be Merry includes her mother's coffee recipes.
Next door to Die Heimat is Donna's Little Hawk Studio. Here she creates her Village People. She makes these figures using "found fibers". Donna does not work with paper mache, nor does she use purchased materials. She applies layer upon layer of textures to create what she describes as a "real" look. Each figure takes an average of one month to complete.
Donna's father was what she described as a "Sunday artist". He was a builder during the week, but spent Sundays creating. And, her mother made things from tin can lids and coats from blankets. "If you don't have access to a crafts store, you get creative," she explained. "I'm not above scrounging. I can usually see the potential in things other people throw away." And, when she taught at a country school on an Indian reservation that could not afford art supplies, Donna took the students on nature trips to find "stuff" to use for art projects. "I found we could make anything out of nothing. You do what you have to do under the circumstances." That's when she started making life-size figures.
For a hot cup of coffee, a good laugh, an update on local news, and some interesting shopping, stop by Die Heimat at 209 Schiller St. between 7 and 4 Friday through Sunday. To contact Donna by phone, call 573-486-1123.