Wilma Stephens was first introduced to us by her cousin and fellow folk art carver, Minnie Adkins. One day we drove to visit and Minnie said, "Come on, I want you to meet my cousin Wilma." We drove to Wilma's house in town. She sold us the carved heads of a male and female and chatted before taking Minnie back to Peaceful Valley.
We had already heard about Wilma Stephens while purchasing a piece of her earlier work at the 1993 Elliot County Sorghum Fest. A group of about a dozen artists from Elliot and neighboring counties including Denzil Goodpaster and Garland and Minnie Adkins were displaying and selling their work.
We purchased a piece of Minnie's work titled "Minnie's Mouse" a tall mouse on skinny knob kneed legs. We were also interested in the piece titled "Moon Time." It looked like a wedge from a Crenshaw melon or yellow squash. It was obviously intended to be a crescent moon it's name suggested. Perched on the moon was a small male figure presenting a star. We assumed it was another one of Minnie's "one of a kind" pieces. The figure usually representing Garland in that era of her work looked just like the one on "Moon Time." Minnie noticed our interest. She said "no, it's Wilma Stephens. I helped" but it was "her signed work."
We have always appreciated the work for what it is and isn't, and what it represents Minnie's ethos of mentorship and community.