Friday, September 29, 2023

September 2023 Meeting

I was not able to attend the September Meeting, however I am sure we ran through all the normal reports and notices.   What I do know for sure is about the program held at the September meeting.  I had previously participated in a class with Michelle Ink at Jamboree at Salty Yarns,  and I knew all about the process.   

We hosted Michelle Ink Designs for a class in silver making.   What?   It was an introduction to silver alchemy for stitchers.   The options of what to make varied from silver strawberry toppers to needle minders to jewelry.  

Michelle starts the class with her history and her journey.  She then walked you through the process, explaining each step the class would follow and what she, herself, will do after the class.    

Everyone received their clay in the foil package.  The clay had to be worked until it became a creamy consistency.

Michelle had an amazing number of molds to choose from.   The clay was rolled in a ball.  It was then placed in the center of the mold and pressed from the center out.  This was to avoid seams or cracks and to allow the excess silver clay to be pressed off the edges.  A paint brush and small amount of water was used to brush and smooth the edges.  No worries.   There was no waste.  Any extra was removed and rolled into a smaller ball to be used with another mold. 

Because the need to be fired, once each student finished with their molding, their pieces were left for Michelle to take back to her studio.   Michelle painstakingly did fine tuning on each molded piece, smoothing the  edges and rounding out any holes made in the piece.    She then fired each piece.  Polished each piece.  Finally tenderly packaging each class attendees piece and delivering it directly to their home address.   The follow-up process took about 6 weeks which was made clear before the class so everyone realized they would not be walking out with their pieces.

Use your imagination to see how a finished topper fits a strawberry.

Michelle can be found on Facebook at Michelle Ink Designs.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

August 2023 Meeting

Our August Meeting was via Zoom only.   The meeting was called to order by our President Linda D. and following our Committee Reports, etc. our program was launched.

We were treated to the knowledgable and fabulous Jennifer Richardson of Violets and Verses.   She spoke on the Shakers and particularly, the To Emeline Sampler.  So what are “Shakers” you may ask.   They organized in the United States in the 1780’s.  They were first called the “Shaking Quakers” because they actually shook their arms and bodies during singing to cast off the bad thoughts and ill will.  They practiced celibacy and lived in a communal, utopian society.  They were pacifists and believe in the equality of the sexes.  They were known for their simple lifestyle, their thirst for technological innovations, their music, they were avid gardeners saving seeds for the next season and also known for their furniture making.  There is only one Shaker settlement still in existence today and since Shakers are celibate…..well, I need not say any more on that.   

One particular Shaker settlement is the Enfield Shakers, Enfield, New Hampshire.   They owned and  farmed over 3,000 acres.  In Mount Lebanon, NY, they had a successful seed business.   The Shakers were the first to package seeds for sale. They create innovations in marketing seeds, distributing them, packaging and cataloging which lead to lasting change in the horticultural business forever. 

They also did broom making.  On site at Enfield, is a building that is being renovated to house the broom making.     Did you know a good broom will stand up on its own?   Their’s all do.   They sell all the different varieties of brooms they make in the gift shop and they also offer a 3 hour class to make your own broom!

Also onsite, the 1854 cow barn…..mainly full of pigeons now.

In the next building, Shaker clothing is on display as well as The Tempestry Project.

The Tempestry Project started in Washington State in 2017.   Because climate change is always a difficult topic, crafters used their medium to ‘chart’ temperature patterns and changes.  In Enfield, they knitted with worsted merino wool using a key with a different color to represent every degree.  

Done in 10 year increments, they knitted a row to represent the average temperature for each day of one of the years in that decade.

The original site in Enfield had over 100 buildings which included  the “Great Stone Dwelling”. The largest ever Shaker building which now houses the Museum.  Due to declining membership, they were force to sell  property in 1927.  In property was sold again in 1985 by a private group of investors.  In 1997, the Museum was able to repurchase the Chapel as well as other Enfield buildings.  

This is the Chapel on the left and the Great Stone Dwelling on the right.  The Chapel was build on a piece of land that was sold to the Our Lady of La Salette, an order of Catholic priests.

The Museum tour offers some great finds.   Original “Dorothy” cloaks.  Typical construction with hood and cape.   These cloaks have “The Dorothy” labels inside the neckline.  One of a couple different cloak patterns they used.  Using this photo, the scene was re-created in the museum.

Shaker furniture 

In the Dining Hall there are several examples of perforated paper stitched pieces.

Walls of built in cabinetry.  Not a bit of wasted space!
Storage closet for dinner ware.

Shakers set their tables in sets of four so everything was in reach of each diner.  Shakers ate in 15 minutes and there was no talking at the table.   With everything within reach it wasn’t necessary to ask to have something passed to you.

Thick walls and their shutter ‘storage’ built in to the window casing.

The built-ins found in the bedrooms.

So much for a Shaker Village, now on to the project.  
                                                        To Emeline - AW 1847

This sampler is believed to have been given by AW as a token of friendship to Emeline.   Jennifer did extensive research and can determine that AW is most likely Ann Maria Wheeler.   She lived in the Shaker Village for about a year.  She left the Shaker Village near Albany, NY to rejoin her husband in Oswego, NY.  Jennifer admitted the her’s is just speculation as far as the identity of AW.   Emeline, on the other hand, has more information.   She was born in 1793 and lived to be nearly 80 years old.  She is buried in a Shaker Cemetery near Colonie, NY.  Emeline would have had a busy life working various jobs as women played an active role in the Shaker community.  Emeline served in a leadership role as an eldress of the community.  

The original sampler is owned by the Western Historical Society, Cleveland, Ohio.