Archive for October, 2015|Monthly archive page

Dina Varano Celebrates 25 Years in Business

In Chester Business, History, Shopping on October 24, 2015 at 1:47 pm

The current exhibition at Dina Varano Gallery celebrates Dina’s 25th year in business.  A source of extraordinary inspiration, this collection is a “must-see” for both aspiring artists/entrepreneurs and fans of art and jewelry  alike.

The show’s opening was a festive celebration and most attendees were adorned in their favorite Dina Varano jewelry from across the past two and a half decades. A book is in production to accompany the show, featuring customers and collectors’ favorite pieces along with stories and memories of how each piece was received.  There was an in-house photographer to capture the opening evening’s essence and to record additional images for the book. The gallery is accepting submissions in the year to come, in hopes to publish by the close of this 25th year.dina spine back piece with tahitian pearl

In addition to Dina’s jewelry, photos and articles are on display, showcasing details of the path Dina has traveled, beginning with her years at RISD on to the conception of Dina Varano Gallery and following its incarnations over the years.

In among the archives on display, fans and patrons may learn little known facts about the artist. For example: Dina’s brief storefront on Main Street in Deep River (below), opened during the summer of her sophomore year at RISD. The precocious art student took over the space (and kept the shop’s apropos name “…on the Verge of Chic”).  She hosted events and thus began her local following. Dina returned to RISD that fall and the following semester traveled abroad to an Honors Study in Rome. She later returned to Italy in 1991 to study with a Master Goldsmith and took part in an invitational show in London.

dina 1989 deep river

One of the many photographs in this retrospective exhibit is from a fashion invitational show at the American Craft Museum in New York.  With its beautiful expression of movement, Dina’s Spine Necklace (shown above) was designed with the intention of being worn down the back. The Spine Necklace hangs in the gallery (above the photograph) and is crafted from sterling silver with a Tahitian pearl at its base. It measures 10.5″ long, hanging from a chain made by Dina that measures 18″ in length.

Another important photo in the exhibit is one of Pablo Picasso finishing a meal having, merely, a fishbone remaining. Dina has created many designs based on the construction of a fishbone and this photo has often served as inspiration to her. Several pieces of jewelry in the gallery are thoughtfully displayed beside their inspiration to invoke a sense of the process. Devotees have become fascinated with seeing finished, wearable pieces of jewelry that were inspired by an original form, as it is in nature. For example, a piece of birch bark, displayed next to a bracelet and ring, reflecting its form in oxidized and brushed sterling silver.

dina natural bark sterling silver cuff bracelet, oxidized silver ring

After graduating from RISD, Dina opened her studio/gallery on Main Street in Essex. During these years, in addition to designing, making and selling her jewelry and art to local clients, she began receiving interest from larger retailers like Barney’s. Also, museum shops began to feature her work. For instance, SFMOMA Museum Store highlighted her collection for its lyrical movement during an Alexander Calder exhibition.  Dina began to travel all over the country (New York, Chicago, San Francisco) with her jewelry to exhibit for retailers at trade shows. At one time, she was carrying close to 200 wholesale accounts.

In 1995, Dina Varano Gallery opened its doors in Chester and has remained a destination on charming Main Street. Dina Varano became the go-to shop for, not only, her innovative designs but for gifts, tabletop and accessories. Recent renovations in 2013 have brought a fresh, new look to the gallery in hope to “impart new vigor”. Although, still accompanied by a carefully curated selection of fashion accessories and objects for décor, the jewelry is the focus. Dina feels an important part of the process of operating a business for 25 years (and counting) is to continually add crisp ideas and creations, and sometimes that means the space, itself.

Undoubtedly, this retrospective show has been a time of reflection. And often reflection brings invaluable inspiration. So, what is next for this artist/entrepreneur? One thing is certain. The devotion to her craft and the commitment to her philosophy will continue for many, many years to come.

The current exhibit celebrating 25 years is on display at 27 Main Street in Chester until October 25th.The gallery and the collection are continuing to develop an online presence. Visit Find Dina Varano Gallery on Facebook and Instagram.

Halloween Celebration – Friday, Oct. 30

In Chester CT Events on October 13, 2015 at 7:47 pm

Come One, Come All! This year’s Halloween Celebration & Carnival  in downtown Chester is sure to be the best one yet. Bring your lively spirit and wear your best costumes for an evening of fun and games.


Free activities include the Children’s Costumed Parade led by Chester’s Fife and Drum Corps, Costume Contest, Trick-or-Treating at the Merchants, Maple and Main Gallery Festive Craft, Chester Library Photo Bookmark Craft, Music by DJ Gary Torello and Dancing with Rayna, as well as Scary Stories performed by Miss Judy.


Michele Procko hands out candy at Ceramica

Plus, the PTO will sell tickets for games, cider, popcorn, and cupcakes – WIN PRIZES!

Accompanied children are welcome to meet at Chesterfields for free Treat Bag Decorating & Halloween Fun at 5pm. To walk in the parade, meet at Chesterfields, 132 Main Street, by 5:45pm. Chester center will be closed to all vehicles from 5 to 9pm, but parking is available in several public lots.

This event is sponsored by the Chester Elementary School PTO, Chester Rotary and Chester Merchants. Many of the shops and galleries will remain open during the Carnival to pass out treats and be open for business.

Dress up! You may win a prize!

Dress up! You may win a prize!

Admission is free, with tickets sold for games and food. Carnival proceeds help fund the school’s community cultural arts program, educational field trips, enhancements to the school grounds and other on-premise programs. The Chester Elementary PTO is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

Chester Museum at The Mill tells Chester’s story

In History, News on October 11, 2015 at 8:28 am

Chester Museum at The Mill - spring 2014 for webThe Chester Museum at The Mill is open for its sixth year. Owned and operated by the Chester Historical Society since 2000, the museum is located on the historic 1850s Griswold Mill site, overlooking a waterfall and the Pattaconk Brook, just steps from the town center. The mill site was once used to produce anchors, wagon springs and augers.

Two exhibits, filling the two floors of the museum, tell the story of the life, development and growth of Chester, since it was first home to the Wagunk Indians.

New this year is the first floor exhibit, “Pastimes in Past Times: Chester at Play,” curated by Keith Dauer and Sandy Senior-Dauer. From dolls and blocks to Lotto and Erector Sets, the exhibit focuses on the ways Chester families spent their leisure time indoors, as well as outdoors with baseball games and winter sports such as sledding and skating. The exhibit includes an interactive section of toys and games for children of all ages.

left handed baseball glove em

On the second floor of the museum (reachable by elevator as well as stairs) is the permanent award-winning exhibit, “Streams of Change: Life & Industry along the Pattaconk,” which interprets the growth and evolution of Chester and how the town adapted over three hundred years.

Outside, two historic millstones, probably the oldest Chester artifacts, flank the front door, surrounded by new stonework and plantings. These enhancements were made possible through a grant from the Community Fund of Middlesex County and were done by Chris Lawrie of Landscape Specialties.

The Chester Museum at The Mill is open to the public for self-guided tours on Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. and Sundays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through the weekend of October 24-25. It reopens for Thanksgiving visitors on Nov. 27 & 28, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It is handicapped accessible. Admission is free. More information at or