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Archive for March, 2016|Monthly archive page

Sticks from the Past Create Art for the Present

In Art, History on March 31, 2016 at 7:53 pm

Sticks for em

What would you do if you were given a pile of 2-inch-long carved wooden sticks to reimagine? Not just any sticks, but sticks that are about 60 years old.

If you’re one of the area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, designers (you get the picture), you’d turn those sticks into something unique and/or useful, decorative and/or functional, whimsical and/or practical.

Donna Carlson made jewelry, with a Vanadinite stone.

Donna Carlson made jewelry, with a Vanadinite stone.

All for the Creative Challenge hosted annually by the Chester Historical Society.

For this year’s Challenge on Saturday, April 9 (obviously named the Sticks Challenge), the Chester Historical Society uncovered in a local barn boxloads of short wooden manicure sticks made (probably in the 1950s) at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works, which used to be on Maple Street.

According to Bruce Watrous, whose grandfather started the business along with Oliver Bishop in the 1920s, “The manicure sticks were made from ‘orange wood’ (citrus wood, because it will bend without splintering), mostly from Florida orange trees. Wood was sent from Florida to Maine, turned into dowels and then to Chester. Dowels were cut to different lengths and hand finished with slants or points.”

Digital archival image, "Starry Night," by Bill Vollers

Digital archival image, “Starry Night,” by Bill Vollers

For the past six or so years, the Chester Historical Society’s Creative Challenge has invited area artists to use artifacts from Chester’s rich manufacturing history to create items for a silent auction and reception to raise funds for the Historical Society. There have been challenges based on hooks from the Brooks Factory, knitting gauges from the C.J. Bates factory, and even rusted pieces “unearthed” from the yard of one of Chester’s earliest houses.

The finished pieces of “sticks” art, jewelry, sculptures, photographs, etc. will be exhibited and sold by silent auction at the Historical Society’s Reception on Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at the Chester Meeting House.

The reception will feature hearty hors d’oeuvres and desserts from Chester kitchens served with wine and non-alcoholic beverages.

Tickets for the evening are $30. They can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Lark, both in the center of Chester, or by calling Sosse Baker at Chester Gallery, 860-526-9822. They may be available at the door, if they have not sold out.

Sosse Baker basket, based on old Native American design

Sosse Baker basket, based on old Native American design

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the preservation and showcasing of Chester history through the Chester Historical Society and the Chester Museum at The Mill. Information is available on the Society website, www.chesterhistoricalsociety.org or at Facebook.com/chestercthistoricalsociety.

Take the Sticks Challenge to Create with 50-year-old Manicure Sticks

In Chester CT Events on March 22, 2016 at 11:41 am

sticks with factory photo webThe Chester Historical Society is inviting anyone who likes a challenge to participate in its sixth Creative Challenge linking Chester history and art.

This spring, those accepting the 2016 Sticks Challenge will be given a bagful of short wooden manicure sticks, made from Florida citrus trees and shaped at the Bishop and Watrous Novelty Works on Maple Street around 1950.

As with last year’s Hooked Again! Challenge based on hooks from Chester’s Simeon Brooks factory, this spring’s Sticks Challenge is for area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelry designers, and all others with a creative mind.

In 2015, using one of the hardware items in his envelopes from the Brooks factory samples, Jack Baker made this piece of art. It was a huge hit with all the attendees at the Silent Auction Reception.

In 2015, using one of the hardware items in his envelopes from the Brooks factory samples, Jack Baker made this piece of art. It was a huge hit with all the attendees at the Silent Auction Reception.

The sticks are available at Chester Gallery in Chester Center (860-526-9822). The artists’ entrance fee of $30 includes a bagful of the sticks and two tickets to the Sticks Challenge Silent Auction & Reception on Saturday, April 9 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Chester Meeting House.

All proceeds from the silent auction help the Chester Historical Society preserve Chester history and maintain the Chester Museum at The Mill.

For more info on the Historical Society and this year’s Creative Challenge, visit http://www.ChesterHistoricalSociety.com or Facebook.com/ChesterCTHistoricalSociety

Marching to Chester Letterbox

In Chester CT Events on March 6, 2016 at 7:56 am

letterboxIf you have visited the town of Chester recently, you may have noticed that Main Street is closed to through traffic due to bridge reconstruction. It should be completed later this spring, but in the meantime, Chester’s motto is: “We’re a Walking Town!”  When I saw the stickers that proclaimed this, I knew I had to carve a stamp to celebrate it.  And when I saw that the Chester Merchants had monthly themes to encourage business during the construction, I knew that the March theme, Marching to Chester, was telling me when to plant!

To find the letterbox, make your way to a store named for a bird. It has a window box in one of its front windows.  Carefully check behind the window box…

If you are seeing this on AQ, you know what to do!

If you have obtained these clues elsewhere:

1) Carefully retrieve the box—try to be discreet!

2) If you have your own stamp, stamp into the logbook in the box. If not, feel free to sign your name/nickname/trail name and leave us a message J

3) Stamp the letterbox stamp image into your own logbook, if you have one, or on loose paper to save J

4) Replace everything as you found it! The only possible exception is if you find a “hitchhiker” inside the letterbox—this can be taken and placed in another letterbox.

If letterboxing sounds like fun, please visit the following websites for more info:

www.atlasquest.com

www.letterboxing.org

If you’re not from Chester—please be sure to check out our little town! Most of the shops, restaurants, and galleries are open during the construction, though not all are open every day.  Expect Sundays to be quite busy, and Mondays to be very quiet!

Happy Trails!

≥KitKat≤

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