NEWS TOUR #1 – Local History at Deerfield Museum and Contemporary Creativity with Designer Kristin Nicholas
We will depart from Smith College at 9:00 A.M. and head up to Old Deerfield where we will visit the Memorial Hall Museum operated by the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association. Memorial Hall is one of New England’s oldest museums. When Deerfield Academy’s original 1798 school building became available, antiquarian George Sheldon organized the collection of artifacts that he was assembling and in 1880 Memorial Hall opened. The museum’s extraordinary collection of furnishings, paintings, textiles, and Indian artifacts is “the finest collection of local antiquities in New England” and is one of America’s oldest museums.
We will first hear a lecture by Curator Suzanne Flynt, author of Poetry to the Earth, a chronicle of the extraordinary story of how Arts and Crafts transformed this western Massachusetts farming village into a leading crafts center. She will talk about the women who were inspired by colonial furniture and textiles in Memorial Hall, and worked alongside their neighbors to learn crafts, set up shops in their front parlors, and exhibit their work locally and nationally. Deerfield’s fabled history and rural surroundings created an ideal environment for the Arts and Crafts, a movement that encouraged a return to hand craftsmanship, simplicity of design, and honesty of materials. In 1896, the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework was formed, followed in 1901 by the founding of the Deerfield Society of Arts and Crafts. After the lecture, participants will have an opportunity to explore the museum’s 19 rooms of art, culture, textiles and history.
After the morning in Deerfield, at around 12:30 we will head up to Leyden Glen Farm in Leyden, MA where we will enter a world of color, creativity, knitting, crochet, embroidery, stitching, farming, and life! Designer Kristin Nicholas will host our afternoon program with a visit to her farm and studio and a talk about her colorful world. Kristin makes things. She knits. She stitches. She paints. She makes pottery. She takes photos. She teaches. She blogs. She writes books. She illustrates books. She and her family live on a working sheep farm with over 300 sheep, one Border Collie – Kate, four guard animals, a llama named Jeremy and two Great Pyrenees pups named Sadie and Beau, many chickens, many cats. We will arrive around 1:00 P.M. and upon arrival, we will take our lunch in the garden followed by a talk by Kristin following her journey into a creative life. She learned to sew when she was nine years old and shortly after that she learned how to embroider, crochet and knit. As an adult, she has learned to make pottery, paint pictures, and decorate her house. However, the continuing thread for Kristin has been a real love and passion for color and pattern. Along the way she has written and illustrated eleven books on knitting and embroidery and design. Her most recent book, Crafting a Colorful Home, shows how she decorates, collects, makes, and colors her 1751 farmhouse. Written with thrift and style in mind, Kristin will give you ideas to make your home cozy, welcoming and artistic.
We should finish around 4:00 and will be back at Smith College by 5:00 P.M. Transportation for the program will be via tour bus, with facilities on board and air conditioning. Lunch will be a catered box lunch and lunch choices will be offered about two weeks before the tour. Participants should be mobile and able to walk some distances on uneven ground.
Join us for a visit to the studio of Northampton Tapestry Artist Micala Sidore.
Michaela established the studio in 1987, and it is here that she develops cartoons, weaves tapestries and gives workshops. Micala has studied and toured all over the world, so you can expect to hear about some of the destinations where her passion has taken her.
She will also demonstrate a few tapestry techniques. The program will take place from 2:00 – 4:00 at the Hawley Street Tapestry Studio, 19C Hawley Street, Northampton, MA 01060 which is 0.6 miles from the campus and is a 15-20 minute walk.
About tapestry she says “Sometimes, the tapestry relates a story, and sometimes, the tapestry teaches something about the process of weaving.”
A native of Manchester, New Hampshire, Micala Sidore earned both her BA in literature, 1974, and her MFA in writing and translation, 1978, at Goddard College in Vermont. She completed her first tapestry in 1979. Between 1984 and 1987, and again in 2002, she interned at the Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins, the French National Tapestry studios. (In 1988, she co-represented the studios at the International Tapestry Symposium in Melbourne, Australia.)
Since then, she has exhibited her work widely, taken many workshops (including a couple of month-long residencies in India) delivered dozens of talks all over the world and written about 40 articles. Her solo show, Black + White + Red All Over, went on display in several places including the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2007. Most recently Micala curated The Art is the Cloth, a series of reflections which included the work of 60 tapestry weavers from Canada, Mexico and the US where it toured three venues in the northeast.