Valerie Oliver

Early American Decoration

Valerie B. Oliver – Ashford author’s recently published book, The Historical Society of Early American Decoration, its historical record describes the efforts since 1946 to preserve and continue the decorative techniques popular in the late 18 th – mid-19 th century: country painting, stenciling, gold leaf and free hand bronze work. Pontypool, pen and ink, theorem and reverse glass painting well as Victorian flower painting, clockdial painting and the schoolgirl art of watercolor painting on boxes and furniture popular during 1790-1830.
This is a fascinating history of an organization of members, mostly women, from the northeastern U.S. especially New York, Pennsylvania and New England.

See more – By the author of Fashion and Costume in American Popular Culture, a reference guide, Greenwood Press, 1996, this publication shows the same attention to detail, 236 pages plus index complemented by over 120 colored photographs. The author a former trustee and president of the Society continues to carry out decorative painting projects.

Valerie’s book is $35 local pickup or $45 with shipping; contact Valerie to order.

Valerie B. Oliver was born in Nashua, NH; she graduated from Classical H.S., Springfield, MA, received her BS in Mathematics from St. Lawrence Univ. in 1960 and MLS from McGill Univ. in 1961. Her professional career as a librarian began at the Research Labs Library at United Aircraft. Her many  years as a Reference Ln. at UCONN’s Homer Babbidge Library, culminated with the publication of her book,Fashion and Costume in American Popular Culture, a reference guideby Greenwood Press in 1996.  

  Her interests in early American decoration began in the early 1970s with teacher Florence Rainville of Uncasville, CT. She became an Historical Society of Early American Decoration (HSEAD) member in 1997, eventually serving as Connecticut Charter Oak Chapter Chairman, then as an HSEAD Trustee and finally as HSEAD President 2011-2012.  She currently serves as their Historian and as assistant editor of their journal The Decorator.  Her decorative painting work consists of country painting on metal and wood, stenciling, freehand bronze work, gold leaf work and reverse glass painting (all using historically documented patterns).  Reproducing old designs such as those seen on the 18th-19th c. Pennsylvania German decorated documents called frakturs  involves  work with a pen and with watercolor paints, a process  both easily and enjoyably performed.  The designs have many uses  i.e. cards, bookplates, letter heads or simply framed for display.

Michael W. Hughey

 Michael Hughey, a Craftsman and Artist in letterforms and the book arts has had a love affair with beautiful letters and beautiful books since childhood. Originally from Asheville, he lived for many years in NC but now resides in Northeast CT. His calligraphic works are published both nationally and internationally and collected in public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, NYC, and the Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa, Israel. He feels that even in an age of increasing technology, “…there is, indeed, an important place in human society for the warmth, beauty, and grace that calligraphy can bring to our lives.”

He exhibits note cards, limited-edition prints, and original calligraphy at the Ashford Farmer’s Market. He also teaches both calligraphy & handwriting privately.

Poetry Workshop Begins 2/5/24

Tony Paticchio will be hosting six new ZOOM
poetry workshop sessions beginning February 5th.
The sessions meet bi-weekly from 6:00-8:00 PM
Eastern Time, generally on Monday evenings.
There are a few openings (2-3) if anyone is interested
in joining. They spend the first hour reading
and discussing a selection of poems, usually from
contemporary and near contemporary poets. During the second hour they
workshop their own poetry and short prose pieces. You do not need to
be a writer to participate. They are looking for participants who have an
interest in poetry and would like to read and discuss poems together with
a group (and if so inclined share their own work with the group).
Contact Tony  if you are interested or have questions. They are a wide-ranging group, having several members who join them from as far away as the West Coast.

Pen Turning Workshop – 2/24/24

Back by Popular demand!
The Central Connecticut Woodturners Club and the
Ashford Area Arts Council will have another pen
turning event on Saturday Feb. 24 from 10 to 2 at
Knowlton Hall. Absolutely no woodturning experience
necessary…and the event is FREE!

Open to all ages: any kids must be at least 10 years old to participate. There will be plenty of skilled woodturners there to guide you in creating a beautiful pen! No reservations needed, just come between 10am – 2pm.

AAAC Artists at the Ashford Farmers Market

The following artists will be vendors at the new INDOOR Ashford Farmers Market. This will be in the Knowlton Hall, Sunday mornings.

Michael W. Hughey, Craftsman and Artist in letterforms and the book arts has had a love affair with beautiful letters and beautiful books since childhood. Originally from Asheville, he lived for many years in NC but now resides in Northeast CT. His calligraphic works are published both nationally and internationally and collected in public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum, NYC, and the Bahá’í World Centre, Haifa, Israel. He feels that even in an age of increasing technology, “…there is, indeed, an important place in human society for the warmth, beauty, and grace that calligraphy can bring to our lives.”

He will exhibit note cards, limited-edition prints, and original calligraphy at the Ashford Farmer’s Market, Dec. 3rd & 17th, 10AM to 12:30 PM. He also teaches both calligraphy & handwriting privately.

John Boiano – Oakes Hollow Mud Werks
John is a potter who creates usable art inspired by nature. He is continually delving into new color schemes and design styles that borrow from the past while expanding creative boundaries.

Song baskets

Karrie Kirchner


Karrie Kirchner (she/her) is an Artist, Spiritual Director, Certified Yoga Instructor and Gardener.  Karrie works with all types of media – ink, paint, fibers, textiles, fabric, paper, beads, plant material and found objects. Collage is her favorite; creating sacred space is her passion. She takes a seeker’s approach to life and enjoys playing with metaphors. Her favorite movie is Kung Fu Panda 3.
www.karriekirchner.com

A Summer Palette

Ashford Area Arts Council (AAAC) and Westford Hill Distillers (WHD) are eagerly planning for another successful A Summer’s Palette!  Join us in showcasing our talented artisans on the Saturday, June 24th RAIN OR SHINE from 10:00am – 4:00pm.

The Quiet Corner of CT is home to many talented, and nationally recognized, artisans and authors. 
The idyllic setting of Westford Hill Distillers is rich in colors, views and history and provides for a picture-perfect day for all.  It’s a day to relax and breathe in the natural beauty of the Chatey’s property while supporting 30+ local artists.  In addition, the day will offer:

  • – Plein air painting – bring your own chair & easel & capture this beautiful setting on canvas! 
  • – A Summer’s Palette signature cocktail created by Westford Hill Distillers, plus other craft spirit beverages.
  • – Meet the distiller, Louis Chatey, and learn about 25 years of Westford Hill Distillers and this historic property.
  • – Sweet Lil Details baked goods https://www.sweetlildetailsllc.com/
  • – Live music
  • – Poetry readings by local poets  
  • – Kids activities (incl. a plein air table w/supplies)
  • – Pollinator Pathways and Garden Club table
Suzy Staubach, Potter and Author – suzy@willowtreepottery.us
Dan Merlo, Wood turner – dlm3817@gmail.com
Steve Gerling, wood carver, colored pencil, watercolor artist –segerling@snet.net
Dan Rackliffe, potter – DanRackliffePottery@gmail.com
Jane Rackliffe, glass artist – janerackliffe@gmail.com
Kathy Weigold, hand woven fabrics – www.swiftwaters.org
Gretchen Geromin/Lauren Merlo, decorative wood – Art at Thistle Run
Joseph Burger, watercolor – joseph-burger.pixels.com
Michael Metsak, goat’s milk soap and lotions – Hy-Hopefarm.com
Joan Blade Johnson, fabric artist – www.jbjfiberart.com
Mark Drobney, wood and laser cutouts
Anna Harding, stained glass – Annas Infinity Art on Etsy
Sue Muldoon, woven baskets – www.reduxforyou.com
Debora Aldo, mosaic artist – www.pietreduredesign.com
Marylin MaKuch, Metal Jewelry – Artist Open Studio page
T-Shirts with a Purpose, artist designed shirts – Facebook Page
Here’s the PDF of the artists, schedule and event layout:

Come for the art, the setting, the spirits, the food, the music, the camaraderie & fun… Whatever your inspiration, we welcome you!  

Although we adore pets, we ask that you do not bring them to this event. Thank you!

More than 25 artists will be exhibiting and selling their artwork, plus enjoy live music, observe or participate in plein air painting. Woodturning and woodcarving, pottery, authors, fiber art, fairy houses, hand-made soaps, basketry, mosaics, musical instruments, photography, weaving, and more.

Desserts by Sweet “Lil Details, plus craft cocktails available for purchase.  All this fun is taking place on the grounds at Westford Hill Distillers, New England’s first craft distiller.  Westford Hill Distillers is located on a 200-acre property that has been under the stewardship of the Chatey family since 1919. Enjoy the mature gardens, learn about craft distillation. Live music includes performances by Ashford’s Babcock Cornet Band, the longest-performing cornet band in the country. This is what a day in June should be–bring along your friends, enjoy art, hear great music and drink in an authentic New England experience in Connecticut’s Quiet Corner.  

Dan Rackliffe

Dan Rackliffe

Dan has been an active potter since 2014. He teaches hand building techniques and working on the potters wheel in a retirement community in Florida during the winter and works out of his studio In Ashford from May through September.

Some of his work work can be seen at DanRackliffePottery.com or contact him by email.