Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Beautiful Day in Connecticut!

Of course, we had many beautiful days in Connecticut, but the day we spent at the Lyman Allyn and Florence Griswold Museums was sunny and pretty as a picture!  So we took a few...  As you can see above the drive from Hartford to New London was lovely and we got our eyes full of the changing colors.

Once we arrived at the Lyman Allyn, we spent a few minutes appreciating the beautiful setting.
We picked up some acorn caps with the idea of making tiny pincushions... we'll show you how, soon.

Once inside, we were amazed at the array and the quality of the needlework we were shown.  So many incredible pieces, and our guide, Carolyn, was genuinely pleased to learn what she could from us, as we talked about the needlework, the stitches, and how it fit into what we'd been seeing during the week...

Becky and I were especially excited to see a sampler by Harriet Almy with some similarities to Becky's Sarah Almy sampler which has featured most of our Quaker motifs on our products!

Sarah's signature in 1817

Harriet's in 1822

House on Sarah's sampler

Harriet's House

And both chose verses with a similar theme.  This is Sarah's:

Diligence, industry, and 
Proper improvement of time,
are material duties of the 
young.  No trees bear fruit in autumn, unless they blossom 
in the spring. To the end that 
our age may be profitable and 
laden with fruit, let us all en
deavour that our youth may 
be studious, and flowered with 
the blossoms of learning and 

Harriet's is different, but the message is the same:

Observe the ant for she instructs the man
And preaches labour gathering all she can.
Then brings it to increase her heap at home
Against the winter which she knows will come
And when that comes she creeps abroad no more
But lies at home and feasts upon her store.

But there were many samplers and examples of needlework to be examined - some very closely indeed....

And who could resist this Adam and Eve?  We're not sure whether it's cellophane or clouds that are enveloping the sinning couple and an unhappy bunny on the left, or if we should be checking the basement for pods...  It's amazing to us to see some of the choices made a couple of hundred years ago and these make each piece unique and charming.  I think those are the first buttonhole wheel apples I've seen... aren't they beautiful?

Here a young man shoots his arrow toward a bird in the tree beside him.

All these beautiful samplers made us hungry!  We headed out to Old Lyme for the Morning Glory Restaurant - so pretty, and those are real morning glories, blooming in late October!

Nothing would do but we take some pictures of course - here are Barbara, Beth and Julie with Lynne Anderson, who was able to join us for the day.  Becky took the picture

And Lynne took this one:

After lunch we went in search of the Florence Griswold Museum, or the "Flo Grizz" as it was referred to by a member of the Connecticut Historical Society's staff...  We had a wonderful time there - the exhibit  "With Needle and Brush Schoolgirl Embroidery from the Connecticut River Valley" is amazing - curated by experts Carol and Stephen Huber, the show features pieces that have gone through their shop at some time or another, so each piece is one they are intimately familiar with.  The pieces are exquisite and we urge you to visit this wonderful exhibit before it closes January 30th.  If you can't make the trip, visit the Florence Griswold site to play with their interactive online exhibit.  We don't know if this will stay up after the close of the exhibit, so don't wait to go and "play".

Florence Griswold was an art patron who opened her home to artists to give them a place to work surrounded by beauty and tranquility.  To honor this contribution, each fall, the museum hosts different artists who make scarecrows for the grounds - this year, they honored a great artist from the past.  Some were easy to figure out:

And some were less so:

But we all agreed the grounds were absolutely inspiring!  Here's a view from beside the sleeping fellow above.

In fact, it inspired me to play with the photo editing program to make it more like a painting that one of the artists might have done:
Oh - Okay - back to work!  We had a lovely day, and rolled home to Hartford tired but happy!  Til next time...

Julie and Becky

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