color X 2

Date : October 14, 2020

The Shakers literally ‘colored their world’ from the interior and exterior of their buildings, to the objects they used and to the garments they wore.

Slowly this vibrant world began to dawn on me about a month into my residency.  Was it when we examined their garments with a blue warp and red weft, a process they called ‘changeable,’ that renders a vibrating look to the coat or gown?  Was it standing in the storage room and seeing painted pails all the colors of the rainbow?  Was it being overwhelmed by the multiple yellow ochre hues of paint–peg rails, floor, built-in cupboard, window trim—contrasted with the blues, greens and reds of the objects in the dwelling room?

Hard to say if it was just one moment, but more likely an accumulation of hues over time that dazzled. The Shakers lived in a vibrant world, both interiorly, with their religious beliefs and exteriorly with their painted world.  If only I could time travel back for a day, a week and take that color walk with them. 

I invite you to take two color walks with me.

Next week on October 22 at 5:30pm via Zoom, Hancock Shaker Village Curator Sarah Margolis-Pineo and I will discuss my residency, the search for the Shaker palette through natural dyes and mine the collection for brilliantly colored examples.

Please sign up to join us for A Coat of Heavenly Brightness and register here at Hancock Shaker Village’s website.

Last week, I participated in ‘COLOR + ECOLOGY’ part of the The Common Thread Series, a collaboration with the Southern New England Fiber Shed and the Edna W. Lawrence Nature Lab at RISD.  Laurie Brewer, RISD Museum Costume & Textiles Associate Curator + RISD Apparel Faculty Member along with Amy DuFault and Dora Mugerwa discussed ‘how color’s relationship to regional ecology and history impact the curation of how colors are represented in fashion and textiles’. 

Video of our discussion is available here via The Nature Lab.


Category : community
Date : August 30, 2020

Later today a group of our communities’ essential workers—teachers, nurses, firefighters, health care workers, police officers, maintenance workers, foodbank volunteers, and grocery workers—will be thanked for their service over the past months.  No, they won’t be opening letters, but instead will be offered words and music by Yo Yo Ma, Anjimile, Emanuel Ax, Billy Keane, Chantell McFarland and Deval Patrick — Live from Hancock Shaker Village:  Songs of Comfort

Hancock Shaker Village is known as the City of Peace and seems a fitting place for this evenings’ thank you celebration.

Even though, The Shakers as a society operated outside of the World, as they termed it, they very much participated in and contributed to their surrounding communities.  In her book Shaker Cities of Peace, Love and Union: A History of the Hancock Bishopric, Deborah E. Burns cites many examples, but this one is both apt and particularly poignant.

“A report from Hudson, New York, in the Pittsfield Sun of November 28, 1803 states:  On Thursday morning last, between eight and nine o’clock, 73 waggons arrived in this city from New Lebanon loaded with different kinds of provisions which is a donation from the Societies of Shakers in New Lebanon and Hancock, to the sufferers by the late terrible epidemic in New York.  The following are the quantities of provisions which they shipped from there to New York, vix. 833 lb. of Pork, 1951 lb. of Beef, 1746 lb. mutton, 1685 lb. rye flour, 52 bushels rye, 24 do. beans, 179 do. potatoes, 34 do. carrots, 2 do. beets, 2 do. dried apples.  Besides these provisions the two Societies made up 300 dollars in specie, which is also to be presented to the poor of New York.  Would not the wealthy part of the community do well to imitate this most noble example of the Shakers?”

 Deborah Burns, Shaker Cities of Peace, Love and Union:  A History of the Hancock Bishopric, (Hanover: University Press of New England, 1993), pgs. 52-53.

Please note, this concert is limited to the invited audience and will be broadcast live on WAMC starting at 7pm and continues until 8:30 pm.

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