Historical Society to put artisans on display
Leslie Nolan is short on time. It’s pretty busy around the Wilton Historical Society, and Ms. Nolan, the director, has appointments to keep, phones to answer, and visitors to greet.
At this point, she’s also trying to catch a plane to Minnesota to visit her daughter’s college.
Upon her return, she is right back to planning for the 28th annual American Artisan Show, beginning with a preview party on Friday, Nov. 1. Though the show has been previously held at Wilton High School, this will be the first time it will be on the grounds of the historical society.
In the meantime, somebody is on the phone again. Plus she’s trying to find artwork.
“I’m just going too fast,” she said.
Soon she takes a walk to show off the inside of the buildings, which are undergoing a transformation to prepare for the event. Space has been opened for the artisans to display their wares.
“As of now, we have 30 vendors,” she said. “They keep calling.”
The weekend event kicks off with a preview on Nov. 1 from 6:30 to 9:30. Hors d’oeuvres will be provided by the Schoolhouse Restaurant. A silent auction will also take place. Tickets cost $75.
“It’s open to the world,” Ms. Nolan said. “Everyone is invited. We’re going to have tents outside, and the food, and the auction. It’s going to be great.”
The show will continue over the weekend, open on Saturday, Nov. 2, from 10 to 5, and then on Sunday, Nov. 3, from 11 to 4. Tickets for each day are $5.
It’s important to Ms. Nolan to emphasize that the artisan show is different from the antiques market at Wilton High School on Sunday, Oct. 27, from 9 to 5.
“Some people think it’s one show,” she said. “It’s two different shows.”
The show will feature more than 30 — and the number seemed to keep going up — artisans displaying their various creations throughout the historical society grounds. Throughout the five buildings — the two 18th-Century homes, two 19th-Century barns, and the blacksmith shop, there will be something for everyone.
Among the many offerings is Barking Dog Studios, featuring sterling silver jewelry that is made all by hand. Anderson and Stauffer Furniture will bring authentic copies of American antiques from across the last three centuries. The company, from Lititz, Pa., in the heart of the Pennsylvania Dutch country, promises its work is exacting in its authenticity.
Nine Patch Studio presents quilts that are works of art.
“I create miniature quilts inspired by traditional 19th-Century designs,” said Kathie Ratcliffe of Nine Patch Studios. “Each miniature quilt captures the essence of an actual 19th-Century American pieced quilt or quilt pattern.” These quilts, often preserved in museums or private collections, are priceless expressions of early American creativity and design.
Back in Wilton, preparation continues, and excitement is high.
“We are thrilled to be celebrating our 75th anniversary with our 28th annual American Artisan Show, for the first time to be held on the museum grounds,” said Greg Chann, president of the Wilton Historical Society. “This show will allow visitors to not only enjoy the fine craftsmanship of 30 unique artisans but also get a glimpse at Wilton’s best-kept secret — a world-class house museum.”
Helen Stauderman, a member of the board of trustees, agreed.
“Our ‘tag line’ for the artisan show, which replaces our 28-year-old craft show fund-raiser, has been ‘Celebrating 75 Years — What’s Old Is New’ and it is still viable, I think,” she said. “It may be the first time that many people will see these beautiful historic buildings, and understand why we have fund-raisers to help maintain them.”
The show is being chaired by Elaine Richter, and the party co-chairs are Katy Williams and Janet Foster.
“The volunteers have done such an amazing job,” Ms. Nolan said. “I can’t say enough great things about Greg Chann as well. He has worked so hard on this. Helen Stauderman has been great also. I can’t name everybody, but it really is a community event.”
“For 75 years, the Wilton Historical Society has dedicated itself to preserving the history of this town I love while opening its doors and its collections to all of us in an effort to keep that past alive. I’m thrilled to be a part of this celebration,” Ms. Foster said.
“We can’t wait,” added Ms. Nolan. “It’s really going to be fun.”