Holiday Stroll & Dec. Fun at Litchfield History Museum

The Litchfield History Museum is offering a special Holiday Stroll on Sunday, November 30 from 2:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. This festive event will include a holiday stroll of this historic town as well as materials to make your own holiday ornaments!

In addition to the festivities, this will be the last day to view this year’s excellent exhibition, “Join the Brave Throng: Poster Art of WWI and the other exhibits at the Litchfield History Museum and the Tapping Reeve House & Law School.

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Although the museums will be closed after November 30, the Litchfield History Museum has several interesting programs planned for the month of December that includes a lecture on December 7 of the hidden history of Litchfield County at 1 p.m. This lecture traces the past of the area that is hidden in plain sight. Among the all-but-forgotten stories is the 1886 fire that roared down West Street in Litchfield causing hotel guests to flee their rooms at the Mansion House. In Bantam, the Art Deco chairs offered by the Warren McArthur Corporation caught the attention of the War Department who asked the company to make seats for bombers in World War II. With these and other hidden tales author Peter C. Vermilyea explores the little-known history of Litchfield Hills.

On December 10 at 7 p.m. there will be an archives workshop that will review the best ways to store cherished heirlooms. Basic storage techniques ranging from museum-quality archival practices to simple and affordable solutions, tips on displaying your fabric treasures, and just some good old-fashioned do’s and don’ts will be reviewed to help you store your treasures for generations. Free for members, $10 for non-members.

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On December 17, the Leather Apron Book Club will hold a meeting from 3:30- 5 p.m. The group will be reading Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen. This is the story of 13-year-old Samuel who must help to save his family, taken prisoner by the British during the Revolutionary War. Following a discussion of the book, we’ll play a game or make a craft related to the story. Register by December 12 and get a copy of the book! This is best for kids 8 and up. The cost is $10 for members and $15 for non-members.

For more information visit http://litchfieldhistoricalsociety.org.

Bethel Salutes the holidays

Downtown Bethel is saluting the holidays with a series of special events sure to please holiday gift buyers and browsers. To kick off the season, Bethel has decorated and lit their gorgeous holiday tree. On Saturday, November 29, Bethel is inviting kids to meet Santa from a 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bethel Municipal Center. Pose for photos with Santa then browse the items displayed by local artisans and vendors at the Santa Village Marketplace.

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Also on November 29, the Bethel Chamber is sponsoring a Run Santa Run 5K where participants can opt to run as Santa, an elf, a holiday tree or even a present! The 5K Run / Walk starts at 11:00 a.m.Kids Fun Run starts at 10:15 a.m.

Along with the 5K, Santa’s Village Marketplace will be setup inside the Bethel Municipal Center. A great way to start your holiday shopping. After the 5K, Santa will be inside for you to visit with and have your picture taken.

Beginning on December 4, each Thursday in December will be the Bethel Wine and Shop event that begins at 4 p.m. and lasts until the closing time of shop participants. This is the first annual wine and shop event and participants can purchase a passport for $25 for shopping and dining purposes. More than a dozen merchants will serve you wine when you show your passport. And, when shopping is over, use your passport at several restaurants in town for special dining offers.

For details call the Bethel Chamber at 203-743-6500. For additional information visit http://bethelchamber.com or call 203-743-6500.

In Our Own Backyard at Sharon Historical and Darrin Winston Bookseller

Located in the scenic corner of the Litchfield Hills in Northwest Connecticut, the Sharon Historical Society is hosting a new show in it’s gallery, In Our Own Backyard… Five Women Express Life Where We Live, through December 20.

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Gallery visitors will experience the beauty of our area’s rolling hills, long vistas, fields and marshes, deep skies and stretches of water in artwork created by local artists. Dorothy Fox, Nancy Goldberger, Patricia Hogan, Linda Wenkert and Lilly Woodworth share their love of the Litchfield Hills and surrounding area with paintings in oil, watercolor, acrylic and pastel.

The gallery is open Wed. – Fri. from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information on the Sharon Historical Society http://www.sharonhist.org.

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After visiting the Sharon Historical Society, don’t forget to stop in to visit Darren Winston Bookseller in Sharon located on 81 Main Street, steps away from the Historical Society. Here you will find a fabulous array of antiquarian books from vintage pulp fiction to finely bound classics there is something for everyone. The shop is also an art gallery with changing shows and art exhibitions. For more information visit http://www.darrenwinstonbookseller.com/

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For the holidays, the shop will be displaying a wonderful selection of things that are perfect for holiday gifts. In addition to this, you will be able to see the art show, If 6 was 9 featuring The Topsy-Turvy World of Tom Wood. Darrin Winston Books is open Thursday – Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For information on the Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Kent’s Annual Holiday Champagne Stroll

To get in the holiday mood, visit Kent, a quiet village located in the the heart of the Litchfield Hills that has organized a great holiday outing for young and old alike. On November 28 and 29, visitors are invited to attend the second annual Champagne Stroll where local merchants will be pouring champagne from 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. on both days.

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Stroll participants will be awarded with special offers throughout town and will even be entered into a contest to win one of 3 great bottles of champagne! For additional information visit http://www.kentct.com.

The Kent Historical Society is getting into the swing of things with a special display at the Champagne Stroll highlighting material from Camp Po-Ne-Mah and Camp Francis. The Kent Historical Society we will be displaying items in a Trunk Show at 5 Kent Green Boulevard during Kent’s Champagne Stroll, from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. You’ll see the old Po-Ne-Mah sign, as well as several other highly evocative pieces from their collection. This trunk show will provide a glimpse of their 2015 show, and give visitors a better understanding of the allure of this pleasant community.

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The Kent Historical Society’s mission is to collect, preserve, interpret and present the rich history of Kent as well as to provide educational and research material to enrich the public understanding of Kent’s artistic and cultural heritage. For more information, see www.kenthistoricalsociety.org or call 860-927-4587.

For area information on where to stay, events and where to go in Litchfield Hills www.litchfieldhills.com

Clare Romano & John Ross: 70 Years of Printmaking at Center for Contemporary Printmaking

The fall exhibition, featuring a sampling from the extensive collection of original prints by Clare Romano and John Ross, at The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (CCP), 299 West Ave., in Mathews Park, Norwalk, runs through Sunday, December 14, 2014.
Gallery visitors have the opportunity to view original prints made by these preeminent printmaking artists, educators, and authors—husband and wife, each with their own acclaimed individual careers—who have made the fine art of printmaking, with a particular emphasis on the art of the collagraph, their life’s work.

John Ross, "Duomo"

John Ross, “Duomo”

Clare Romano and John Ross had a major influence on the art printmaking and printmaking students. For many, their text, “The Complete Printmaker”, represented the next wave in printmaking. The exhibition showcases landscapes and cityscapes, lithographs, etchings, silkscreens, woodcuts, letterpress and, of course, collagraphs. Visitors will discover novel and innovative images using silk aquatint, asymmetrically cut plates, and the combination of intaglio and relief on the same plate.

The Center has scheduled an Artists Talk and Book Signing with John and Tim Ross for December 10 from 7 to 8:30 pm. Clare Romano and John Ross wrote and illustrated a number of books together, the first entitled Manhattan Island (1957) and the most important publication, The Complete Printmaker, originally published in 1972 is now in its second edition with Artist/Printmaker and Educator Tim Ross joining his parents as co-author. The Complete Printmaker is still used as a printmaking text in college classrooms today.

Clare Romano, "Silver Canyon"

Clare Romano, “Silver Canyon”

Normal hours are Tuesday through Sunday 9 am to 5 pm. The gallery is closed on Columbus Day, Veterans Day, and over the Thanksgiving Day weekend. Admission is free, and the gallery is handicapped accessible. For more information visit http://www.contemprints.org.

Native American Pottery from the Bruce Museum Collection

Over the years, the Bruce Museum has acquired a noteworthy collection of Native American pottery. This collection encompasses pottery shards from functional vessels made in the Northeast to the large, almost sculptural pieces from Native Americans of the Southwest. By exploring the process of creating pottery, visitors to the exhibition will learn about the mineralogical composition of pottery, technique, design, and history and come to appreciate their artistic beauty. This exhibition will be on display through March 29, 2015.

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A highlight of this show will be the stunning black-on-black pottery created by the famed Maria Martinez, her husband Julian, and other Martinez family members from the San Ildefonso Pueblo in New Mexico. The Martinez family’s careful work demonstrates how creating pottery has been a sacred process throughout time in Southwest Native American culture. Beginning with the gathering of clay from the earth, to forming the pot with the coil-and-scrape method, to removing the pot from the fire, the materials and techniques used by Pueblo potters have remained constant. The pieces from the Bruce’s collection will be supplemented with examples of pre-contact and contemporary Southwest pottery from other museums.

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The Gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday 10 am – 5 pm, doors close 1/2 hour before closing, and the last admission is at 4:30 pm. The Bruce Museum is located on One Museum Drive in Greenwich. For more information http://brucemuseum.org.

For information on Fairfield County www.visitfairfieldcountyct.com

LEARN TO MAKE UNIQUE GIFTS AT HOLIDAY WORKSHOPS WITH WESTERN CONNECTICUT ARTISANS

Instead of hectic shopping, why not have fun learning to make your own original gifts this year. No experience is necessary for the holiday workshops coming up led by talented artisans in the Litchfield Hills of Western Connecticut. With these top professionals as teachers, it is surprisingly easy to create gifts such as hand-blown glass, small metal sculptures or a fanciful gingerbread house. Many of the workshops are ideal family activities.

Glass flowers, Paperweights, Ornaments

Noted glass artist Peter Greenwood, whose work has been shown in over 20 museums, welcomes students to his studio in a picturesque 1829 stone church in Riverton to learn the art of glass blowing. Greenwood’s students have ranged from age 8 to 85.

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People are amazed, Greenwood says, to see how quickly they can learn to blow into a pipe and see the glass expand into a Christmas ornament. It takes only five minutes to create one of these very personal ornaments.

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For an even more impressive gift, Greenwood offers students a hands-on experience learning to twist and pull molten glass and sculpt it into a lovely glass flower or a swirled paperweight.

Classes are offered at various times Tuesday through Saturday and all materials are provided. For more information, see www.petergreenwood.com.

Fanciful Metal Sculptures

Artist/designer Karen Rossi is well known for her whimsical original small metal sculptures known as Fanciful Flights. Karen shares her creativity with students in workshops at her studio on Main Street in Torrington. In December, her Saturday workshops have holiday themes.

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Santa Claus Fanciful Flights on December 6 will feature Santa figures as well as fancy presents, snowflakes and toys, ideal decorations for a tree or a window. December 13 brings Wine Angel Lights, decorating festive bottles using some of Karen’s delightful laser-cut shapes plus bead, paints, sparkles and confetti. Students on December 20 will create an original mosaic tray, a welcome gift for any hostess. For more details see www.karenrossi.com

Gingerbread Creations

At The Silo, the award-winning cooking school at Hunt Hill Farm in New Milford, workshops to create take-home gingerbread houses are a favorite holiday tradition. Teams of two or three people learn to decorate wonderful houses using over 85 kinds of candy. Teams can include children age five and up, Traditional workshops start the baking from scratch. Those with less time or with younger children can choose sessions with houses already assembled and ready to decorate.

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Classes are scheduled for December 7 and 13. They are limited in size and they fill fast so early reservations are advised. See www.hunthillfarmtrust.org for more information.

An even more unusual workshop assembling and decorating a nativity scene with gingerbread, and candies will take place on December 13 from 10 a.m. to noon as part of the Christmas Festival Weekend at the Lourdes in Litchfield Shrine. Spaces are limited so phone for reservations: 860-567-1041. More details can be found at www.shrinect.org

For more information about holiday activities and a free copy of Unwind, a full-color, 152-page booklet detailing what to do and see, and where to stay, shop and dine in the Litchfield Hills and Fairfield County in Western Connecticut, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at http://www.visitwesternct.com