Mattatuck Museum – Learn the Art of Lithuanian Folk Egg Decorating

Join lead Museum Educator Valerie Rodgers at the Mattatuck Museum on Wednesday, March 8 at 10:00 a.m. for a folk art experience celebrating the rich cultural legacy of the Baltic country of Lithuania. Participants of this workshop will learn margučiai, the Lithuanian art of egg decorating, using the scratch and carve method.

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The workshop is $8 for Museum members, $12 for non-members, and free for BRASS members. All supplies will be provided. No experience necessary. Pre-registration is appreciated.

Located in the heart of downtown Waterbury’s architectural district, the Mattatuck Museum is a vibrant destination, known locally and regionally as a community-centered institution of American art and history. For more information on all of the Museum’s programs, events, and exhibits visit the website at mattmuseum.org or call (203) 753-0381.

“The Road Less Traveled” Flanders Program on Northwest Iceland

Most visitors to Iceland tour Reykjavík, the popular Golden Circle and the southern coast with just a small number of visitors traveling to one of Iceland’s best-kept secrets – the Westfjords located in the country’s northwest corner. Isolation and poor roads have preserved this largely uninhabited region in relatively unspoiled wilderness. Here ancient glaciers carved dramatic fjords lined with steep mountains now dotted with tiny fishing villages.

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The area is also home to Europe’s most westerly point and one of the world’s greatest bird cliffs, with large numbers of puffins, razorbills and other seabirds. Arctic foxes can be seen as well as numerous wildflowers including several species of orchids. Another area that does not receive many visitors is nearby Flatey Island. It is only a mile long and a half-mile wide with one farm road and no cars or trees. Winter population is five people but it is a bird- and nature-lovers paradise during warm months.

On Friday evening, March 3rd Naturalists and photographers Barbara and Peter Rzasa will present a slide show of the geological features, birds, and flowers that can be found while traveling through Iceland’s Westfjords, Flatey Island and Western Iceland. On display will be their collection of Iceland’s volcanic rocks as well as guidebooks, literature and nature field guides. Join them as they provide information and interesting stories, and a brief overview of Iceland, its people and its natural history.

The program will be held at 7PM at the Flanders’ Studio which is located on the corner of Flanders Road and Church Hill Road in Woodbury.
The cost is $10 for members or $15 for non-members. Those interested may register online at www.flandersnaturecenter.org or call 203-263-3711, ext. 10, for more information.

About Flanders
Flanders Nature Center & Land Trust acquires, preserves and manages land; and uses the land to promote understanding and appreciation of nature, art and the environment. Founded by artist, farmer and environmentalist Natalie Van Vleck, Flanders provides a variety of environmental education programs year-round, designed to bring a deeper understanding of art, nature and farming to children, youth and adults in the Woodbury region and throughout Connecticut.

Build Westport -One LEGO at a Time!

A fun family activity that is hands-on! Come Build Westport using 70,000 LEGO building blocks!
“Come Build Westport – One LEGO at a time” will take place Sunday, March 12, at Christ and Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, 75 Church Lane. The program is designed by award-winning architect Stephen W. Schwartz and sponsored by Karen Bergemeyer Home, a kitchen and bath design firm located at 175 Post Road West in Westport.
The event gives families the opportunity to make LEGO replicas of vintage homes and commercial buildings selected by the Historical Society. “The goal,” Schwartz says, “is to make the public aware of the town’s rich architectural heritage, so that when they are out and about they might notice the design features that make some of Westport’s buildings notable.”

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The list of buildings includes such iconic Westport landmarks as National Hall, Saugatuck Congregational Church, the former Westport Bank & Trust Building, Tavern on Main, Christ and Holy Trinity Church and the Society’s Wheeler House.

The buildings are located near downtown on both sides of the Saugatuck River, and many are on the National Register of Historic Place. The list will number 55 buildings, and Schwartz will pick 50 that lend themselves to LEGO construction. “Churches are always good,” he says, “because they have a spire.” The event will accommodate 50 families.
Schwartz says the program was born 18 years ago when his daughter, a second grade teacher, asked him to show her class how towns and cities are planned. Today the architect and his wife travel the country staging the LEGO program. All are for the benefit of local historical societies.

The finished buildings are to be placed on a floor map of downtown Westport measuring 17 ½ by 25 feet, Schwartz says. “Then we talk about the architectural history of Westport a little bit to make people aware of it,” he adds. “That’s the point of the workshop.” The final step is to reduce the floor map to an 11-by-17-inch Westport Architectural Treasure Hunt Map that the families take with them on a walking tour of downtown.

Learn more about Schwartz’s program at buildingblocksworkshops.com. Mr. Schwartz, an architect, specializes in the design of retail spaces and has won numerous prizes for work at the Mall at Short Hills and other venues in northern New Jersey. His firm is located in Livingston, N.J. Schwartz says the workshops have no connection with the LEGO company itself and that all are made possible by the sponsorship of local businesses and organizations.

There is a $35 donation and is limited to the first 50 families and then a waiting list will be started! There must be at least one adult present to help the kids think through their project. Viewers are welcome at 3:45 pm at no charge.

See Majestic Eagles Swoop, Glide, Dip, and Dive At Annual Eagle Watch In the Litchfield Hills

An outdoor buffet in winter may not sound tempting to most of us, but to our national bird, the regal American bald eagle, it is a rare treat. When fishing grounds in their homes further north freeze over, these graceful birds make an annual journey to the Shepaug Dam on the Housatonic River in Southbury, in Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills.

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They favor this spot because the turbulent waters of the dam not only prevent freezing, but push fish to the surface, easy pickings for eagles who can swoop down and feast on their favorite dish. Thrilling to see in full flight, the majestic bald eagle can measure 34 to 43 inches in length with a wingspan of six to seven and a half feet.

Their flight speed is between 36 to 44 miles per hour. Everyone is invited to view these fascinating winter guests at the Eagle Observation Area near the Shepaug Housatonic Hydroelectric Station. An organized eagle watch takes place every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through March 12. Admission is free but since space is limited reservations are required; group and individual reservations are accepted. In addition to eagle viewing,the CT Audubon will host a birds of Prey show on Saturdays throughout the viewing season. This year for the first time reservations can be made on-line .

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The shelter, maintained by FirstLight Power Resources, is located 1000 feet from the river, affording safety for the eagles while providing an excellent vantage point. High powered telescopes are set up on tripods for visitors. Knowledgeable Audubon volunteers are on hand to assist in spotting and answer questions about the birds.
The volunteers maintain a helpful website, http://shepaugeagles.com, with information about eagles and recent visitor statistics. Reservations can be made on this site.

Nearly 148,000 people have visited the observation area since it was opened to the public in 1986. On an average day in past years, six or seven eagles were sighted, but lucky viewers on the best days in the past have spotted as many as 15 to 21 eagles in action. Chances are best on cold clear days when the surfaces of most other rivers and ponds have frozen. Visitors are advised to dress warmly in layers and to allow plenty of time to wait for the eagle action to begin.

To sign up for a monthly newsletter on Litchfield Hills or Fairfield County www.litchfieldhills.com

Quilt Stories”- A Family Program Celebrating Black History Month at Norwalk Historical Society

The Norwalk Historical Society is hosting the family program, “Quilt Stories”, in celebration of Black History Month. Families will learn about African American folk artist, Harriet Powers’ storytelling quilts and make a paper story quilt craft. Long time quilter, Rita Phillips, will be the special guest. This program is ideal for families with children ages 4 – 10. “Quilt Stories” takes place on Saturday, February 25, 2017 at 1:00pm at the Norwalk Historical Society Museum. Admission is $3.00 per person, with a maximum of $15 per family and registration is required at info@norwalkhistoricalsociety.org or 203-846-0525. If the event is canceled by the Norwalk Historical Society due to inclement weather, it will be rescheduled for Sunday, February 26, 2017 at 1:00pm. The Norwalk Historical Society Museum is located at 141 East Avenue. The front entrance is accessible from the Norwalk City Hall parking area at 125 East Avenue. The Museum is in the red brick house with blue double front doors, next to the Norwalk Health Department.

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For thousands of years, people have used images to pass down stories. Harriet Powers used quilts. Born into slavery in 1837, once freed Harriet Powers used the quilting skills she had learned as a child to help provide for her family. Little did she know that one day her story quilts would become priceless examples of African American folk art. During this hour long program, families will hear the story of her journey from slave to artist and learn how she used quilts to tell important stories from her life. Special guest Rita Phillips, long time quilter and member of the Goodwives Quilters, will give families an in depth look at how quilts are made. Quilting tools will be on display as will a variety of quilts handmade by local children. The program will conclude with a crafting project, where families will create their own story quilts using paper. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Rita I. Phillips’ interest in sewing began in California where her grandmother taught her to hand sew. After relocating to Norwalk with her family, Rita took up quilting with the Goodwives Quilters and since 1977 has been working with students of all ages to create quilts. She is active with several Fairfield County historical societies as well as CT Piecemakers Quilt Guild, Goodwives Quilters, Peace by Piece and Norwalk Senior Center. In 2011 she helped create the Norwalk Quilt Trail and her quilt, “Norwalk, Fabric of Diversity” graces the front of the book “Community Building in the 21st Century” edited by Stanley E. Hyland.

For more information and to register your family for “Quilt Stories” visit http://www.norwalkhistoricalsociety.org, e-mail info@norwalkhistoricalsociety.org , or call 203-846-0525. The Norwalk Historical Society is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

New Art and Photography Show @ Sharon Historical Sociey

The Gallery @the SHS of the Sharon Historical Society & Museum presents an exhibition and sale of photographs by eight members of the Housatonic Camera Club, which runs from January 14 through March 3, 2017. All purchases support the Sharon Historical Society & Museum’s mission.

The Housatonic Camera Club was started in the mid-1950’s by Sharon resident Ward Hutchinson and is now composed of members from communities in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York who meet to share their love of photography, their experiences, travels, and expertise, and to educate one another and the public. Members work in prints, film, digital, color, and black & white mediums. Members exhibiting in this The Gallery @the SHS show are Jeffrey Breitman, William DeVoti, Lazlo Gyorsok, John Landon, George Mudge, Birgitt Pajarola, Jane Rossman and Bert Schmitz.

The Gallery @the SHS is located at the Sharon Historical Society & Museum, 18 Main Street, Route 41, Sharon, CT. The Gallery and Museum are open Wednesday through Friday from 12-4, Saturday from 10am-2pm and by appointment.

For more information and directions to The Gallery @the SHS, call (860) 364-5688. For additional information about the Sharon Historical Society & Museum and The Gallery @the SHS, visit www.sharonhist.org.

Photo: Jane Rosssman http://www.housatoniccameraclub.com

Rare Eastern European And Asian Decorative Arts For Schwenke February 22nd Auction.

On Wednesday, February 22nd at 11am, Schwenke Auctioneers will offer 648 lots of estate material featuring the lifetime collection of Dr. & Mrs. Ion Petrea and including a large collection of Asian decorative art from several other estates and consignors. The auction includes a wonderful group of Russian and Romanian icons and related religious and ecclesiastical items, many interesting lots of Eastern European decorative arts, fine art and Romanian paintings, many lots of sterling silver, and a large group of estate carpets. The sale will include over 250 Asian Lots, European Furniture, Fine Silver, And Estate Oriental Carpets.

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The sale is being held at the firm’s auction hall at Middle Quarter Plaza in Woodbury. This is the firm’s first time for a Wednesday auction, according to Tom Schwenke, owner-auctioneer, who said “we are experimenting with week-day sales to further enhance our already vigorous online market. We have had over 6,000 online bidders in each of our last three gallery auctions, but we believe that by moving our sale from the normal Sunday date we will attract even more internet bidders.” Preview times are Friday, February 17th from 10am to 5pm; Sunday, February 19th from noon to 5pm; Monday, February 20th and Tuesday, February 21st from 10am to 5pm; and Wednesday, February 22nd from 9am to sale time. For information www.woodburyauction.com

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Several fine Asian lots are being offered, including a Tibetan thangka of Maitreya, pigments on fabric, measuring 28 1/4″ high, 19″ wide; a pair of Chinese embroidered panels, having a flower and vine motif with bats in shades of red and blue on a yellow ground, sized 49 1/2″ long, 33 1/2″ wide; a Southeast Asian bronze striding Buddha mounted on wood stand, 24 3/4″ high, 7″ wide; a pair of Chinese carved ivory court figures, 19th/20th century on later stands, 9 1/2″ high, 2″ wide, formerly in the collection of Dale Carnegie, purchased 1939; a Chinese Longquan celadon vase, with small scattered dark rough spots on body, possibly part of firing process, 10 1/4″ high, 4 1/2″ wide; a large Chinese blue and white porcelain dragon decorated vase, six character mark on base, measuring 15″ high, 11 1/2″ wide; a Chinese porcelain wucai dragon bowl together with a smaller bowl having bird and blossoms decoration, both with six character Guangxu marks, the largest 2 3/4″ high, 6″ diameter; a Chinese Yuhuchunping blue and white porcelain vase, 9 3/4″ high, 5″ wide; an Asian Kraakware charger with shaped rim, 13 1/2″ diameter; a Chinese blue porcelain Kangxi brush pot, blue 6 character mark on base, 6 ½” high, 4 3/4″ diameter; a Chinese porcelain Ming stemmed blue and white cup, 5 3/4″ high, 5 5/8″ diameter; and a Chinese Han or Han Style pottery ram figure, 6 1/4″ high, 6″ long.

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Many lots of silver are on offer, with the lead item being a Tiffany & Co. cased sterling silver five piece tea and coffee service, monogrammed, in a floral repousse pattern together with a partial Tiffany & Co. flatware service, monogrammed, in the “Chrysanthemum” pattern. The tea service comprises a coffee pot, teapot, covered sugar, creamer, and waste bowl. Tea set weight is 90.92 OZT. The flatware comprises twelve dinner forks, twelve luncheon forks, twelve tablespoons, twelve teaspoons. Small edge nicks to spoon bowls and fork tines. Flatware weight is 135.45 OZT. Total silver weight 226.37 OZT. All contained within a Tiffany & Co. Oak presentation case with key, brass plaque reads: “C. Eugene Gunther from his Uncle John Seymour July 5, 1917”. Provenance is from Bernard Baruch, given to John Seymour, President of NY Stock Exchange upon his retirement. John Seymour gifted silver in 1917 to nephew C. Eugene Gunther, who willed silver to daughter Juanita Gunther. Juanita Gunther willed silver to her cousin Shirley Gunther Smith in 1977.

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The Petrea collection comprises an amazing assemblage of Russian and Romanian icons and artworks, including Toscanini’s ebonized and parcel gilt shaving mirror, with a Dutch baroque cushion molded frame with ebonized and gilt ripple moldings, enclosing a later mirror plate, measuring 23 1/2″ high, 21 1/8″ wide. Provenance: Ex collection: Arturo Toscanini, and purchased by the consignor from Wanda Toscanini Horowitz.

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Dozens of fine early icons are crossing the block, including a fine large Russian icon of the resurrection and great feasts, centering a scene of the resurrection within individual scenes of the twelve great feasts, tempera and gilt on panel, 17 1/2″ high, 15 1/2″ wide; a Russian icon of the nativity of St. John the Baptist, showing the birth to Elizabeth and attendants, and the washing of St. John the Baptist with Zachariah seated upper right. Tempera and gilt on panel, together with, but separated from its silver riza. The silver riza bearing marks for Moscow, dated 1877, 13 1/2″ high, 11 1/2″ wide; a Russian icon of St. Nicholas with selected saints, full length image of St. Nicholas, the guardian angel and selected saints below a tablet with scenes of the prophet Elija in the wilderness, tempera and gilt on panel, 17 1/2″ high, 15″ wide; a Russian icon of multiple saints and a guardian angel, showing a gathering of saints flanking a guardian angel and worshipping an icon of Our Lady of Tenderness, supported by angels and flanked by pairs of saints bearing scrolls. Tempera and gilt on panel, 11 3/4″ high, 9″ wide; a Russian icon of Mary Joy To All Who Sorrow, tempera and gilt on panel, 12″ high, 10″ wide; a quadripartite icon of the crucifixion, the central crucifixion scene with the Kazan Mother of God, St. Nicholas, St. George and the Archangel Michael, tempera and gilt on panel, pencil inscription verso “Dumitru, Sanda Riduga”, 15″ high, 11 1/2″ wide; a large and impressive Greek icon of Saints Constantine and Helen, the full length figures of Saint Constantine the Great and Saint Helen with the cross of Christ below an ascended Christ, the frame with Saint Nicholas, Saint Paul and others in niches. Tempera and gilt on panel. Signed and inscribed lower left and right, bearing date 1886, 25″ high, 19″ wide; an icon of Saint Maria Kazanskya, pigments and silver leaf on panel, 15 1/2″ high, 11 1/2″ wide; an icon of St. Paraskevc in .950 silver riza, framed, sight size 7 1/2″ high, 5 1/4″ wide; and a German icon of St. George and the dragon, reverse painting on glass, framed, 12 3/4″ high, 10” wide.