ART AND INDUSTRY AT DEERFIELD.
The week has been one of unusual activity at Deerfield among the Crafts workers.
A large number of out of town visitors going to and fro to the various places
of exhibit of the annual show.
At Memorial hall the visitors come and go daily in large groups. On Wednesday
more than 100 from the summer school at Amherst came up by special car.
Deerfield has more reason than ever to be proud of the solid achievements in
craftsmanship that have made the historic old town a pioneer in new lines of
art and industry. A thought and scholarship goes into these industries beyond
any mere tricks of pretty handiwork. The designs this year show a feeling for
color harmony much in advance of years before, a feeling that has no doubt been
stimulated by study of Japanese color models, so strongly recommended by Mr.
Tack in some of his recent lectures. The rugs in particular show this better
developed sense. A tendency toward more imagination in design is also to be
noted, as in the beautiful table covers done by Mrs. E. J. Hawks, showing dragon
flies in effective drawing. Mrs. Andrews shows attractive rugs with dragon flies
and bats, In the raffia, Mrs. Ashley is as usual the first, this year with a
most elaborate and skilfully executed basket showing an old-fashioned garden.
Those who follow closely the technique of the art were pleased by the combination
of wide and narrow stitches by which Mrs. E. J. Hawks makes baskets that have
a round bottom and square top. Rose bud designs in pink and green by Elizabeth
Chamberlain were noteworthy, and Mrs. Amanda Belden of Mill River, and others
are very skilful crafts women.
The palm leaf and willow and pine needle workers conduct one of the most successful
of the Deerfield crafts, and have studied the past year more than ever to turn
out work with the quality of permanence, so that a basket, ordinarily regarded,
as fragile, shall take on the indestructibility of a family heirloom. Some trays
made of reed with a bottom of California redwood have this quality. The thorough
boiling which they give their reeds in fast color dyes gives them permanency.
The pine needle work is in attractive contrast of green and brown, the green
needles being picked fresh and dried in the dark, while the brown is picked
dry. The willow wood baskets for kindling make a most effective adjunct to the
fire on the hearth.
The Society of Blue and White Needlework shows some new work in color printing
by Ellen Miller and M. C. Whiting. Madder is applied to the design, and the
whole piece put in the dye pot. In the wash all the color comes out, save such
as is set into the design by the madder. "Rabbits in the pea patch,"
was a particularly clever bit of work of this character. A collection of quaint
cross stitch was most interesting.
Such a collection of painting as is gathered in the Crafts' barn is rarely
assembled in a country town. It is very largely of landscape work, suggesting
the inspiration in the meadows and hills of Franklin county, which has attracted
so many clever men to this neighborhood. Willis Adams' pictures, take a prominent
place, and interpret nature as seen in her most poetic moods. Will Hutchins,
with a number of his effective pictures, is another nature lover under whose
vigorous interpretation sky and hill speak with a voice that commands attention.
There is something in Mr. Hutchins' painting that fascinates. You may or may
not be able to see in sea or sky all that he sees. But his original and virile
work calls the wandering eye, and translates the voices of mountain and wood
in language that must be heard, forecasting a large future for this gifted artist.
Augustus Vincent Tack is honored among our art lovers as one of the very cleverest
painters whom the Deerfield valley has ever attracted, and has three notable
canvasses. Elbridge Kingsley of Hadley, a veteran painter and engraver who has
done so much to open the eye to the beauty of the Connecticut valley, Bruce
Crane, with two paintings of romantic beauty, Spencer Fuller, of whose remarkable
work one sees far too little, William O. Swett, Ethelbert Brown, and others
have notable contributions.
The jewelry by Madeline Yale Wynne, Julian Yale, and Annie C. Putnam is in
some respects the most exquisite craftsmanship of the whole Deerfield exhibit.
Gold and silver and precious stones have an emphasis of light and color that
very easily become florid and tawdry. These workers begin with mechanical deftness
and attain the most harmonious handling of these gems of light and color.
The photographs by the Misses Allen have many new studies of our country life,
besides many older photographs that have required a national fame.