Sunday, January 31, 2010

Picture This With Snow. . .

. . .wind-driven snow with a wind-chill factor that would freeze your face in the second it took to level your barn!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Gluing Of the Chairs

Getting the table cleaned off in the library made possible this miraculous event. I had no idea that I owned so many chairs! My friend Peter at Abate Art, Antiques and Architectural Salvage keeps me well supplied. He's heard about another friend of mine, the infamous "Chair-Wrecker of Wakefield" who can't sit still.

Mica was on hand to check it out.

And so was the ever-lovely Miss Pearl.

The great winds and low temperatures continue for a third consecutive day. Who knows if we'll have to resort to gluing the rest of the furniture down in this fashion to keep it from blowing away!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Collections of Eugenia Skinner Shorrock

Alton Bay, New Hampshire Reptile Zoo - Part 3.

The auction catalog, The Collections of Eugenia Skinner Shorrock - Session III from Michael Bennett Auctions that I found on eBay arrived the other day. I was happy to note that it contained photos in addition to some biographical information on both Eugenia and her father, Ernest Martin Skinner (1866-1960) who founded Skinner Organ Company in 1901.

Eugenia showed a keen interest in reptiles at an early age. She graduated from LaSalle College in 1917 and married Ernest Shorrock that same year. She became the corresponding secretary for the Boston Aquarium Society, a post she held for over 11 years. In the early 1930's she began to seriously collect snakes, reptiles and curios. She was in great demand as a lecturer at schools, social clubs and other societies.

Eugenia purchased a farm in Alton, New Hampshire in 1940 to house her ever-increasing collection of snakes and exotic animals and opened 'The Reptile Zoo' to the public. She also opened 'Worldwide Gifts' in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Eugenia closed the shop in Portsmouth in 1960 and 'The Reptile Zoo' in 1967 but continued to operate her gift shop in Alton Bay until 1990. Eugenia Skinner Shorrock died on the 7th of December 1993.

My favorite item in the catalog has to be this miniature circus:

The detailed description reads as follows:
Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of All Ages - It is our pleasure to offer at PUBLIC AUCTION a fascinating example of American Folk Art - THE EXCITING HOBBYLAND MINIATURE CIRCUS

On a scale of 1" to 1', the famous Edwards family began construction of this circus in the late 1920's. Their work continued for 20 years. Some of the miniature animals came from England, France, Germany and Italy years before the outbreak of the Second World War.

In 1947, Mr. Edwards sold the circus to Mr. A. Randall Crapo of Hampton Beach, New Hampshire. . . Mrs. Eugenia Skinner Shorrock purchased the circus in 1952 and displayed it for only one year in Alton Bay, New Hampshire. It has been hidden from the public eye for 40 years and was only recently brought to light.

The circus covers 288 square feet of table space and will be offered in its entirety. . .
Unfortunately, the famous pair of shrunken heads obtained by Ripley's Believe it or Not! are described in a separate Session IV catalog of African, North American, Oceanic and South American Ethnographica. Here's the advertisement printed in the Session III catalog:

There is a fascinating full text pdf article by Steven Lee Rubenstein titled "Circulation, Accumulation, and the Power of Shuar Shrunken Heads," originally published in Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 22, Issue 3, pp. 357-399. According to Wikipedia it has been illegal to import shrunken heads into the United States since the 1940's.

Read more about Eugenia Shorrock in two previous posts: Eugenia Shorrock's Snakes and Shrunken Heads, and Alton Bay, New Hampshire Reptile Zoo. If you liked the miniature Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey circus, here's another one to check out posted by Jim at Dull Tool Dim Bulb.

And to all of you visiting from Marie's blog, have a great Postcard Friendship Friday!

Ta-DA! The New Studio 2

Oops, I published that last post before I had a chance to put up the new studio shots. Well, here they are!

Lots of storage space was created by elevating the two small folding tables shown above. They are at just the right height for me to work standing up. I might move them to the center of the room later just to see how that works. But right now I have a lot of room to pace around.

The front wall, shown in the two photos above, is mainly storage right now.

And here's the design wall, above. I'm so happy how this project turned out. The rest of the downstairs shows great improvement as a result.

In Studio 2: White Board

So far I've moved in four folding tables, a drawing table, and a cabinet. Plus enough bins to fill the space under the tables. The two smaller back-to-back tables have had their legs extended because I like to work standing up.

A new feature in this room is an 8 foot by 8 foot collage design wall. My friend attached two pieces of "white board" to the wall just inside the door and I have some of those erasable markers. How fun to have such a large surface to draw on. I'm hoping that blue painter's tape will be safe to use on the surface, also. Time will tell!

I got the idea from the quilter, Nancy Crow. Her design walls can be pinned to which makes sense when arranging fabric but I don't want to put holes in my paper. Plus my cat Mica has a penchant for eating thumb tacks and push pins so I tend to avoid them for safety reasons!

I absolutely love Nancy's book, Quilts and Influences published by the American Quilter's Society. Have you seen the whirligigs and tramp art she shows as "influences" at the end of the book?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Lawn Tennis & Window Screens

After I don't know how many days of sifting and sorting, I am now all moved in to Studio 2. Here's a couple of re-discovered items that made me think of summer. If you hold your racket like this you will hit like a girl. Hey, wait a minute, I AM a girl!

Look at these cool numbered thumb tacks used back in the days when storm windows and screens had wooden frames.

I'd use them to keep track of all my bins but I've already made new tags for them on the computer in 30 point type so I can find stuff without wearing glasses. I'll post pictures tomorrow after I photograph my newly organized studio in natural light.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gemstone Healing 1899

Article from: The New England Home Magazine, Volume VI, Number 8, 19 February 1899.

Blonde Bar Diagram

This is from: Social Psychology by Floyd H. Allport (Houghton Mifflin, 1923).

Necco Wafers

These were my favorites when I was a kid. My grandmother always kept a box for us in her candy closet. My favorite colors were orange and purple. I saved the chocolate flavored ones for trading. It's so nice that Necco Wafers can still be enjoyed today!

Real Men Use Barbasol

Here's another Life Magazine advertisement for Barbasol. They had some bizarre campaign going there!

Wimmin in Advertising

I'm coming across some interesting stuff that I forgot I had. I've started a little pile of things worth blogging about. Every so often when I need a break I will scan one. This advertisement from Life Magazine really cracks me up. I'd bet it was done by the same artist responsible for the Whoosh Women campaign.

I had to scan this in two shots due to its length. I wonder if this actually sold Barbasol or helped the competition. I think the man might be in peril. That's one diabolical looking wommin!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Storage System

I've discovered a new storage system for my small coated collage elements. I used to save them in drawing pads, carefully arranged so the edges wouldn't touch. Moving the pads caused shifting, making it difficult to browse through the pages. And since objects coated in acrylic medium have a tendency to adhere to one another, especially when subjected to pressure and temperature, stacking and warm weather also caused problems.

The solution is stamp collector's stock albums! The pages are designed so postage stamps with adhesive can be stored and removed without sticking to each other or to the page. I bought a bound album of 32 double-sided pages made in Germany (Lighthouse 64-White Page Stamp Stockbook No. L4/32). Each side is protected by a semi-transparent sheet. The book has a sturdy binding which allows it to lay flat when open to any page.

Each 8x11.5-inch page has nine width-wise strips open at the top to secure the elements. Another cool discovery that ranks right up there with the arch punch!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Eugenia's Snakes and Shrunken Heads

Alton Bay, New Hampshire Reptile Zoo - Part 2.

Eugenia Skinner Shorrock (21 July 1896 - 7 December 1993) was the proprietor of The Reptile Zoo formerly of Alton Bay, New Hampshire. A collector of curios par excellence, Eugenia was quite some gal, I'm willing to bet! She kept her purse in a python cage where it was safe from robbers. Her father was Ernest M. Skinner (1866-1960) of Dorchester, Massachusetts, who was known as the most prominent builder of organs of the early 20th century.

According to a March 8, 1992 Gainesville Sun article titled "Ripleys Pays $22,000 for pair - Believe it or not," Eugenia's daughter made a killing on the sale of two shrunken heads. An accompanying photograph features grandson Rob Farrell's hand pointing to one of the heads:

Two shrunken heads, dark-skinned and complete with hair and headdresses, stared impassively as curious bidders examined them at an unusual auction of Indian artifacts Saturday.

The grapefruit-sized, 19th century South American Indian heads sold for a total of $22,000 to Ripley's Believe it or Not. It plans to display them in one of its museums, which feature oddities.

"The heads, I think, set a world record," auctioneer Michael Bennett said, adding that he expected the pair would only sell for about $14,000.

The heads were part of a collection of artifacts amassed by Eugenia Shorrock, 95, of Dover. Other items included tribal masks, wooden Indian statues and an antique buffalo skin robe. The robe, expected to sell for about $15,000 only brought $7,000. But some of the statues went for more that $10,000.

Shorrock, who lives in a nursing home, acquired her unusual collection from various sources over the years, but never traveled to South America herself, said her daughter, Ruth Farrell. "She became acquainted with people who had them and made it known she'd take anything," Farrell said.

The heads came from the Jivaro tribe, which collected enemies' heads after battle, removed the skulls, boiled the skins, then carefully shaped them by hand to retain the victims' features, Bennet said. He didn't know from which South American country they came.
(The Jivaro are a tribe of people from the Andes mountains. Read more in this article from .) The Toledo Blade picked up the same AP article with an additional quotation from Eugenia's daughter Ruth, who decided to sell the collection because she no longer had any interest in it: "Bureau drawers don't do a thing for shrunken heads. . . I like to see things used or displayed."

Alton Bay, New Hampshire Reptile Zoo

Here's an interesting New England oddity preserved on a picture post card from my collection: The Alton Bay Reptile Museum. It reminds me a bit of Perry's Nut House (also re-visited here) of Belfast, Maine. Look at the cute monkeys framing the second floor windows!

The owner, Eugenia Shorrock, was mentioned in a "miscellany" article published in Time magazine on September 4, 1944: "Safe. In Alton, N.H., Mrs. Eugenia Shorrock, keeper of a reptile zoo, kept her purse in the python cage."

I found an advertisement from 1950 for the Reptile Museum (image here) which reads: "REPTILE ZOO AND GIFT SHOPS. PRESENTING Living Reptiles, Animals & Curios. A choice line of Jewelry, and Gifts for all occasions. Miniatures & Collectors Items. Toys - Souvenirs - & Greeting Cards. NEW Arrivals from the Far East. Bicycles. Row Boats for Rent. Live Bait for Sale. ALTON BAY, N. H. Tel. 156. ON LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE. EUGENIA S. SHORROCK, Prop."

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Back in Studio 2

Today is moving day. I am reclaiming what was my second studio here in the front room of the first floor of my house.

I started off in the upstairs front room (shown below) which is now the office.

Then to the front room where I'm returning now. Here I am (below) 5 years ago before I turned into an old hag (just kidding - a little).

From there I moved to the carriage house next to the barn, a small room off of my bead shop which is now a gallery. The photos below show it cluttered to the max!

The fourth studio location, which I am in the process of vacating now, was the library (now in total chaos shown below). I'm anticipating having easy access to all of my book shelves again. With the big oak table clear, I will have a nice well-lit spot for classes in jewelry-making and collage.

I've been preparing for this move for three weeks now so today is a big day. It's amounting to a total space overhaul. You can never have enough bins, boxes and bookcases. Life will be good!

Looking back on those pictures, most of them put me on visual overload. Too bad I can't leave the new studio empty like the top photo. (More empty studio views.) It would be nice to have a decompression chamber. Fat chance of that but I guess I can always go stare at snow!