Sunday, November 30, 2014

Washington's Festival of Trees & Lights

Washington's Gunn Memorial Library and Museum invites you to start a new tradition this holiday season! Fun for all ages, Gunn Memorial’s annual Festival of Trees & Lights cocktail party will take place in the historic Wykeham Room on Friday, December 5, from 5 to 7pm.

This event features creatively-decorated holiday trees, wreaths and stockings, as well as one-of-a-kind ornaments by local  artists, which will be sold by silent auction to benefit the Gunn Memorial Library & Museum. Peruse the festive hall while sampling wine and hors d’oeuvres provided by local restaurants.

The Library’s tree will be decked with Treasure Pouches, each containing a slip of paper bestowing a mystery gift. Attendees may purchase a pouch and claim an item or service that has been donated by a local business including gift baskets, theater tickets, edibles, gift certificates and more.
The suggested donation for the Friday evening cocktail party is $15 per person or $25 per couple. The tree display will be open for viewing at no charge on Saturday, December 6, from 10am-2pm.

Items not sold at the cocktail party on Friday evening will be available for purchase on Saturday.
For further information call (860) 868-7586 or email Tickets are available in  advance at the circulation desk, or guests may pay at the door the night of the event. The Gunn Memorial Library is located at 5 Wykeham Road at the juncture of Route 47 opposite the Green in Washington, CT. For more information and for library hours visit

For information on holiday events in Litchfield Hills

Saturday, November 29, 2014


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.

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.

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

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.

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

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. 

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

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

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kent 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.

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
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. 

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 or call 860-927-4587.
For area information

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Holiday Stroll and 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.

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.

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

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Bethel Connecticut 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. 

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 or call 203-743-6500.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

In Our Own Backyard at Sharon Historical Society 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.

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

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.  Here, there is something for everyone.  The shop is also an art gallery with changing shows and art exhibitions.

For the holidays, the shop will have 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 more information visit

For information about the Litchfield Hills

Monday, November 24, 2014

Beauty and Ruin: Broken Landscapes, Lost Symbols at the Silvermine Art Center

Beauty and Ruin:  Broken Landscapes, Lost Symbols is the name of the show at the Silvermine Art Center located on 1037 Silvermine Road in New Cannan that runs through December 23.  The focus of the show is the work of three artists that explore three themes in photography, sculpture, and a site-dependent work that includes video as a primary element.
 “The Hand of Man,” J Henry Fair - J Henry Fair’s stunning abstract compositions are full of organic forms and graphic patterns:  plumes, branches, rivulets, as well as grids and softened geometric forms.  But in Fair’s large-scale photographs, beauty and horror coexist.  Fair’s subject in “The Hand of Man” is a damaged environment: de-forested landscapes, polluted waterways, hydraulic fracturing sites, and waste from refinery operations and other industrial practices.  His goal is to “produce beautiful images that stimulate an aesthetic response, then curiosity, then personal involvement.”
 “Flying over these sites is the only way to see things,” Fair has said.  “The aerial perspective is inherently intriguing to land-based animals.”  It is the aerial view that is his particular angle of vision—the distant view, not of the peaceful blue planet, but of the compromised landscape of a world that even in the digital era is still predominantly industrial.
 J Henry Fair’s photography has been the subject of solo exhibitions throughout the U.S. and in Norway, Germany, and the Netherlands.  His work has been featured or reviewed in the New York TimesVanity FairSmithsonian MagazineNew York MagazineHarper’s, and National Geographic.  He has served as an artist-in-residence at Swarthmore, Dartmouth, Colorado College, and the Cooper Union, and his work is in a number of permanent collections including the Cooper Union and Dartmouth’s Hood Museum. Fair has been a member of the SIlvermine Guild of Artists since 2011.

J Henry Fair       Plume of foam in bauxite waste from aluminum refinery       Darrow, Louisiana

 “Neo-Archaism,” Carlos Davila- Carlos Davila creates a visual landscape that abstracts the symbols and forms of ancient cultures and combines them with those of advanced technology and modern industry.  He explores the relationship between the modern, highly mechanized age that we live in and a totemic, stylized symbolism of a variety of ancient cultures from Egypt, South America, and Africa. 
Davila abstracts line, form, and color to create sculptures, three-dimensional wall pieces, and large-scale diptychs and triptychs.  His mechanical and industrial elements coalesce into a layered, three-dimensional geometry that is textural and drenched in brilliant color. His is a figurative landscape at once familiar and alien.
After earning his MFA, Davila participated in the reconstruction of the ancient city of Chan Chan, Peru.  His work at this Pre-Columbian archaeological dig led to a fascination with ancient and lost cultures, and the experience profoundly affected the course of his work.
Carlos Davila’s art has been the subject of solo exhibitions from Lima, Santiago, and Bogota to New York, Boston, and Miami.  He has work in the permanent collections of Yale University’s Richard Brown Baker Collection, the National Arts Club in New York City, the Bibliotèque Nationale in Paris, and dozens of international corporations. 
Born and educated in Lima, Peru, he lived for many years in New York City.  He currently lives in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and maintains a studio in a loft in Bridgeport.  He has been a member of the Silvermine Guild of Artists since 2012.
 “What’s Left,” June Ahrens- In her recent work, June Ahrens has explored repurposed and broken glass as material and metaphor.  “What’s Left” is a new turn for Ahrens—a unified environment made up of a video surrounded by blue walls that are layered with a combination of dried pigment mixed with salt.  This site-dependent piece, created for the Hays Gallery at the Silvermine Arts Center, evokes loss and fragility while channeling light through a landscape of broken glass.
The video serves as the primary element in the composition and contains many of the materials used in her environment. The integration of materials and images (including images of a human face and hands) invites the viewer to explore and embrace the residue of lives.  Salt and glass enhance the imperfections of the walls, which become a metaphor for the imperfections in each of us.  The surface partially hides some of the scarring but salt and pigment reveal it in a new way.  Repurposed broken glass (clear or blue) is also part of the installation—random patterns of fallen shards will pool and reflect danger, pain, and vulnerability.
June Ahrens’s work has been exhibited at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City; at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland; in “Strong Women Artists,” a group exhibit in Matera, Italy; and in many other exhibitions throughout the U.S.  She was nominated for a 2012 Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant and was a recipient of a grant from the NEA.  She was honored by the Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism as a Distinguished Advocate for the Arts and as an Individual Artist.  She lives in New Canaan, Connecticut, and has been a member of the Silvermine Guild since 1993.

Still from Video by Ahren

Silvermine Arts Center is one of the oldest artist communities in the United States. Its five-­ acre campus in New Canaan, Connecticut, consists of a nationally renowned artist guild, an award-­winning school of art offering classes for all ages, an arts and fine crafts shop, and a gallery offering over twenty contemporary and historic exhibitions annually. Silvermine is a non-­profit organization that also offers an educational outreach program, Art Partners, and hosts lectures, performances, film screenings, and special events.
Gallery Hours: Silvermine Galleries are open Wednesday through Saturday, 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call (203) 966-­9700 ext. 20 or visit the website:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

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 exhibit will be on display through March 29, 2015. 

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.

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

Thursday, November 20, 2014


It happens only once a year.  For the first two weeks in December, some of the finest private homes in Fairfield County and the Litchfield Hills will invite visitors in for one-day only during house tours to benefit local organizations.  Tours in the towns of Woodbury, Westport and Greenwich will offer a rare chance to see exceptional residences dressed in their holiday best.
One of the most popular tours will mark its 20th anniversary when the Woodbury Holiday House Tour takes place on December 13 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Litchfield Hills to benefit the Woman’s Club of Woodbury. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available for $30 starting at 9 a.m. at the Senior and Community Center, 265 Main Street South.

Six special homes chosen for this landmark year range from a 14-year-old contemporary with a fabulous kitchen to an antique-filled 250 year-old home including an artist’s studio.  A restored 200-year-old schoolhouse will be seen on the spacious grounds of an elegant Colonial reproduction home, and a handsome mid-20th century Colonial features the studio of its sculptor-owner. See a complete list and details at

Interior designers, artists and architects are the owners of this year’s five homes in the annual Westport House Tour on December 7 to benefit the Westport Historical Society They include a Nantucket-style cottage at Compo Beach with a roof-top deck overlooking the water, and a hilltop chateau with sweeping vistas. Three of the houses are owned by interior designers, providing the chance to see how professionals decorate for the Christmas and Hanukkah seasons. A pianist will play at one of the homes, and several will be serving hot cider, hot chocolate, and holiday sweets.

Following the tour a Twilight Soiree hosted by the Lillian August Store in Norwalk from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. will feature wine, hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction for prizes such as an America’s Cup Cruise, getaways to a Cape Cod vacation home and a mountain ski house, and a painting by Weston artist Kerri Rosenthal, whose home and studio are part of the tour. For more information, see


One tour that always attracts visitors is The Antiquarius House Tour in Greenwich, a Fairfield County town known for its lavish residences. This year’s tour on Wednesday, December 10 will showcase five spectacular homes ranging in location from the shores of Long Island Sound to estates in the wooded backcountry. What all have in common is their always-spectacular holiday finery.

The tour is part of a weeklong Antiquarius event to benefit the Greenwich Historical Society that includes the annual Greenwich Winter Antiques Show on Saturday and Sunday, December 6 and 7 at the Eastern Greenwich Civic Center. For full schedules, see

For more information about house tours 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, contact the Western Connecticut Visitors Bureau, PO Box 968, Litchfield, CT 06759, (860) 567-4506, or visit their web site at