Cultural Travels – Part 3

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As I mentioned in my last post I was not quite ready to leave Bucks County, PA without completing the last place on my list – the home of an author whom I have long admired.

The spring blooms, the sunny, warm day and a surprise arts and craft show set up under tents made for a wonderful visit. Photos will show the best overview that I could give you.

View through the pagoda to the welcome center and gift shop
Pearl S. Buck Welcome Center and Gift Shop
Pearl S Buck Sculpture with a Child
Pearl S Buck Conference/Cultural Center

The last stop of the day was at the request of my sister, Jan. The Aldie Mansion built in 1927, in Great Gatsby style of the roaring 20’s, is now under the auspices of the Heritage Conservancy. It is used primarily as a historic wedding venue. From the exterior, it is impressive and beautifully maintained as are the fabulous grounds and patios surrounding it.

Front of the Aldie Mansion
Backside of the Mansion
Aldie Mansion gardens and stone patios.

Aldie Mansion Teahouse

As we said our good byes to Bucks County, PA, both of us felt the same sentiment, “Oh, what we would have missed if we hadn’t fully satiated our hunger for these last two places of interest!”

Jan and Sue inside the Mercer Museum. Thank you to our excellent docent, Gloria for offering to take this picture. Greatly appreciated.

Cultural Travels – Part 2

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Cultural Travels without visiting at least one church in a town filled with notable history is like leaving an area unsatisfied or not completely fulfilled. We passed by this beauty, Salem United Church of Christ, on our way to Henry Chapman Mercer‘s home, Fonthill Castle and to the Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, a place on the National Historic Register where Chapman made a good deal of his bread and butter during the Arts and Crafts Movement. Inside the church is the tilework of the man of whom our focus is on.

The Bible in Mercer’s Tile “The Baptism of Jesus”

Quite unexpected was the Spanish Mission Revival architecture of Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tileworks which was built to “master the potter’s art and establish pottery under personal control.” The working history museum lies adjacent to Mercer’s home – another enormous castle named Fonthill.

Moravian Pottery and Tileworks, Doylestown PA
Vase – Moravian Pottery
Moravian Tiles of Henry Chapman Mercer from the Arts and Crafts Movement Era
Henry Chapman Mercer’s home

Our visits to Mercer Castle, Fonthill Castle and Mercer’s Moravian Pottery and Tilework led me to ponder the enormous amount of energy and brainpower it took Henry Chapman Mercer to conceive his vision for all three structures and bring them forth. Fortunate that he bequeathed it all for public enjoyment of future generations and for those who like to learn and have cultural experiences in their lifetimes.

My hunger for more cultural sites from Bucks County, PA had not quite been satisfied nor had my sister’s. We each had one more place we wanted to visit before leaving the area.

Come on back on May 3rd for the final post in this three part series. If you hunger for more art and culture from your armchair, we believe we’ll have something more you’ll enjoy from AllThingsFulfilling.com.

Cultural Travels

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Culturally Fulfilling Travels

The weekend after Easter my twin sister came to visit. As always, we had a fabulous time together. Just a stone’s throw away northward to Bucks County, PA our travels took us. Our forays together usually include elements of exploring art, architecture, books and gardens and seeing landmarks of interest located in Main Street Historic Towns. It’s what floats both of our boat loads of interests.

We discovered Doylestown, PA just two hours north of where I live. What a gem, especially in terms of what we set our sites on seeing when we go on a “Sister’s Travel” excursion. Our first stop was the Mercer Museum, which was built to house Henry Chapman Mercer’s collections. He was “a noted tile-maker, archaeologist, antiquarian, artist and writer, a leader in the turn-of-the-century Arts and Crafts Movement.”

His museum is a “six-story reinforced concrete castle” designed by the man himself completed in 1916. It was built by just eight men over four years. Inside you can see artifacts from 60 types of arts and crafts of the period. Here are a few pictures outside and inside the castle walls. So impressive it was that we hope our two brothers in the building trade will someday take time to go see it and the primitive tools used to build the colossal castle.

Exterior Mercer Castle
Inside the castle walls looking out at some of the roofline
One of six stories of castle staircases – Yes! There is an elevator!
Writers loft in a castle, anyone?
As tempting as it is – this author likes brighter environments to write more lighthearted stories!
A glimpse inside a room with sewing artifacts at the castle. All 50,000 artifacts of pre-industrial tools and implements of 60 types of crafts which are stored in the Mercer Museum are individually numbered.

Our next stop was conveniently located across the street, which we enjoyed seeing with a walkabout – The James A Michener Art Museum is filled with a permanent collection of Pennsylvania Impressionistic paintings as well as a great range of revolving artist exhibits and they offer art workshops for children.

Exterior of Michener Museum of Art
Labyrinth on Michener Museum’s grounds. Bordered by spring flowering trees getting ready to pop any day! Lovely.

In the next post on AllThingsFulfilling.com I will share more information including another castle with a fantastic art attraction all on one gorgeous not so very small land plot.

There is so much to share, one story at a time, with our readers on AllThingsFulfilling.com about our visit to Buck’s County cultural and art attractions. See you back here in a few days time!

The Art Scene – Easter 2022

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The day before Easter I returned to an arts space I had visited last fall – the Gallery at Manor Mill in the small historic settlement in Monkton, Maryland. I’d gone especially to see the new equine collection of oils by Pamela Wilde. The equine paintings show horses and their riders engaged in various competitions and performances. It is a very appropriate grouping of paintings to hang in a barn that has been a historical restoration project in northern Baltimore County. Monkton is located in the heart of Maryland’s horse and hound countryside where there are many collectors of equine art.

Pamela Lofgren Wilde‘s exhibit is a total of forty-eight oil paintings also including streetscapes, portraiture and a delectable mix of other subjects. Here is a photo of artist Pam Wilde with her Easter “fascinator hat” styled to go along with the era of her vintage dress.

Artist Pamela Wllde with two paintings from her equine collection

Here are just a few more images of her oils, which will hang until May 30th.

Oil Paintings by Artist Pamela Wilde
More of Pamela Wilde’s oils

Other artists featured in the spring collection include Judeth Hawkins, Lisa Mitchell, Daniel Good,
Keith McCleary and Linda Biggs.

Other art in the featured exhibit included painted furniture and a marionette crafter/artist.
The two oils on the right are by Lisa Mitchell.

For more information on the current exhibit visit the Gallery at Manor Mill. A trip to see the pre-Revolutionary grist mill which has been turned into a fabulous art space is worth the drive, in and of itself!

Gallery Manager, Lynn Jones decked out in her Easter bonnet.
Another art enthusiast wearing a Easter Bonnet.

It was a fulfilling Saturday before Easter on the Art Scene in the Hunt Country of Maryland.

Author’s Showcase – Perry Hall

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April 13, 2022

Book Buyers at the Perry Hall Branch of the Baltimore County Public Library

It is always fun to gather with other authors, and the Author’s Showcase at the Perry Hall Branch Library brought book lovers of all types to browse tables and purchase books from a wide diversity of subjects.

Thanks to the Perry Hall Library and to Douglas J Beatty – Adult and Community Involvement Librarian for organizing this evening. Our book buyers/potential buyers are our reason for being and it is fulfilling to have venues to share and talk about what we love to do – write!

Architectural Interests

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Wickford, Rhode Island church

My twin sister and I walked the village streets of Wickford, Rhode Island one stellar day in October. The conversation went like this, “Oh, Sue, look at the dental molding on that house!”

“Don’t you love the classic design of these historical homes?”

“How about the eyebrow window on that place. Don’t you just love it?”

“Jan,” I said, “See the beautiful white steeple in the distance? The church has got to be just as beautiful. Let’s swing around and see it.”

We’d both stop in our tracks at the same time when we spied a beautiful harbor view behind a house and exclaim the prime setting, or ooh and ahh over a beautiful garden or a picture-worthy old home.

Yep! That’s how we roll. Such is the verbal exchange of two daughters of a five generation family of builders who find just looking at houses and churches more satisfying than going into a lovely jewelry store and buying. And we both hold the same opinion – cozy and diminutive holds our fancy as much as big nests.

Wickford Charmers

Lovely visit I had to the community village of Wickford, Rhode Island. My sister and I were so busy walking down the lovely lanes and streets, we entered into only one of it’s beautiful shops and none of the restaurants. We’d brought a picnic lunch and sat by the harbor. But, that is ok! It gives me a reason to go back next time I am in the neighborhood of this historic town which is just a leap over a bridge near Newport and Middletown, Rhode Island.

Life is what you make it. Find your own path to fulfillment. ~ Anonymous

Roll Out the Barrel

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“The art of nations is to be accumulative, just as science and history are; the work of living men not superseding, but building itself upon the work of the past.” – Author: John Ruskin

There is much to celebrate in the small historic village settlement of Monkton, MD. An arts and cultural center which has been a historical restoration project for sometime is beginning to see the light of day. The gallery exhibit space is now opened, and art education workshops have begun. What a bright, cheerful space and what a future this restored gristmill will have.

Manor Mill was once at the heart of the community in My Lady’s Manor. Read about it’s fascinating history which dates back to the 1700’s. Also in this little settlement which lines the Big Gunpowder Falls is an historic train depot and hotel which also have undergone restoration.

Lynne Jones, Director and Curator of the Manor Mill Gallery gave me a wonderful tour, explaining the vision for the gallery and it’s spaces which are still undergoing historic restoration. There will be additional spaces for individual artist studios as well as a dedicated space for meetings. She could not have been more hospitable or knowledgeable about the entire project but she is at the hub of it all. Lynne is also an admirable artist in her own right. Check out her website.

Here are a few collages of pictures! But stay with me, the final photos in collage #3 are what’s underneath of the entire project, and it is the most historically notable of it all.

Manor Mill Gallery, Monkton, MD
Manor Mill Gallery, Monkton, My Lady’s Manor, MD

What’s underneath it all? Below are some more photos, all taken with permission. Thank you Lynne!

I‘d like to extend my thanks to Scott Batton of Batton Builders and President of the Board of Directors of the Historical Society of Baltimore County for telling me to keep an eye on this wonderful project several years ago. I have driven by this property many times over, but had never been inside. Then Harford County artist Pamela Wilde enticed me further when she posted on her social media the space is now open. So I went to explore and what a discovery. Dont miss it!

We are All Directors

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Last weekend I was finally among a community of local creatives. Although we all want to be directors of our own lives, I’ve been mindful to follow all the CDC guidelines regarding social distancing and vaccinations. It has required much patience to a newcomer in a community who has been dying to get out and meet people with like interests in the neighborhood at large. I can’t begin to imagine how stiffled extraverts have felt.

I had a wonderful time talking to people and making connections, which is always of primary importance to me. I rarely think about rising costs of printing and publishing, statistics of books sold and definitely never about outselling anyone else. For me, it’s about being in community with others. I don’t see myself in competition with any other author. Heck, I could never come up with any of the ideas anyone else writes about even if I tried. Creativity energy is an individual thing, as unique to each one of us as our Creator has made us.

What I do think about is the investment I’ve made in myself in following my passion, and how fulfilled I feel by all the necessary steps it has taken to do the work – by educating myself on writing and independent publishing, creating the product, marketing it, and essentially creating a small creative business for myself. A real journey in very intentional self-development.

Although the road has not been easy, and there have been many ups and downs, it feels good not arduous and painstaking. It leads me to believe I have chosen this path for all the right reasons and that feels good.

All independent artists are we! Our own art of living includes directing our creative lives with whatever energy we have that brings us personal fulfillment. For some of us it’s literary arts for others photography, leathercraft, jewelry, fiber arts, pottery and much, much more such as those who enjoy involvement in the performance arts.

Here are a few collages of photos from the Authors and Artists Holiday Sale. My apologies that I can not name each and every author and artist in this blog. My time was limited in getting around to each and every display and I was unable to keep track of the names of each of the thirty-five participating artists.

Blessed beyond measure with this gift of a life I have been given! Thank you God, for everything.