Historic Deerfield fall forum to explore American Arts and Crafts movement


Staff Writer

Published: 09-05-2023 8:30 PM

DEERFIELD — With one of the American Arts and Craft movement’s masterpieces on display through March, Historic Deerfield’s annual fall forum is dedicated to exploring how the movement grew and flourished in town.

The forum will be held on Friday, Sept. 29, and Saturday, Sept. 30, both at the museum and virtually. Attendees will be treated to a variety of lectures and demonstrations celebrating the rich history of artwork created in the late 19th and early 20th centuries around the northeastern U.S.

Historic Deerfield Assistant Curator and forum organizer Dan Sousa said the museum decided to focus the forum on the American Arts and Crafts movement following the acquirement of Madeline Yale Wynne’s “Garden of Hearts,” an oak bride’s chest ornamented with hammered copper panels, intricate woodcarving, iron hinges and semi-precious stones.

“The movement was very localized,” Sousa said. He added this piece, as well as others in their collection, emphasize a time period in Deerfield’s history beyond the Colonial history. “We hope this program brings attention to this important 20th-century story that’s right there in our neck of the woods in Deerfield.”

The forum begins each morning and continues through the day with several lectures and demonstrations focused around the various mediums of the movement, including metalsmithing, printmaking and jewelry making.

Sousa explained the American Arts and Crafts movement came at a time when the town was suffering from an economic downturn at the end of the 1800s and it ended up being a huge boost for the town.

“In Deerfield, folks were making everything from furniture to metal, to paint, to baskets,” he said. “They were able to economically revitalize the life of the village and bring a lot of tourists into the village. … It really was a kind of blessing for Deerfield.”

Sousa noted each community produced their work in different fashions, with some regions focusing on communal work. In Deerfield, though, Sousa said most craftspeople were independent and set up their own shops.

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Headlining the forum is keynote speaker and New Jersey-based Stickley Museum Director of Collections and Preservation Jonathan Clancy, who will deliver a lecture titled “By Hammer and Hand: The Rise of Arts and Crafts Metalwork.”

Sousa expects Clancy to highlight how metalworking spread throughout the American Arts and Crafts movement, with a specific focus on the use of copper.

Alongside the main lectures, there are several optional demonstrations — for an extra fee — where folks can see what techniques were used to create the works on display at the museum. Sousa recommended seeing Wendell resident Suzanne Pugh’s demonstration at 12:30 p.m. on Sept. 29, where she will create a replica of a copper bowl that Yale Wynne made.

Registration for the forum is $385 and includes all lectures, admission to Historic Deerfield, one reception, one lunch and refreshments. Museum members can get tickets for $325. Virtual registration is $135 and students can register virtually for $65. Optional demonstrations are $35 for one or $60 for both.

Anyone who registers for the in-person or virtual forums can access lecture recordings after the event.

For more information and to register, visit bit.ly/3qVq464.

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.]]>