According to Early American stenciling expert Suzanne Korn, the history of decorative arts in America includes a colorful chapter in the post-revolutionary years.
“Between the years of 1778 and 1840, itinerant wall stencilers roamed New England country roads, painting their colorful folk art in homes, inns, and taverns along the way,” she says.
Now the Wilton Historical Society will offer children a chance to learn this historic art form with a Stenciling Workshop for Kids on Saturday, March 3 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m..
“The itinerant stencilers would travel by horseback and by foot. Some pushed carts and others wore heavy leather packs on their backs. It was usually an interesting and exciting event when the stenciler arrived in town,” says museum educator Lola Chen. “Along with his colorful pigments, sturdy brushes, and stencil kit, he would bring intriguing news about far away people, places, and events. When a family would hire the itinerant stenciler, it was common for all to gather around while he would paint a ‘sampler’ of his designs and motifs in some inconspicuous place in the home; for instance, on the attic walls, or on a wall hidden in a closet. The family would then pick and choose the designs and patterns that were most pleasing to them.”
Chen will teach participants about the simple, colorful folk art, and how and where it appeared, and will show them a stenciled oil-cloth rug in the Fitch house dining room as an example. The workshop project will be stenciling a lace pattern on a plate. The children will help make their own snack of doily chocolate cookies.
The workshop is appropriate for the suggested ages of 6-12 years. The cost to participate is $10 per child for Wilton Historical Society members, with a maximum of $25 per family; and $15 per child for non-members, with a maximum of $35 per family. To register, email the Historical Society or call 203.762.7257.
The Wilton Historical Society is located at 224 Danbury Rd.