Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A trip to Shaker Village, full cup of tea required.

   Today we take a departure from Hopalong Hollow to visit a peaceful village a mere 3 hours from here. Across the border from Tennessee and into the lush and historically rich state of Kentucky, there sits a tranquil Village, as pleasant and perfect as it must have been during it's founding over 205 years ago. Come along with me to Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg Ky.
 Miles and miles of stone walls lead us to the picket gate.
and into an American past, with the story of the SHAKERS.
Shakers were a religious sect formed in the late 1700's with the belief that the world and it's material goods stood between you and the spirit of God, that men, women and all races were equals, that sex was a sin and therefore, within the Shaker community men and women lived separately in celibacy, even avoiding touching.  The name Shaker was acquired from their being filled with the spirit, resulting in a " shaking, quaking and trembling in divine ecstasy"! HMMMM...
      I am scarcely scratching the surface on all the aspects of Shaker belief, for  what I wish to show you, is the legacy they left behind, due to another belief they had...the value of hard work and keeping one's hands busy with it;
"Labor to make the way of God your own; let it be your inheritance, your treasure, your occupation, your daily calling." so said Mother Ann, one of the leaders of this sect. 

 Shaker dress was simplistic. Women wore solid colored clothing , bib and straw bonnets.

 Men wore simple white shirts,vests, breeches and suspenders and straw hats.
Notice how the walls are bare of any ornamentation, no mirrors, paintings, wallpaper or stencils. Although it is not my style, it is quite beautiful in an unpretentious sort of way

There was no gingerbread or fretwork on Shaker 
 Architecture , it was unadorned and modest...as were the Shakers themselves.

 Every thing that the Shakers required was designed , formed and created from their own hands.

 They developed a most classic line of items for their own special use.( Although many Shaker communities sold their wares and seeds to the public). 
   Shaker laws required that everything made, be useful. These were straightforward designs with no frills attached and yet, strangely beautiful in their perfection of line, symmetry and simplicity. Many of these items have become well known to us today as  exclusive design of the Shakers..items such as:
Shaker chairs with woven seats.

( the woven rag rugs do provide a welcome splash of color, and the seats on the chairs have nice geometric designs)

 Shaker baskets and bonnets.

  Shaker boxes, used for just about anything that would fit in an oval box. These are reproduced today by artisans wishing to preserve the craft.

Buckets, barrels and firkins...

All these functional items were created in their workshops.

There were workshops for the "brethren"

and workshops for the "sisters".
 My favorite place in all the Village is the wonderful weaving house... just look at all this beautiful equipment!
 Do any of these things look familiar to you???

This is where I got my inspiration to create Mother Hopalongs weaving house.  My little buns are not shakers, they like ornamentation much too much!
(Note the little bun in the yellow apron with the drop spindle? The inspiration for her came from a photograph of Sarah, as a little drop spindling gal... all grown up now. Sarah and her mother Diane have a marvelous and beautiful blog, the Corgyncombe Courant at:
 http://corgyncombecourant.blogspot.com/  They are also my cousins.)  You must visit them!
  This is a walking wheel in my house, I found it at a barn sale many years ago, less than 4 miles from Shaker Village. I believe it is nearly identical to one in the museum. My spinning skills are abysmal, and I am not nearly as tidy as a Shaker.

 Now, back to the Shakers...
Just look at the
 the clean "mirror image" of the stairways,
One stairway for the men the other for the women
 One doorway for the men, the other for the women.
 Though the walls are always white, the trim is usually a wonderful slate blue, barn red or yellow ochre.
 Widows and orphans were taken into the fold with regularity, as were runaway slaves, homeless wanderers and those just fed up with life on "the outside". And the Shakers thrived for a time.
 Everyone worked."Hands to work, Hearts to God",was the Shaker creed.


 But those miles upon miles of fabulous dry stacked stone walls
 surrounding the Village, were NOT built by the Shakers.
  They were built by the Irish, who were hired at $1000 per mile.
 Those Irish are the VERY BEST wall builders, ever!

Eventually, however, recession, depression and financial mismanagement forced the unhappy ending to this community, and in 1923 the last Shaker left Pleasant Hill.
All fell into disrepair until the 60's when some concerned, wealthy Kentuckians began the restoration process of this marvelous treasure. Thank goodness for them, what a triumph!
Notice the color of the barn is BLACK, There are a lot of black barns in Kentucky.
 We took over one hundred photos here the other day, but I don't wish to inundate you. However, Early American Life magazine did a wonderful feature on the Village in their August issue. This is also the issue featuring the 26th Annual Directory of some of Americas best heritage artisans.

And on page 62, you will see a piece created by yours truly...

  I am honored to be one of the artists chosen for the:
Thanks EAL!

  PS: In case you were wondering, our dear baby donkey IS a girl ( I am so glad!) and her name is Jemima.
That's Miss Jemima, if you please.

Named after a favored Beatrix Potter character, although we do hope that she is not as daft as Jemima Puddleduck


  1. What an interesting post on Early Americana from the Shakers. Great photos by the way and I do love the ladies workroom.

    How wonderful for you to be featured in such a nice magazine. Congrats to you.

    Love your little donkey.

    Hugs ~ FlowerLady

  2. Such an inspiring and interesting village, I have always been a fan of their simplistic furniture and way of life, they are indeed a most talented sect of people.
    Thank you for giving us a glimpse of life on their terms.

    Congratulations to you being featured in the magazine, a well-deserved pat on the back !

    Your little Jemima is precious, Beatrix would have been proud of her Jemima Puddleduck names sake.


  3. Hi Jeri
    Such beauty found in simplicity.. What a wonderful journey.. Thank you for taking me along..

    Congratulations on your feature in the magazine. It is an exquisite piece of work.. I often wonder where you find the time Jeri.. You accomplish so much within your days at the Manor... You must squeeze every moment out of the day.

    Jemima is precious!!! I love her eyes...
    Enjoy your week.

  4. Hi Jeri,
    What an AWESOME POST!!!
    I was so excited to see your Scherenschnitte in my copy of EAL
    this month!!
    I shall visit this post again and again, because I just so love these Villages!! Great pictures!!
    Oooo Miss "Jemima" what a perfect name! She is VERY SWEET and LOVELY!!!
    Many many Blessings and Hugs, Linnie

  5. That Jemima is a sweetie. How I love those little creatures.Congratulations on being featured in the magazine.lLoved this post. So much to look at and admire. Drop by and see where I hung the beautiful print I won from you. Have a wonderful rest of the week. Hugs, Deb=^..^=x4

  6. Jeri my sweet friend! I see my precious Penny and Linnie are here too. What a treat to see the beautiful homes and vestiges of a bygone era, and the history so rich. I was in Kentucky once, but for a short visit in Asbury. I did not get to see anything remotely as charming as this, not even HORSES! AND I so love little MISS Jemima...ooops, please I hope I spelled that right! She is darling and she must be eating quite a bit!!!

    Wow, congratulations on your publication of your art. Stunning and detailed and proof of your hard work. Hands to work and heart to GOD, indeed!

    MUCH LOVE! Anita

  7. congratulations having your piece in the magazine, it is quite beautiful!

    so awesome to see all your inspiring photographs. There is a lot to be said for simple living and being part of every aspect of ones life. So different from modern America.


    I always enjoy my times at Pleasant Hill...and the oxen, they are so stolid and peaceful.

    I love the architecture, the handcrafts, the simple yet elegant buildings.

    All joys,


  9. Although we missed it, you
    have given us a beautiful
    revisit through your sojourn
    there.Ever notice, you cannot take a bad photo of
    Pleasant Hill interiors..it
    must have something to do
    with the symetry and light
    bequested by "hands to work
    and hearts to God" of those
    dedicated and dear people.
    Your EAL celebrity is growing, Jeri, and none more richly deserved.
    Just love Jemima's
    "attitude" She looks like
    a keeper and a winner.
    Great post!
    Blessings ~


    Yes, I bet this has been an extremely busy summer for you but you are getting around even MORE these beautiful days of summer and with great returns. It must be such a joy to see you in person and talk to you!!! Thank you for your visit; it is always a complete picture when dear friends come. I am NOT in the classroom yet! On August 25th, we teachers go back to the district meetings and our buildings in order to prepare our classrooms and meet. I am NOT ready! My summer has been so relaxed and focused more on my personal writing goals. I have been enjoying a lot of poetry and I would love to eventually take some poetry classes. At one time, I had wanted to write children's books and maybe I will go that route. Poetry however, is a good mind bender and exercise in coloring the world with keen observation and word choice, and much more and I really enjoy that. Mary Oliver, Nancy Willard, Ted Kooser and Ezra Pound have really opened my eyes this summer and I just can't get enough!

    GIVE THAT HAMISH A SQUEEZE FOR ME until he honks! Oh how I just love your animals and that little Jemima girl!

    BISOUS JERI! Anita

  11. Congratulations on being featured in such a noteworthy publication! Your art is so intricate to detail, the bunnies that were inspired by Pleasant Hill are a testament to that! I love detail and the simplicity of the Shakers inspires me to pare down. I can't give up color though! Love Miss Jemima, she is too sweet!

  12. Well Jeri, firstly, huge congratulations! Very deserved too. And, wonderful interesting blogpost though I did get distracted by a little side trip to Corgyncombe Castle. I love the Shaker style, it reminds me very much of the Swedish country style, (my knowledge here is very dubious but I am wondering it the Shakers had their ethnic roots in the Scndinavian countries?). I love my clutter too much to live so austerely, but it is very beautiful. As is the adorable Jemima.

  13. Jeri,

    Instead of showing up at my lecture...how about showing up at my door?

    All joys,


  14. What a wonderful contribution they made and left here. I love the life style and hard work they did. Such artisans. I am so glad they are restoring it. I would love to visit and see it all.
    Congrats on your being published in the magazine.
    I love the name for the latest addition to the farm. It suits her well.

  15. Thoroughly enjoyed your post and seeing all your pictures. They bring everything to life! I never feel inundated with pictures!

    Jemima is gorgeous! She looks so cuddly!

    Well done on being featured in that beautiful-looking magazine, Jeri.

    Just a query...how did the Shakers plan to procreate to preserve their beliefs and traditions if there was to be no fraternising among the sexes?

  16. How I wish we could have made this trip! Husband says we must visit there at some point...it is beautiful!
    Jemima is quite a befitting name...she is our most favorite character of all...and your sweet girl is precious!!
    Eliza and I have been collaborating on her little book, so we have been somewhat absent from the blogging world for a bit. My goodness the details that must be tended to, the late nights, when inspiration hits, and no sleep is to be had...what a wonderful journey we are on!
    Thank you again for sharing your photos...I could enjoy looking at all of them if you think you might post more;)
    Have a wonderful weekend in Tennessee, dear girl,

  17. Dear jeri, I have studied your book page so many times, taken notes, and am hoping you would do some sort of guide to seeking out a publisher, editor? Etc....
    You are an invaluable resource and a wealth of constant inspiration. I am using the 140 lb cold press paper...and am using black India ink for calligraphy and illustrations. I have tubes of watercolor paints and plenty of brushes. Any info you can provide beyond the creating process would be most welcomed...or referral to another guide...your time is valuable, I know...so any crumbs you might toss this way are appreciated beyond words, dear kindred.
    And btw, I love love that illustration of the weaving room...it is my favorite!! Sweet Sarah, such a sweet girl, along with mother Diane.

  18. Jeri, a fabulous share & show. I love these kinds of history.

    Would you be so kind to leave a comment on my BLOG ONLY, for the Miracle Makeover fund drive. Charlie, 8 yr. old, & his story are fabulous. Every comment brings us a $1 for the next person that will be sponsored.

    Have a beautiful weekend.
    TTFN ~

  19. Hi Jeri
    I see so many sweet faces here..
    Thank you so much for wandering over to meet Honey Bear and your kind words.. Sorry I am just now getting back to you.. Computer is old and tired.. Oh golly, me too! haa.. Going to limit my time on the computer for a while to give it a rest. One day a week.
    See you soon. I just cannot take my eyes of sweet little Jemima... May I have your permission to attempt a painting and sculpture of her?

  20. Thank you Jeri! I don't know if I can sculpt her, but sure would like to give it a try. I viewed your previous post and I think there may be enough views of her.. If you happen to have a close up of her face forward that would be great.. If not, don't go to any trouble...
    I will check in next week with you and let you know how it's going.
    Thank's so much.

  21. Thanks for the trip to Pleasant Hill. It was really interesting and your photos are great.I'm popping over from Jo@ A Brit in Tennessee.
    Happy Sunday.

  22. You don't know how much your comment means to me....those words....."YOU are a WRITER...YOU are a POET" coming from YOU dearest, makes me feel like I am. Thanks. Anita

  23. Hi Jeri,

    Was great to learn more about the Shakers and see all your wonderful photographs. Have heard of them before, but knew little about them.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Congratulations on your feature in the magazine, that is wonderful.
    Your work is exquisite and adore the sweet work room piece... darling.
    Also how precious your new baby Jemima is, so cute.

    Hope that you have a lovely week

  24. Dear Cousin Jeri,

    We enjoyed your lovely photographs of the Shaker Village! We have been to several Shaker villages! Love the Shaker baskets, wheels, and all their fine workmanship! This last weekend I found an early old yarn winder, not Shaker, but still a delight to use and look at! I also found another spinning wheel that was a real bargain! Spinning on a great wheel is lots of fun, like spinning on a charkha off the tip of the spindle! Your spinning, weaving, and quilting rabbits at Hopalong Hollow look every bit as industrious as the Shakers! We're proud to see your work in Early American Life magazine!

    We're so glad that your little donkey is a girl, too! How absolutely adorable Miss Jemima looks alongside her Mum! She looks so little and shy and sweet! And the other photograph we both say oooohhhh and ahhhhh!

    Your cousins,
    Diane and daughter Sarah at the Corgyncombe Courant

  25. Hi Jeri!
    Such a wonderful tour. Amazing how those folks lived so simply. Congratulations on EAL! That's wonderful. Also very happy to see the sweet little Jemima again. Such a darling she is. I see you might be in Virginia Beach in November??? Oh my gosh that would be so great! My family lives there and I'm only 3 hours away.
    xx, shell

  26. I'm late to the Shaker gathering,but so glad I stopped by. Pleasant Hill is one my list of favorite places. When I was there as a tenth anniversary gift, I thought it the most serene place on the face of the earth. Are some of the buildings still used for guest lodging? Is the restaurant still there? Thank you for taking me down memory lane.

    What a delight to have your artistry included in Early American Life magazine. Congratulations!

  27. Dang, I can't find an issue of Early American life in this little town. I still have Barnes and Noble to try!
    Congratulations on being a featured artist!

  28. Oh, what a happy, happy post! All that nice Shaker information and photos, the lovely reference to your oh-so-talented family and then the fabulous news about your wonderful (and, it must be said, well deserved) award. Wholehearted congratulations, pats on the back and cartwheels of joy!!! So very happy for you!

  29. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Many thanks

    My weblog: ford ranger


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