Bonafide Farm

Shelburne Museum: Part two

October 22nd, 2012 § 2

And so we resume our tour of the Shelburne Museum:


I went in to a huge post-and-beam barn filled with all sorts of carriages and wagons, including an old hearse and a Conestoga wagon. I was really struck by the typography on this ferry wagon. I found it incredibly skilled and beautiful:


With just paint, the artist managed to create a complexly shadowed, gilded letter that mimicked malachite. This is one of the most striking pieces of typography I’ve ever encountered and, sadly, my iPhone photo doesn’t do it justice.


Next I went on to the printmaking barn, where I got to try my hand at letterpress. And then on to the weaving barn, where beautiful looms made me want to learn how to weave. I took a weaving course in my second year of college, but it was more art-based than practical, and I think I would enjoy weaving more knowing I was making something I could wear instead of a hippy-dippy piece of dubious “art” to hang to hang on the wall of my opium den.


Another graphically impressive exhibit was in a huge long barn that was hung floor to ceiling with old tools. Here’s just a chunk of one wall, with some wood planes in the foreground:


The other side of this barn featured iron work, including many boot jacks. I got a laugh at these pornographic examples, tactfully displayed near the floor behind a low wall to protect the innocence of any visiting children.


There was an entire house (!) devoted to carved wooden bird and fish decoys. All were beautiful, and I took this picture for my mom. See, Mom, carved wooden swans are art!


Next I went in a few historic homes and log cabins, marveling all the while at how little space people need to live. I learned this lesson first-hand when I spent a few months in a small, one-room cabin in Alaska that was only accessible by boat or float plane, but it was nice to be reminded that the home I have now is, at 2,100 square feet, a relative palace. I guess when you don’t have a lot of crap you don’t need much room to store it, right?

Being on the road for the past ten days has further cemented my inclination that one doesn’t need a lot to live well. This is an idea I’ve danced around in various ways, beginning with my college ramblings and including my time in Alaska. But due to a recent major life change the question of how far I can pare down has resurfaced. This trip is confirming to me that I still possess a gypsy spirit and no desire to measure my success by how much I accumulate. In fact, I feel the inverse. It’s not a radical idea, but the less I possess the more freedom I feel. Even without my comfortable home and land in Free Union, which are a gift and blessing, I feel rich beyond measure with only a working vehicle, enough money to gas up the car, a small bag of clothes, a couple of pairs of boots, my beautiful dog Tucker, and a cooler full of Heady Topper.

Up next: Burlington and the Vermont brewery tour continues!

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§ 2 Responses to “Shelburne Museum: Part two”

  • Tara says:

    Hiya; I came here from DIYDiva and have been slowly going through your archives (work permitting!). One day I’d love to hear tales of Alaska; why were you there?

  • Bonafide Farmer says:

    Hi, Tara, and welcome! I was in Alaska as a transition from living and working in DC to buying my farm. I was doing freelance design work from a laptop powered by a car battery in a cabin with no road access—but I was also hanging out and flying with bush pilots, taking starlit canoe rides, exploring Fairbanks and Homer, and generally getting back in touch with the natural world. I loved it!! Alot happened in AK–I’m thinking of writing a book!

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