Arts and Crafts: First hundred came out fine ...

... Melrose Arts and Crafts Society celebrates 100th with show

Photos by Ella Letterie, Louise Fennell and Don Norris

Teddy Bears have become a tradmark of the Melrose Arts and Crafts Society. They are delivered by the basketfuls to youngsters at Melrose Wakefield Hospital.

The Melrose Arts and Crafts Society marked the advent of its first century anniversary in May with yet another of its anticipated Annual Craft Shows.

The show was held again this year in Fellowship Hall at the First Baptist Church, where the club holds its monthly meetings. At one time the group met at the American Legion Bungalow on Crystal Street, but they moved when that facility no longer became available, in 1975.

The Society gained considerable recognition about that time -- a quarter century ago -- when they invented what is now known as the TLC Teddy Bear. The cuddly little squooshible bears are made for the children being treated at Melrose Wakefield Hospital. No two are alike, hardly.

The bears are not quite mass-produced today, but are made all by hand, mostly in member's homes, and delivered in batches of one or two dozen monthly.

A lovely applique landscape by Maryalice Leach; centerpiece in the tea room; Versatile coverlet in which yarn is embroidered over the weave of the fabric, by Shirley Sayer.

The show included all facets of arts practiced by the membership -- sewing, painting, knitting, tatting, crocheting, and creating beauty in a multitude of ways.

For example, the show featured a couple of cut-out Victorian ladies, life-size, created and painted by Milly Macdonald. In a framed work, Maryalice Leach used appliqued material to create a scene of the Rockies.

That's Pat Boyer, MAC president, at the right. Close-up is Ellie Cronin, who was co-chair of the fair last year.

There was an on-going demonstration of rug hooking by Peggy Silva, who is also in charge of delivering the monthly order for Teddy Bears at the folks at the hospital.

Millie Macdonald with her silouetted painting of Victorian lady; a guest; and Peggy Silva with a display of rug hooking.

One side of Fellowship Hall was set up as a lovely tearoom, where visitors could rest and enjoy sweets with their cup. The area  was done in a pink motif, with ten tables and centerpieces created by co-chair Cindy Watkins.

The tea room adds a nice touch to the program.

Faberge? Not exactly. At the right is the sales table.

GOOSE EGG ART: Art is where you find it, what you can make of it. There is, at Melrose Arts and Crafts, a teacher by the name of Sophie Chetwick, who teaches the art of making Faberge-like art using, to start with, goose eggs. We have photos of two samples that were on display at the Show: One by Jane Munro, a beautiful broach, and another by Rose Foti, whose work looks startingly like the French (or is it Russian?) original.

According to Cindy Watkins, Ms Chetwick offers two or three sessions on some nine courses. And there is one one-day only course. They are not necessarily held during the monthly Society meetings.

While many members are doing quilting, this year the chairmen asked members to bring samples of home-spun art from previous times. There were many lovely pieces, including several that member Marie Salamanca displayed -- made by her grandmother.

Among the several members of the Society taking part in the one-day program, Dot Maher and Elsa Moylan were busy putting pastry dishes together. At the right is Co-chair Cindy Watkins, introduing her husband to Society functions.

While we didn't get their names, these two ladies obviously found the show entertaining and informative. Their smiles reflect good times.

There were beautiful and unusual examples of the work of Society members. From the left are cross-stitching by Marie Meuse, a display of jeweled trinkets in a plaster setting, and a unique reversible fireplace screen by Jeni Bogmore. Much of the art displayed is a valuable part of everyday living.

Someone has to be in the kitchen. At the left is Joanne Field, Jina Stuffle in the center and Nancy Scanzani at the right.  

This is a special TLC Teddy Bear, produced by Cindy Watkins. It seems the fabric shop ran into some difficulty with the American Baseball League, which has say over the who and how of using official logos. And so the bolt was recalled, but not before this bear was sewn. It was sold (the only one allowed to be sold) that day at a silent auction. Price: $25. At the right is a sampler done when Marie Salamanca's grandmother was only 14 years old.

ON THE BEARS: While the bears do have a cost for materials, the club manages to continue its supply to the hospital without considering the financial end. However, the hospital did respond with a nice appreciation note, in which there was a gift of $100.

Another member of the Melrose Chamber of Commerce, Jeff Robinson of Robinson Funeral Home heard that the Bear Project needed support and sent along a check for $500. And so the Bears for Children projects continues with many hands taking part.

Scenes about Fellowship Hall: The floral centerpiece; a swatch of delightful design and subtle colors; and a wonderful sample of finely worked crocheting.

Visitors and browsers; the sale table, for which all members are urged to place one item valued about ten dollars; and more browsers.

June 3, 2005

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