History, heritage at First Friday

B y Jaime Thomas

American history and heritage will steal the show at the upcoming First Friday on Sept. 6 at both the Slate Valley Museum and Pember Library and Museum.

In keeping with its Carpatho-Rusyn theme, the Slate Valley Museum will host Carolyn Guest, who creates through the Polish folk art of Wycinanki, or paper cutting. She will both display and demonstrate her art.

Using skills she learned as a 4-H youth exchange student in Poland, Guest uses antique sheep shears to cut out intricate designs of barns, farm animals and scenes from rural Vermont, officials said. Her craft became popular in the mid 1800s and originated with shepherds cutting designs out of tree bark and leather.

“Along with the traditional Slovakian craft of Pysanki egg decorating, Wycinanki paper cutting was also common within the Carpatho-Rusyn region of Eastern Europe,” Museum Director Kate Weller said.

Guest is a nationally recognized artist, who has been featured on HGTV and has presented her Wycinanki ornaments to Former First Lady Laura Bush for the White House Christmas tree.

To enhance Guest’s cultural feel, museum volunteers will also offer a selection of Polish food made from recipes found in the Slate Valley Museum cookbook.

Guest’s work will be on display at the museum through the end of September.

Across the river, the Pember will hold a more interactive evening than usual.

The museum will feature Revolutionary and Civil War reenactment photos from Cedar River Photography, which Trustee Rob McGuire describes as Joe and Katharine DeCormier’s stunning images.

To go with the art, the museum is inviting the public to come in costume.

As always, First Friday takes place from 7 to 9 p.m.

For more information about the Slate visit slatevalleymuseum.org or call 518-642-1417. For more information about the Pember visit pembermuseum.org or call 518-642-1515. Both museums are also on Facebook.

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