Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Pleasant Hill Shakers, Part 3

The Shakers were an innovative people who often designed or improved farm and household tools to make common tasks more efficient.
Above is a part of the large wash house.

This cast iron stove was designed to heat a number of flatirons at once.
When one iron cooled another was hot and ready to be used with no wasted time.

A closer view of the flatiron heater.

A woodworker using vintage hand tools to create some of the smaller Shaker reproduction items sold on the premises.
He was making dozens of wooden clothes hangers.

The Shakers became well known for their wooden storage boxes in many sizes.
You can read more about the contruction of these boxes by following the link below.

A tower of finished Shaker pantry boxes in the gift shop.
[As I witnessed the resident black and white cat being pursued by some unruly children I thought what an excellent opportunity was here for disaster: think of cat fleeing children and perhaps careening through a stack of boxes!]

A large area was devoted to a vegetable garden and berry patch.
This is a stand of sorghum.

The cut stalks of sorghum would have been fed into this crusher.
A horse or mule hitched to the whiffle-tree provided the power to run the grinder.
After crushing, the collected 'juice' was boiled down into syrup and used for cooking or to drizzle on griddle cakes, biscuits, or muffins--it can be used in the same way as honey, but is darker and of stronger flavor.

The exterior of the Shaker Meeting House with separate doors for men and women.

Plain benches are arranged in ranks around the room--men on one side, women on the other.
The center space was left free for the ritual of 'dancing' which was a hallmark of Shaker worship.
To read more about Shaker rituals and daily schedule you can follow this link.

Reproductions of Shaker furniture can be had by custom order--if one can bear the cost.
Items such as this chest of drawers can be made in cherry or pine.

Reproduction Shaker drop-leaf table.

The craftshop of the broom maker.
The Shakers of Pleasant Hill grew broom corn and had a thriving industry making sturdy brooms for sale to 'worldly' customers.
This old fellow demonstrated the making of a broom while keeping up a running commentary which he had obviously memorized.

These colorful and whimsical bowls and balls are made from large dried gourds--the same we have seen locally crafted by the Amish and Mennonites into birdhouses.

The style of the cat paintings reminds me of the work of the late artist Laurel Burch.
[I have a small stash of the fabrics which were an off-shoot of her work.]

If I had room for one more decorative item in my little house,
this cat would surely have come home with me!

1 comment:

  1. I am with you on the cat bowls ...but I love all their work with wood ...and the flat iron heater is something I have never seen. My Nana had a flat iron she used sometimes, when I was a very young child.