The Silver Twin's ...Place...
In New England Decorative Art
The family name; “Silver”, must be explained. Originally, during the Colonial Wars, 1750-1760, the male head of household was “an Armstrong”. Of... English... Colonial... ‘settler’ ‘family’ in the “Dover (New Hampshire) area”. By the Revolutionary War decade, the Armstrong Colonial settlement family had dispersed ‘along the coast’ (north of Boston) with this settlement dispersial including a ‘handful’ of ‘young’ Armstrongs who were in ‘military service’ in the ‘interior’ of
North to the St. Lawrence River and “into” Canada.
One of them ‘coming back’ (from Canada) came back in the winter on snowshoes with his Native American wife, an “Indian Princess”... it was always told. She, of “Great Lakes” “Huron” (?), came south, on snowshoes, in the winter, from Canada, “to Maine”. She, not speaking English and being
Among those English who could not read and write nor communicate in any Native American “tongue” found the mutually adopted title (name) given her of “SILVER” to be the awkward-but-it-works “NAME” of “HER”.
This “Silver”; her name, came from her being a Native American woman who, of her dress, wore “silver”. What this ‘silver’ was ...WAS true silver metal. The ‘silver’ was small (one inch or one half inch diameter) round open circle (“trade”) “ring brooches”; little (tiny) silver “trade” pins... that were gathered by barter and ‘pinned’ on clothing, usually as decoration AND as display of wealth. Little rows of silver ring brooch pins. Having MANY and MANY MORE ‘pinned’; the ‘more rich’ one is. A ‘few only’ means ‘not rich’? No. Few is what most ‘had’. So... there come... “Silver”. “She” from her silver trade brooch hoard, pinned on her clothes for display, became the ‘title’ (name) “Silver”. And of her husband too. Because... “SILVER”...; everyone understood who this was; who these people called “Silver” were. That is that; how “Silver” of “Silver Hill” at the top of “Silver Hill Road” and the “Silver Twins Place” (farm).
Came to be titled.
This Native American silver name source tale too... helps to explain this Silver homestead settlement... by qualifying. “Expectations” are explained meaning that for this family to ‘settle’ ‘there’ and ‘homestead’ as a family there, with the ‘very little’ and ‘very small’ (Part One) was not, in fact, “that”. The homestead settlement was actually perceived to be ‘very big’ and to have ‘a lot’. It is ‘expectations’ that determined the perceptions of ‘qualify’. Does this affect the “Silver Twins... place... in New England Decorative art?
Yes it does, especially if one is perceptive enough to acknowledge that ‘these people’ actually felt themselves to be ‘very well off’.
What am I going to do now (these days)? Should I get a metal detector and hunt the Silver Twin’s place site in a wilderness effort to “FIND” a one half inch silver trade brooch dropped and lost on the hillside site in the mid 1770’s? I know people who ‘do that’. They would ‘do that’. They would
I don’t think so.
I did know one of those idiots to “FIND” the “SITE” of the (maple syrup) “SAP HOUSE”. He “FOUND” a “BURIED” clump of mold cast lead sap spiles... just off the lower left corner of the ‘pasture’ (Part One) just past the “break” in the stonewall and ‘into the woods’
“IT (the ‘sap house’) MUST HAVE BEEN RIGHT THERE”. For the well over one hundred and fifty years that it was
Addressing the sap... spiles... I ...open up a view for you (Part One). This buried clump of cast lead (pot metal?) is a ‘came up the hill’ (manufactured and imported) design form that came from a ‘went down the hill’ raw natural resource (cut down trees) that was bartered. These spiles, too, are ‘late’ in the homestead’s settlement (1880-1920’s). Before... and from the ‘earliest’ settlement period... maple sap gathering to produce ‘maple products’ (syrup and sugar)... the “TREES” were “TAPPED” and upon each tapped tree, a ...carved (whittled) wood... (legend favors ‘maple wood’; the ‘maple touching maple’ legend school of maple syrup purity, but my working discoveries of hand carved wooden sap spile hoards show white pine as the ‘usually used’ wood)... spile was inserted into the tree to ... drain the sap into the sap collection “bucket”. What kind of wood or even the ‘they are wooden sap spiles’ are NOT my denotations here. What is my notice is that the hand carved wooden spiles come from the ‘made right here’ group (Part One) of homestead settlement design forms: A homestead tree was ‘tapped’ and a single hand whittled wooden sap spile was inserted in the tap hole and... the tapping man moved to the next tree and repeated the action. After ‘sap season’ the spiles were collected (the hole plugged) and they, as a cluster were ‘put away’ until ‘next season’. These wooden spiles, one for each tapped tree, were carved ‘together’ so sort of ‘look alike’ (show the carver’s hand). “NEAT HUH”.
Well... expand the view. This carved sap spile cluster was... used for years (decades) with only minor supplemental influence... THAT IS VISIBLE TO THE KNOWING ‘design sensitive’ EYE (“aware sense”) right away. For example, a ‘broken’ or ‘lost’ spile was replaced, usually ‘in the field’ by a whittled replacement... often times made decades after the original spile was carved AND this replacement often was carved by someone of several generations ‘later’; a ‘different hand’. DO YOU SEE that I am saying that in addition to being a ‘made from there now’ homestead design form that TOO... this design form alters through time and the alterations are visible to the eye when one inspects the cluster of ‘old hand carved wooden sap spiles’ “FOUND” in an old New England homestead?
At the moment of writing this essay, I have no cluster of old whittled wooden sap spiles that I have found in an old New England homestead... to show off the homestead whittled design form cluster. I have found many clusters and... sold them all. I sell them after looking at them... all. This last ...is... ‘just for me’. Most ‘do not’ ...any of this. I advise.
Helping me today is a similar cluster of homestead wooden ware that, although of a much later era, does ‘do the same thing’ when one is looking at it and looking for design, art, design influence, art design type, singular art design expression and... a wholeness of aura of all that upon such New England homestead clusters. It is a very simple design form too so this allows one to ‘get it’; understand the broader applications... more easily... I hope.
I present an “old” coffee can, a ‘pre-zip code’ vintage 1950-60’s Maxwell House “Good to the Last Drop” two pound “coffee can” (no lid) filled with FIFTY ‘wooden clothespins’. I found this ...classic design form... relic... in an estate contents clean out. I knew what it was right away so... did not only not throw it out but sensitively preserved it for ME... as what it is...; a real true expression of old New England homestead ‘estate contents’.
What this is... is what exactly it is: A ...probably 1950’s New England housewife’s “TIN” of “CLOTHESPINS” that she used to “HANG OUT THE LAUNDRY” outside in the yard. FIFTY clothespins. Many “alike” but some odd wooden ones too AND some ‘newer’ wooden ones TOO and... all together in HER CAN that she used so was “the way I have it”; an expression that becomes an art expression within the design forms of coffee cans (coffee cans have a one hundred and fifty year design history) and clothespins (having too the same design history length... if not longer) inclusive of her tweaking her design during the several decades (many decades) she ...and/or... later generations USED THEM. I may empty the coffee tin, sort and line up the clothespins, commercially evaluate them and... only too...
SUDDENLY REALIZE THAT THIS WHOLE “THEY” (clothespins in the can) is their true expression; true human expression (having humanity AND humility), when... and only when... the pins and the tin are together... “as she intended” them. Am I saying this unit is art?
DO YOU GET IT (see it)?
It is not a big design recognition leap but this leap opens up a very broad view plane (Part One) when one looks at ‘old New England homestead design, it’s history and heritage.
I am saying that here one finds a woman’s expression of her humanity by her ‘combine’ art design (tin and clothespins) ‘signiture’. Of HER. Through her.
Coffee can filled with her (50) clothes pins. Can I bring you a more wondrous art gift?
The old coffee can filled with clothespins becomes beautiful... and stunning
I will now take this ‘aware sense’ back to the Silver Twin’s homestead and look around to see more of the homestead’s ... singular... place... in New England Decorative Art.
But one final notice on the whittled wooden sap spiles. How many “did he make”? How many whittled wooden sap spiles did (does) one man make in his life time? One man whittles one spile for one tree... once ... with that crafting only ‘supplemented’ over ...six or seven... subsequent generations of ‘one man’ who, too, use those same spiles. So... one man whittles sap spiles that are used by seven men over ...seven generations. This establishes ‘sacristy’... obviously... but too... reveals ‘actual production’. The actual production of ‘things’ found in old New England homesteads that are, too, New England Decorative Art... is an important
For one to self-develop