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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Secret Country Mill

Tucked away in a remote corner of Monmouth Co. NJ is Walnford, a park with a fully functional restored mill and house. Its location is very close to busy Rt. 539, where hordes of ocean loving tourists head towards the Pine Barrens, in route to the world famous NJ beaches, but have no idea of its existence. It is lovely, functional, and museum like in its presentation of facts both historic and mechanical, thanks to the wonderful Monmouth County Park System.

I had seen it in the 1970’s, in the early years of Off the Wall Craft Gallery, my business then located at the newly restored and repurposed old mill in Allentown, NJ. The Walnford Mill was run down and the the house on the property was still being used as a residence. I visited it again in the early 1990’s with my young daughter. The house was empty, the mill was locked, but it was teeming with domestic geese. Then in 2008, after I closed that business, I had the time to go back again. Wow. All the buildings were open with guides, restored to pristine condition, inviting, and full of life. The large secluded property offered lots of privacy to enjoy some peace amongst nature.

This piece, “Life at Walnford”, depicts an accurate rendering of the building with a lot of artistic license in depicting the trees and plant life. The muddy shoreline and the geese everywhere is based on the memory of pleasant and playful times there with little Shasta.

This Friday my stained glass piece, “Life at Walnford”, will be featured in Bordentown, NJ, at the Artful Deposit Gallery’s new show, “Along the Delaware River and Crosswicks Creek”, July 13th to Aug. 19th. The opening is July 13th, 5 – 9 pm.

Here in Vermont I have tried to create a life that feels as good as those visits to Walnford.