Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hidden Patterns

I swear that none of these weird coincidences happened until I started blogging. A few months ago I took a call from a gentleman who was a descendant of J. W. Fiske, the famous 19th-century weathervane maker from New York. He had some old weathervane patterns from the shop and wanted to know if we wanted them. We did, of course, but he was moving and needed to get rid of them quickly. So there was no way we could take them in time. It was a big disappointment.

This past week I was on vacation on Martha's Vineyard and remembered a recommendation from a former folk art student of mine to stop in to the weathervane shop of Tuck and Holland in Vineyard Haven. I had tried to stop in last year but the shop was closed. Hoping for better luck, I went to the shop to see a weathervane craftsman at work.

I was greeted by Anthony Holland, who I learned was one of the few craftspeople making weathervanes in a traditional manner in the United States. He showed me around thes shop, and his work was fantastic. I began taking pictures of the crowded workspace and a pile of metal underneath a shelf caught my eye. I asked what it was. "Oh," Anthony said, "those are really great. They're some old J. W. Fiske patterns I got from the original maker's grandson." I had found the patterns, or they had found me.

He showed me the patterns. There was an eagle, a cow, and Fiske's famous horse, Ethan Allen. Anthony told me of his plans to recreate some vanes using the Fiske patterns. He's good enough to do them justice. It actually nice to know that these artifacts had found a good home, and that they were in the hands of a craftsman who had the skills to bring them back to life. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


  1. Another good story! And I love that instead of
    laying in a drawer or just on exhibit they'll be used as they were intended. Its also a small world....... sometimes.


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