Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


I spent 2 days last week at Shaker Village in Pleasant Hill, KY with Rhonda and another friend. The trip involved a brown mouse, a heavy suitcase, lots of steps, lots of laughter, and getting lost several times – both in the Village which only has one main street (don’t ask!!!) and on the highway – due to a quirky GPS named Georgia!
The village dates from early 1800's to 1912.  The Shakers were innovators in construction and medicine, and the engineering of some of these buildings is amazing!
Even though we all went into and passed the same buildings and took lots of photos of the same things, all of our pictures are different (just like the same painting done by more than one person!) We also saw different items in some of the buildings and surprised each other when we passed our cameras around in the evening.
The weather was cool and rainy the first day, but we didn’t let that dampen our spirits. The second day dawned sunny and warmer.
I won’t bore you with all the details or all the photos (not enough room on the blog for that!!!), but here are a few you might find of interest.

One of the workers with a baby goat.  And, did you know that Rhonda can “bleat” just like a goat!!!

Looking down the middle of the street – that used to be KY 68 until the mid-60s when the village began to be renovated and the highway moved.

This is the main building in center of town - it is HUGE!  I climbed all the stairs to the top of the building which housed huge closets on the top floor for storing seasonal clothing - built in drawers and tons of pegs!  It also housed an infirmary, school room, kitchen and huge dining hall, and sleeping rooms - men on one side, women on the other. 
Beautiful double staircase in the huge and tall entry way; tall arched doorways to let in light and air; they even had windows in the closets to allow in light and air! 

Water house on left, which contains a huge round water tank up on stone pillars.  Water was pumped here and supplied the village water.  The water was inside to keep it clean; warm in winter and cool in summer!
The building on the right was the "brethren's" wash house.  We peeked in the door to see the old fashioned bath tubs (wonder how many others before us did the same thing!!!)
This building makes me think of the "log cabin" pattern that I used to make a quilt for my son many years ago.  I believe that it was also one of the dwellings.
The top photo is the meeting house - which has an unobstructed hall on the first floor.  The weight of the entire building is held by the huge wooden timbers on the 3rd floor, much like a suspension bridge!
This is where the Shakers held their meetings, which could range from 15 minutes or 23 hours!  They entered and sat on moveable benches and waited for "the spirit to move them".  We watched a presentation of one woman with an amazing voice who sang some of their songs and performed a few of their dances.  (The Shakers danced and sang for their worship and would allow visitors who sat around the sides of the hall).  When this woman performed the dance and stomped her feet, it hurt my ears.  She told us that there would have been hundreds of Shakers in that room at one time dancing - and that they could be heard 4 miles away!  They called themselves The Believers, but visitors who watched their dancing and "shaking" during worship coined the name "Shakers".
The floors in the building where we spent the night never even squeaked, nor did the stairs - after all these years (unlike the floors and stairs in my house!!!)
It was a lovely and informative and fun couple of days!


RHCarpenter said...

I enjoyed seeing Shaker Village through your eyes this way, Deb :) I see you really like the buildings - but where are those dogwood photos?

Ginny Stiles said...

OH OH OH. Deb and Rhonda! I LOVEd this travelogue. I love KY in the spring!!! I would like permission to use the photo of the two white smaller buildings (bath house) as a painting. Could I? OH my so lovely!

debwardart said...

Rhonda - Just buildings - dogwoods didn't make it to the blog!
Ginny - yes, KY is beautiful any time!

Ginny Stiles said...

Did you notice in the water house, Deb that the windows are all different sizes and positions? I also think the cement steps have been added just for people who are tourist. I'll bet the original steps were wood like the house. Also I don't think there is any paint on this building, do you? Everything just looks "weathered". No color on the shutters even! Did the Shakers maybe not use paint or color? Too flashy?

debwardart said...

Don't know why the windows are different and not sure about the steps, but considering the age of these buildings anything is possible. But the walkways have utilized the same type of stone as the original. There is white paint on the building - every wooden building had been painted (many times!!!) for protection. The colors are muted, but they did use color.