December 1, 2009

Theorem Painting

Stencil painting is an ancient art, but it became the rage in America in the early 1800s as artists created extraordinarily beautiful stenciled paintings on velvet, silk and paper. In this article I trace the history of stencil painting and explain why it became so popular in early America and why it declined. I also interview four of the country's leading theorem painters who are keeping this wonderful decorative artwork alive.

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November 1, 2009

The Malmberg House

John and Randee Malmberg have spent decades amassing an extraordinary collection of early American furnishings as well as prized Christmas ornaments. This article takes you through their beautiful saltbox in Rockford, Illinois, where the Malmbergs proudly display their treasures in the spirit of the Christmas holiday.

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October 1, 2009

Colonial Cooking Hearths

Hearth cooking has sustained people for millennia and was prevalent in early America from the 1600s until popularity of the cookstove in the 1830s. This article discusses the American evolution of hearth cooking, colonial fireplaces and hearth utensils, plus explains some of the common historical errors people make in equipping their hearths. It also has a useful guide on who makes cooking-hearth equipment today and where it can be obtained.

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August 1, 2009

Colonial Punishments

America's earliest European settlers brought a fair share of Old World religious and punitive practices with them, relying on shame and humiliation to keep their fellow citizens in line. This article examines colonial punishment from the 1600s to mid 1800s, explaining the rationale behind these often harsh practices.

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June 1, 2009


Silhouette cutting reached its pinnacle in early 19th century Europe and America, when itinerant artists faithfully captured their subject's appearances and even personalities with only the use of paper and scissors. This fascinating article traces the history of silhouette cutting from ancient times and explains the reason for its popularity ~ and eventual decline ~ in early America. It also features interviews with four of the country's leading silhouette artists still practicing the art in a traditional fashion.

Click here for the article.

February 1, 2009

Chip Carving

Chip carving is an ancient skill that found great favor in early America as skilled artisans applied it to all sorts of domestic items and furniture. This article traces chip carving's history and explores its cultural implications in America. It also features interviews with three of the country's most highly skilled chip carvers still practicing this traditional art form.

Click here to read the article.