Thursday, November 20, 2008

Studio Changes

Isn't this a lovely spare room? It's actually located in the basement of our ranch house - one of 4 separate rooms down there. They all have linoleum or Pergo(R) flooring, making the space ideal for wet and messy art projects, don't you agree? So this week, I sorted out most of my painting, dyeing, inking, etc. supplies and brought them downstairs to the spare room which has now become a sort of "wet studio," the water supply being down the hall. The window faces northeast, so the lighting in the daytime is fantastic. At night, well, let's just say I need to add a few more light fixtures!
Our 20 year old granddaughter lives in the rest of the rooms downstairs - she's great fun to have around and she keeps us from getting too old fashioned and "out of touch" with the current generations!

My "big" art studio is on the main floor - it's 12x16', I think, and has wall to wall carpeting, which is why the paint/dye studio has graduated to the lower level. I've kept all my sewing supplies up here, plus all the drawing papers. I'm concerned that in the summer, the papers would pick up the dampness and become moldy. For the same reason, the fabrics are all upstairs, except the PFD's, which I have wrapped in plastic and stored downstairs for when the time and inspiration hit!

Meanwhile, I've happened upon some research we did in Scotland a year ago last June. I had failed to enter the data in our genealogy program, so when I located this treasure trove of info, I decided to enter it immediately. Prior to our visit to Aberdeen's Family History Center, all I knew for sure was that my great-great-grandfather, Arthur Stephen, had been born in Banchory-Ternan Parish, Kincardine, Aberdeenshire, Scotland on March 30, 1850 to Robert and Betty Grant Stephen. I had explored the Scotland's People gov. website, and learned about some of Betty Grant's ancestors, but couldn't fine anything (at that time) on line about Robert Stephen and his family. With the help of the wonderful research staff in Aberdeen, we were able to track back an additional 4 generations of Stephens - all of whom lived in "the mains of Glenfarqhar, Fordoun Parish, Kincardine, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. All of them were "Alexander," and one of them had his occupation listed as "weaver for Glenfarqha," which I found positively delightful, since I'm so involved in fiber art.
Here's a photo of Arthur Stephen and Maria Jane Paden (a Mayflower descendant) taken on their wedding day in 1852.Together, they had 5 children, one who died at the age of two, the others who lived to be between 70-80 years of age. Arthur was postmaster for Oakdale, MN - the first in a long line of postal employees in our family. The post office was in their home on Hudson Road from 1857-1867. From 1901-1908, he was again postmaster, this time for Lake Elmo, MN. He also served as councilman, Justice of the Peace, Chairman of the Board of Town Supervisors, first clerk of the Distric 37 School Board (Oakdale - which he is said to have named). Arthur Stephen also served a term as a Republican Representative in the MN State Legilature. He was trained in his youth as a plasterer and brick-layer by his father-in-law, Isaac Paden. He did the plaster work on the historic Courthouse in Stillwater, Washington Co., MN, Stillwater's first high school, and many other brick buildings which still stand today in Stillwater - a beautiful town on the St. Croix River.

So there's your Minnesota history lesson for the day!

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