Shaker art - Barbara Ernst Prey (b. 1957), 
Barbara Ernst Prey (b. 1957), "Red Cloak Blue Bucket," 2019, watercolor and drybrush on paper, 28 x 40 in.

The New Britain Museum of American Art (NBMAA, Connecticut) is presenting the exhibition “Handled with Care: Shaker Master Crafts and the Art of Barbara Prey” through October 6, 2024.

It has been 250 years since the United Society of Believers, more commonly called Shakers, arrived in America from England. They made by hand most of what they needed — tools, baskets, tubs, cleaning and measuring devices — and sold many more of those items to the outside world.

A leading repository of their creations is Hancock Shaker Village (Pittsfield, Massachusetts), which in 2018 invited the artist Barbara Ernst Prey to create 10 large watercolors of anything on its property that engaged her attention. She has loaned six of the resulting works to NBMAA’s show, which also features items from Pittsfield that all have handles and have survived in good condition. These have been selected by curator M. Stephen Miller.

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