My Father, Kenneth Hopkins, was a museum director and one of the first people to be involved in historic building preservation and restoration back East in the 1950s. This family interest eventually led me to apprentice with him for two years at the Ezra Meeker Mansion in Puyallup, Washington, restoring Victorian era plaster ceilings, friezes and walls, both hand-painted and stenciled. I learned to patch plaster, match paint, stencil high ceilings on ladders and scaffolding, and came to understand my Father’s most important piece of advice: “Your eyes are at the mercy of your ignorance.” Because we had no historic written or photographic documentation to guide us, we had to look very hard and objectively at what we saw painted on walls and ceilings and record exactly what we saw. My Father also insisted I learn everything I could about the Victorian Era as a context for understanding why the Meeker Mansion had been decorated the way it was around 1890.
Sara “Sally” Hopkins, IDAL’s newest Certified Master Stenciler of Wood, completed an amazingly detailed art history/painting project for her CMS-Wood application.
Sally is from Olympia, WA and holds a BFA in
Graphic Design from the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon. Sally
now resides in Portland with her husband Dr. Robert Keeler, an
archaeologist and college professor.
Here is some of her story:
Two years ago I passed my CMS on Walls by restoring the ceiling and frieze in the Carriage Entrance at the Meeker Mansion. I now have completed my Master Stenciler Certification on Wood with a project on stenciled Western Rawhide Seat Chairs; a fairly rare and over-looked product of the Nineteenth Century American Frontier. The Aurora Colony Historical Museum in Aurora, Oregon allowed me to use five chairs from their collection for my CMS on Wood project and they have asked me to give a talk about my work at their annual membership meeting this winter, as well as developing an exhibit on the project in one of their galleries. I completed hours of research and recreated many of the stencil designs found on the wooden back slats of these antiques. I wish to thank them for their generosity and assistance.