Village Blog | Nature's Art Village

1650 Hartford-New London Turnpike, Montville, CT 06370


Nature's Art Village & The Dinosaur Place: 860-443-4367
The PAST & The Gateway Museum:860-437-3615


Selenite – Mineral MondayNovember 21, 2016

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Selenite – Mineral Monday

selenite-2aToday’s Mineral Monday from The Shops at Nature’s Art Village is selenite! Selenite, a variety of gypsum, is an extremely common mineral which forms by evaporation of saturated water solution creating long and thin or flat blade-like crystals. It is a very soft mineral often found in volcanic hot springs or mud. The most famous location for selenite is the “Cave of the Crystals” in Mexico, containing senile crystals over 5 feet long! Trace elements within gypsum cause color variations; but selenite frequently forms clear crystals. Sometimes sand causes grainy inclusions within selenite, known as sand selenite. Selenite crystal formations may produce radiating flower shapes or ‘roses’, referred to as “desert rose” (image on left of page), or clear diamond shapes or twin crystals forming together but at slightly different angles. Selenite has many uses including making plaster, fertilizer, alabaster and even some explosives!

desert-rose-selenite-11848Metaphysically, selenite is said to provide clarity of mind, aid judgment, and expand awareness. It has been used to treat disorders and deformities of bones as well as epilepsy. Visit The Shops at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of selenite specimens and mineral displays!

Metaphysical and healing properties of crystals and minerals are not to be taken as fact. Metaphysical and healing information is collected from various resources as well as gemstone lore, and the information should not replace any advice given to you by your doctor. Nature’s Art Village does not guarantee any claims or statements, both made in our store or on our website, of the metaphysical or healing properties of crystals and minerals and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Mosasaur – Fossil FridayNovember 18, 2016

fossil-friday-link-adMosasaur Fossils

Mosasaur Jaw 3 - Fossil Friday - ShopsToday’s Fossil Friday looks at the jaw of a fierce aquatic predator; the mosasaur! The name mosasaur is from the Latin word “Mosa”, meaning “Meuse River” in the Netherlands where the creature’s first remains were discovered around 1780. “Saur” or “Saurus” is Greek for the word “lizard”, giving mosasaur the title “Lizard of the Meuse River”. With a name ending in “saur”, many mistakenly consider mosasaur to be a dinosaur; but instead, this beast was a sea-dwelling reptile. Mosasaurs lived during the late Cretaceous Period, 96-66 million years ago. Mosasaur fossils have been found all over the world in regions once covered by large lakes, seas and even oceans.

mosasaur-jaw-aSpanning between 10 and 45 feet long, mosasaurs had double-hinged jaws and flexible skulls, which enabled them to devour their prey whole. What was this prey? Mosasaurs ate nearly everything in their marine habitats including seabirds, ammonites, fish and even marine dinosaurs and reptiles. It’s believed that the bite of a mosasaur had at least as much force as that of a Tyrannosaurus Rex! Interestingly, mosasaurs, unlike modern reptiles, reproduced through live birth instead of laying eggs. This was revealed due to a recent discovery of two baby mosasaur skeletons within the belly region of another. Mosasaurs went extinct during the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous Period.

The Shops at Nature’s Art Village has a large selection of mosasaur teeth and jaw bone fossils; to view our full selection stop into Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville.

Check back next week for another Fossil Friday.

 

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Erector Sets – 1913erector-set-2

This week’s Throwback Thursday takes us back to the early 1900’s when toy construction sets were first being introduced to the market. The first American toy construction set was the Erector Set, invented in 1913. Following Erector Sets, Tinkertoys were released in 1914 and Lincoln Logs were created in 1916. Erector Sets, although invented first, were not immediately popular and initially lagged behind Tinkertoys in sales. Tinkertoys were a hit from the start thanks to an impressive advertising campaign targeting families during Christmas. In 1916, to compete with Tinkertoys, the A.C. Gilbert Company, creators of Erector Sets, hired workers to build 20 foot long expansion bridges using Erector Sets that stretched over the cash registers at leading department stores in New York City, such as Macy’s and Gimbel’s. This ad campaign was a great success and Erector Sets became the country’s most popular construction toy.

Alfred Carlton Gilbert invented Erector Sets after watching workmen use steel girders during construction. A construction set using nuts and bolts named Meccano had been manufactured in England around the turn of the century; so the idea of creating toys based on construction was nothing new. The Erector Set was different from the Meccano Set because the pieces had the ability to create a model, then be taken apart and reused in a different model. Erector Sets were also the first construction toys with gears and an electric motor. The 1916 No. 4 Erector Set came with 401 parts and could make 276 different models.

erector-sets-1A.C. Gilbert went on to create more elaborate sets including sets that could create a crane, 6 foot towers, a circus, working Ferris Wheels and much more. One of the first national ad campaigns by a toy company was for Erector Sets, with the slogans: “Hello boys, make lots of toys” and “Boys today, men tomorrow”. The sets, originally marketed to boys, became equally popular among girls and even became popular among adults. A.C. Gilbert was dedicated to making educational toys until his death in 1961. His Erector Sets taught valuable spatial and engineering skills. The Erector Set was the bestselling construction toy for decades.

Vintage Erector Sets, especially the rarer and larger sets, have become highly sought after collectibles. These toys make excellent gifts for children to play with or for adults to reminisce in the nostalgia of simpler times. Erector Sets, Tinkertoys, Lincoln Logs and more vintage toys are available for purchase at The Past Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village. Visit The PAST Antiques on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles.

Check back next week for another Throwback Thursday!

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“Onion skins”, “Clearies” and “Clouds” are all types of marbles.

marblesAround the turn of the 20th century, in Akron, Ohio, the M.F. Christensen & Son Company, a massive toy manufacturer, began creating the first mass-produced marbles. The founder, Martin F. Christensen, invented the first ball bearing machine in 1899, and in 1905 he patented the first machine to make marbles. Over the next few decades, Akron, Ohio would go on to be known as the birthplace of the modern toy industry and by 1929 over 120 toy companies were manufacturing in the Akron area and 32 of them were producing marbles.

Modern glass marbles with the colorful inserts were first invented in 1846 in Lausch, Germany; these marbles were handmade. An artisan would gather a single lump, or lobe, of heated glass and shape it while adding colored bands of glass inserted into the lobe. When finished, the artisan would clip the spherical marble off from its glass stem. This process would leave a “pontil mark” where the glass marble was broken away from the stem piece. A pontil mark, a small rough spot, is one way to identify older handmade marbles from machine-made marbles.

marblesMarbles have been made of many materials including clay, stone, ceramic, agate, porcelain, steel, ivory and actual marble. Each variety of marble has a nickname. “Clearies” are clear marbles; “clouds” are opaque, “onion skins”  refer to marbles with small shards of colored glass within them wrapping around and looking like the skin of a peeling onion. “Onion skins” are also called “end of day” marbles as they were often created by using the leftover glass scraps at the end of the day. Marbles are also classified by the materials used to make them: “Swirls” include beautiful spirals of color, “Steely’s” are steel ball bearings, “Aggies” are made of agate and so on, with well over 30 types of marble styles.

The game of marbles is the most popular game in United States history and is still the most popular game played worldwide. Marbles are collected for art, game play as well as the incredible sense of childhood nostalgia they provide. The Past Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village has a wide variety of antique and vintage marbles available for purchase. With a huge selection of prices, colors, sizes and materials, your unique marble collection is just waiting to begin! Visit The PAST Antiques on Route 85 in Montville, CT to see our full selection of antique and vintage collectibles.

Check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday!

 

Carnelian – Mineral MondayNovember 14, 2016

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Carnelian – Mineral Monday

carnelian-bracelet-necklace-aThis week’s Mineral Monday from The Shops at Nature’s Art Village is carnelian, a reddish-brown to orange color variant of chalcedony. Carnelian is found in Africa, Brazil, India & Uruguay and is a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs’ hardness scale, making it a relatively hard stone. Carnelian’s name is from the Latin word meaning flesh, a reference to its fleshy color. Ancient Egyptians, who used carnelian often in jewelry and art, referred to carnelian as “a sunset within a stone”. The amazing colors of carnelian, from beige to vibrant oranges, reds and even yellow, hold this description to be impressively accurate.

carnelian-beads-aMetaphysically, carnelian is said to bring happiness and hope to those who encounter it. Due to its fiery reds and oranges, some believe carnelian can help improve passion and love between two individuals. It is also said to reduce depression and feelings of loneliness, as well as, protect against envy, fear and rage. Visit The Shops at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of carnelian beads, jewelry, minerals samples and giftware!

Metaphysical and healing properties of crystals and minerals are not to be taken as fact. Metaphysical and healing information is collected from various resources as well as gemstone lore, and the information should not replace any advice given to you by your doctor. Nature’s Art Village does not guarantee any claims or statements, both made in our store or on our website, of the metaphysical or healing properties of crystals and minerals and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Emerald – Mineral MondayNovember 07, 2016

Emerald

Emerald

Today’s Mineral Monday in The Shops at Nature’s Art Village is the birthstone of May; its emerald! Emerald is the deep green variety of the mineral beryl; the same mineral that when sea-green is the ever-popular aquamarine. It is actually chromium impurities within the beryl that create the deep green color of emeralds. Therefore, it is not surprising that the name emerald comes from the Greek word “smaragdos” meaning “green stone”.

Emerald is one of the hardest gemstones with a Mohs’ Hardness Scale rating of nearly 8; diamond, the hardest natural mineral, is a 10. Emeralds have always been very rare and valuable. In fact, only a third of all emeralds mined are gemstone quality and able to be used in jewelry. Nearly all have some inclusion or minor flaw. As a result, “perfect” emeralds have been made synthetically by man since before 1850. Today, emerald is the state gemstone of North Carolina where many deposits have been found.

The history of emeralds date back to the Ancient Egyptians, where it is said to be the favorite stone of Cleopatra. The Romans believed emeralds could improve poor eyesight and Emperor Nero is said to have worn glasses made of the stone. Emeralds were also cherished in the Western Hemisphere by the Incas & Aztecs. The Aztecs believed emeralds aided in judgement and presented Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez a cherished stone called the “Stone of Judgement” in the 16th century.

Metaphysically, emeralds are said to provide domestic bliss, enhance memory, incite activity, eliminate negativity and bring beneficial results to legal matters. Emeralds have also been said to assist with love, sensitivity and loyalty.

Emerald 1The Shops at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut have a variety of emeralds including natural, polished and synthesized emeralds and emerald jewelry! Visit Nature’s Art Village to see our full selection of minerals and gemstone jewelry.

Check back next week for another Mineral Monday and Click Here to see previous Mineral Monday posts!

Metaphysical and healing properties of crystals and minerals are not to be taken as fact. Metaphysical and healing information is collected from various resources as well as gemstone lore, and the information should not replace any advice given to you by your doctor. Nature’s Art Village does not guarantee any claims or statements, both made in our store or on our website, of the metaphysical or healing properties of crystals and minerals and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

Carroting – Trivia TuesdayNovember 01, 2016

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“Carroting” was the process of creating soft, smooth felt from fur during hat making.

felt-hat-1The process called carroting was first practiced in France during the 17th century. French milliners (hat makers) kept the process a secret until the mid-18th century when it spread to England and eventually became common practice around the world. The technique called for adding a mixture containing mercury nitrate during the matting process of making felt. This mercury mixture was a carrot orange color, hence the name carroting. It was found that adding mercury nitrate sped up the development of felt and smoothed the fur to produce a softer felt.

Unfortunately, – as you may have guessed – the side-effects of working with high levels of mercury are severe. Mercury is a highly toxic chemical and long exposure to the substance can cause mercury poisoning.  Often called “Mad Hatter’s Disease”, milliners who used mercury would suffer from tremors, muscular disorders and even dementia. The phrase “mad as a hatter” came from this disease. France and England both began using alternatives to mercury by the 1900’s; however, mercury was used in hat making industry in the United States until 1941.

felt-hat-2During the height of the millinery industry in the United States, Danbury, Connecticut was known as “The Hat City” and was often considered the hat making capital of the world.  Danbury produced over 5 million hats from 56 different factories during its heyday.

Fur felt hats are mainly made from the fur of rabbits and beavers as well as sheep’s wool. Felt hats were shaped on wooden molds and, after drying, the final additions and linings were attached. These hats were made in a variety of shapes and sizes. The Gateway Museum at Nature’s Art Village has antique felt hats on display and the many vendors at The Past Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village have antique and vintage hats for purchase. To see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles visit The PAST Antiques on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut.

Check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday!

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Kyanite – Mineral MondayOctober 31, 2016

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Kyanite

rough-kyanite-display-aThis week’s Mineral Monday is kyanite, a beautiful blue stone, which is also the November 2016 Gem of the Month! As the Gem of the Month, kyanite will be on sale throughout November in all six shops at Nature’s Art Village. For more information on our Gem of the Month promotion please click here!

Kyanite is a beautiful aluminum silicate found in a wide array of colors including blue, green, orange, white, black and indigo. It is found almost exclusively in metamorphic rocks.  Kyanite has blade-like crystals from a triclinic crystal system that can be dark and gem quality or more feather-like. These bladed crystals may grow up to a foot long! Sometimes it forms clear crystals, but these are rare – more often it is blue or black in color. Kyanite is also known as cyanite, disthene, and rhaeticite. It’s used in high temperature porcelain products such as spark plugs, electrical insulators, and acid resistant products. Kyanite is found around the world including in the United States, Brazil, South Africa, Switzerland, Myanmar, Kenya and Mexico.

kyanite-rings-aMetaphysically, the energy of kyanite is said to be unlimited in application, making it one of the very best attunement stones. It helps in recollecting and interpreting dreams. Kyanite also facilitates meditation with a calming effect. The energy of kyanite is said to be accessible, gentle and balanced.

Visit The Shops at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of kyanite jewelry, rough and polished minerals, beads and more.

Check back next week for a new Mineral Monday!

green-kyanite-beads-aMetaphysical and healing properties of crystals and minerals are not to be taken as fact. Metaphysical and healing information is collected from various resources as well as gemstone lore, and the information should not replace any advice given to you by your doctor. Nature’s Art Village does not guarantee any claims or statements, both made in our store or on our website, of the metaphysical or healing properties of crystals and minerals and cannot be held liable under any circumstances.

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Fenton Glass Company – 1907

Throwback Thursday takes us to the Ohio River Valley which was a mecca for glass factories in the 1800’s. The area was rich in silica sand and supplies of natural gas and coal. The Fenton Brothers, Frank and John, bought an old glass factory in 1905 and began painting old glass blanks from other glass makers. The next year the brothers split up and John opened his own company in Ohio. Frank moved to Williamstown, West Virginia and began production for the new Fenton Glass Company in 1907. Frank designed the glass and hired Jacob Rosenthal, a famous chemist, to develop colors for his new line.

fenton-glass-1-aFenton has earned a reputation for fine crafted glassware as each piece is crafted by hand. This sets Fenton’s quality apart from other antique and vintage glassware. Generations of the Fenton family have designed and produced glassware including vases, perfume bottles, figurines, lamps, bowls and other collectibles. Each piece features beautiful motifs and designs imprinted on them. Fenton also manufactured carnival glass and slag glass.

Specific glass colors were only used for a limited time as keeping a uniform color was often difficult. The rarer Fenton colors include deep reds and blues. Certain colors were only available in specific years and today this helps in dating the pieces. Some Fenton Glassware features border colors; these are rare and were difficult to create. The borders were made by adding a strip of color and then reheating and dipping the glass right out of the mold.

In the 1940’s, Fenton produced milk glass available in a large variety of colors. They also began creating hobnail glass in 2 sizes of bumps. In 1970, Fenton hired an artist and began a line of hand painted pieces. They also began marking Fenton Glass with an “F’ trademark. Each hand painted piece is signed by the artist who created it. Dave Fetty was one of the most popular Fenton Glass artists and his work is often referred to as “Fetty Glass” and used a mosaic style.

fenton-glass-2-aFenton Glass ended production in 2012 and the glass is highly sought after among collectors. The wide variety of styles and color choices, and the delicate attention to detail through handcrafting each piece makes Fenton Glassware a beautifully unique gift. The Past Antiques Marketplace at Nature’s Art Village features a large selection of this impressive glassware with a  wide range of prices, colors and styles for sale. Visit The PAST Antiques Marketplace on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see our full selection of antiques and vintage collectibles.

Check back next week for another Throwback Thursday!

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A lexicographer compiles information to produce dictionaries.

The name Webster is world renown for developing Webster’s Dictionary; however, few know who the original Webster was. Noah Webster was born in West Hartford, Connecticut in 1758 and became a prestigious teacher and lexicographer. While teaching he realized a need for a book that contained the American versions of the English words carried over from England. Webster was 70 when he published the American Dictionary of the English Language that defined 65,000 words. In 1841, the then 82 year old Webster released a revised and expanded version. This is the version that went on to be a foundation for future American dictionaries.

the-century-dictionary-and-cyclopediaIn 1847, a Scottish company, W.G. Blackie and Co., produced an expanded version of Webster’s Dictionary titled The Imperial Dictionary of the English Language. This dictionary was later expanded by Charles Annandale in London in 1882 and then an American version was produced in 1883 by The Century Company of New York. The Century Company went on to produce newer and larger variations of the Imperial Dictionary under the title The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia.

print-shop-2The Century Dictionary was admired for the craftsmanship of its design the quality of the entries, illustrations, typography and heavy durable binding. It has been used as an information source for the makers of later dictionaries, such as the Oxford English Dictionary. The Gateway Museum at Nature’s Art Village features the 1914 edition of The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia in the The Gateway Gazette Exhibit. This edition is a compilation of the 11 previous volumes and was the final edition produced by The Century Company. Visit The Gateway Museum at Nature’s Art Village on Route 85 in Montville, Connecticut to see this massive dictionary and many more antique innovations that defined America throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Check back next week for another Trivia Tuesday!