Monday, 19 April 2010

Stan Hywet Hall and Garden

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Next stop the Stan Hywet Hall. A fabulous place put together by F.A. Seiberling, he being the man who vulcanized rubber and invented the zip and on top of being a rubber baron industrialist, he also had architectural aspirations. Between 1912 and 1915, he and his wife Gertrude, she being of sound sewer manufacturing stock, built their country estate and named it “Stan Hywet” (Old English for stone quarry), the property’s most prominent natural feature. The result of which there are a number of holes in the ground now filled with water and called lagoons containing a variety of fish specimens which you can’t see. The house was modelled on an old English Manor houses updated with early twentieth Century technology like central heating and laundry and ironing machines and kitchens with food processors and vacuum cleaners and of course telephones all hidden way and filled with plundered antiques and fittings all to produce the illusion that it was an 18th Century English House, which of course it was not as it was outside Cleveland Ohio on the Great Lakes.
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The event was sponsored by the Stan Hywet Needlework Guild, hugely gifted ladies who do the most exquisite embroideries for the Hall. We were ably looked after by its President Barbara Shearer who took us off to see the wonderful Collection at Kent University. Jerry Silverman (1910-1984), a lawyer and businessman, and Shannon Rodgers (1911-1996), a designer, were founders and partners in Jerry Silverman, Inc., one of the fashion industry's most successful New York women's ready-to-wear firms of the second half of the 20th century. Privately Rodgers, a native Ohioan, also amassed one of the most important collections of historic, designer and ethnic costume in the United States. In exchange for donating their $5 million collection of costumes and decorative arts to Kent State University in the early 1980s, the University agreed to create the KSU Museum in order to house and provide educational access to the collection and the Shannon Rodgers and Jerry Silverman School of Fashion Design and Merchandising to serve as a centre for fashion design and merchandising education in the mid-west.
And low and behold I learned that my friend J.R. Campbell was now the Director of The Fashion School, and what a wonderful collection it is too, of course Alba was totally sold as they had some Chanel dresses.
The talk was great and well attended in the wonderful music room at Stan Hywet. The acoustics were brilliant, I did not need a mic and I ended up with talking for almost two hours. Such a knowledgeable audience, and I do hope they get to keep the curtains round Gertrude’s bed with beautiful Crewel work which took the ladies six years to do.

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