News & Views
Photo of Sandwich Village by Joe Janis
What is your name and the name of your business?
Anne Metcalf Perkins, Anne Made
How did you get to Sandwich, NH?
I am one of the fortunate who was born in Sandwich. I have always known how special that is. My mother’s parents had a camp on Winnepesaukee and they decided to settle in Sandwich at the end of World War II. Lester Lear was from Gallipolis, Ohio. Isadora Schmidt Lear was born in Philadelphia.
My father’s family had a camp on Squam Lake. At the age of 20, my father, Lance Metcalf, decided to settle in Sandwich, after leaving the Marine Corps at the end of the war. My parents met in Sandwich, probably at a Town Hall square-dance. After my mother, Nancy Lear, attended UNH for a year, they were married at Saint Andrews in Tamworth.
Tell us about your work. What do you make, do, or offer as a service?
I am a textile craftsman and have made and sold everything from bed quilts and wallhangings to Christmas ornaments and dolls. Currently I’m working with cashmere and making fingerless gloves.
What got you started in this work?
My grandparents were both craftsmen. My grandmother, Isadora Lear, did crewel embroidery and was a weaver. My grandfather, Lester A. Lear, was a silversmith and did enameling on copper. My uncle, Peter C. Lear, was a silversmith. I was surrounded by talented textile people as a child, and l was encouraged from a very young age to work with textiles.
Grandad studied silversmithing in London, England with Robert Stone, a member of the London Silversmith’s Guild while helping to set up Stars and Stripes, the military news magazine. When he came to Sandwich he studied with Karl Drerup and learned enameling. He sold both his work in silver and enameling at the Sandwich Home Industries.
Grammy's parents lived in Mt Vernon, NY when she was growing up. Her father, Louis Schmidt worked as a medical illustrator, and later as a photographer for illustrations for medical books at the Rockefeller Institute located in Rockefeller center. He also did illuminated manuscripts and produced skilled etchings.
Isadora Studied embroidery at the Royal School of needlework when they were living in London. She and Lester were both juried members of the NH League of Arts and crafts. When spending winters in Mexico both Isadora and Lester studied painting at the Art Institute of San Miguel d’Allende. Isadora taught herself how to do embroidery left handed so she could teach her left handed granddaughter the skills.
Neither of my parents were full-time craftsmen. My mother, Nancy Lear Metcalf, was a skilled tailor and an accomplished knitter. My father, Winslow Harris Metcalf ( known as Lance) was a skilled welder, blacksmith, carpenter and mechanic. He designed many labor saving devices for many different trades in 1950s Sandwich.
Growing up at 12 Main Street gave me endless opportunities to hang out and learn (pester, question) the League craftsmen. (Twelve Main Street was first my grandparent's home when they moved to Sandwich in 1945. They sold the house to my parents, Nancy and Lance, and I lived there until I went to boarding school.) I was within walking distance of the League shop and my grandparent's and my Uncle Peter’s homes during my entire childhood. I took many classes at the League as a child. Classes I took: pottery, silversmithing, drawing and watercolor and whatever was offered. I took classes every year.
When/how did you start your business?
When I was about 10 years old I was a locally-juried maker of potholders and Christmas ornaments sold at the Sandwich Home Industries. I’ve never stopped making things. I attended an arts-oriented boarding school, Wykeham Rise in Washington, Connecticut, and the Nantucket School of Needlery on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.
I went to junior college for a year and I went to nursing school at Hartford Hospital and worked as a nurse for three years. Living away from Sandwich from 1964 until 1971 made me so homesick I got a pass to Old Sturbridge Village to remind of home within driving distance. I ran a bookstore in Conway and worked for Jan Burnell cooking and baking food which was delivered to Sandwich town folk by her husband. Many people remember Jan who worked as a chef for Jane and Don at the Corner House.
For many years starting in 1981 I sold my work at the Corner House Inn when it was owned by Jane and Don Brown. Representatives from Better Homes and Gardens saw my work at the Corner House and invited me to design and produce kits for a variety of needlework techniques. I worked as a Better Homes designer for four years while remaining in Sandwich.
What is the most fun/satisfying aspect of your work?
I love the creation of designs, the problem solving in pattern making and color choices. I am never bored. I found it challenging and rewarding to use a sewing machine. I pretty much invented what I was doing so nobody had seen it before.
What is the hardest?
Working at home as a craftsman was a challenge at a time when it was not considered to be work by many. The local banks didn’t recognize craft work as employment so it was almost impossible to get a bank loan. There were a lot of interruptions because I lived in the village and people expected hospitality whether it was a convenient time or not. I was a parent and was trying to keep four employees busy. It is different now. I have more flexibility. My child is an adult. I have no employees. I have earned credibility.
How has this last Covid year affected your work?
Other than not attending markets or fairs, not at all. My work keeps well and I found retail outlets elsewhere.
What are your goals and hopes for the future?
To keep up my standards, abilities and eyesight as long as possible.
What else can you tell us about yourself and your life in Sandwich?
There were many craftsmen who settled here in the fifties, sixties and seventies, and I remember some wonderful collaborations.
Bob Wright and Lance Metcalf created metal sculptures from found objects. Peter Lear collaborated with a local potter to make lamps. The INN wallhanging was a collaboration between Elli Ford, artist, Don Brown, artist, Anne Perkins and Judi Dunlap quilters.
Many craftsmen collaborated on a friendship quilt for Daphne Alcock Frentress who lived in Australia for a number of years, including, Louisa Miner, Nancy Metcalf, Anne Perkins, Ellie Dow, Helen Bryant, Bunny Michael, Louise Page, Robing Dustin, Bunty Walsh, Shirley Burns, Dot Harding.
I want to thank Jane and Don Brown, Mark Duffield, Nick Floyd, Crosby and George Bonsall, Betsy Switzer, Denny Taylor, Ferne Tilton, Betsy Leiper, Bruce Montgomery, Catherine Hope, Nancy Papp at Mocha Rising and the League of Arts and Crafts for encouraging my craft business. I want to thank my employees, Judi Dunlap, Elli Ford, Betty Alcock, Priscilla Grant, and John Perkins. My Daughter Ellen Perkins collaborated on a lot of designs with me and was an employee for a long time.
My current work is available for purchase at Willow Pond Antiques & Goods, 22 Main Street, Center Sandwich.
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