Hurricane Irene in Colrain MA

August 31, 2011

We just regained our electricity, which had been out since Sunday morning, so now I can post a description of my experience. After a night of constant rain, I awoke to a roar, which was the little creek that runs down the side of our property and its tributaries. Later that morning my children and I went outside in our raincoats and boots (all of which were soaking wet within 10 minutes). We walked only a little way along our road because of large puddles and some damage and word of a downed electric line. We walked in the fields across the road and then checked in with our neighbors in both directions.

The small river that is the south boundary of our property, a little farther away, was a huge, churning grey mass of water moving fast and loudly. There were channels that hadn’t been there before. We walked into the field between our house and the river. Looking back at the road, a sheer cliff of dirt had been created at the edge of the road, covered by a 10-foot-wide waterfall. This waterfall was from a brook that was usually a small trickle. Looking down the river, we saw that the old barn in our neighbors’ field was being undercut by the river as it gouged a wider path through the bank. We turned to go back to the house, when I heard a thunder-like sound. I turned around to see the wing of the barn closest to the river fall into the river and be swept away.

This is the view of the barn taken during a previous autumn.

The Entire Barn, Photo by Joe Kurland

It was originally attached to a house that was severely damaged in the hurricane of 1938 and was removed before I lived here. It looked like a building that had been built section by section over a period of time. You can see how the river glides sedately some distance from the barn. It is a normal New England stream full of rocks and bordered by fields and woods. We enjoy wading in it in the summer.

This is a picture of it after the first wing fell off and after the river continued to undermine it until the mid-section collapsed as well. You can see how the water cut out a much larger space on the left. I have enjoyed having this barn as part of our landscape and am sad to see this damage.

The Barn After Irene, Photo by Joe Kurland

There are places closer to the center of town where our road is compromised or closed; fortunately, there is a way around the closed area. A small bridge is simply disconnected on one end. A trip to Shelburne Falls today took about twice the usual time. We saw the Deerfield River way below flood stage, but the Salmon Falls were a huge torrent. Here’s a view of the river at its peak—

It is humbling to witness such a storm.

Gifts of Meaning for Teachers

May 3, 2011

Teacher gift postcdA-2

I’ve been busy packing orders for teacher’s gifts from the mailing of this postcard to Hebrew schools. If you’d like one sent to your school or synagogue, send me the address. The items are on my website, on this page:

Acorn People Found

January 25, 2011

When my son was in the hospital as an infant, I walked every day past a very large acrylic display box showing a winter scene filled with 3-4″ acorn people enjoying a snowy winter day. They each had hand-knit clothing with a signature beret of an acorn-top. They were sledding on leaves, skiing, walking, clearly having a good time.

I just found a website with a book created by Nancy Dickinson, the artist, showing more of her acorn people in many scenes of daily life. The amazing attention to detail, the attitudes of the figures, the props around them are beautifully crafted.

Have a look at them!

Full-color Invitation Designs

January 12, 2011

I’m enjoying creating full-color invitations that are moderately-priced. One of the printers I use now offers full-color digital printing on two sides of a card, and my customers are making good use of this option. This is a new design I created using a watercolor illustration of a tallis. If you’re looking for invitations, look at my website to see examples of ones I’ve created. Then contact me to talk over your ideas.

Click on the link to Peggy H. Davis Calligraphy in the right margin.

Lunch box/Bento box–Found!

January 12, 2011

My sister gave me a stainless steel bento box when my son was young. I think she got it in Taiwan when she was studying T’ai Chi there. A bento box is a single container or one divided into sections for carrying a meal, used in Japan and other countries. When he started preschool, it was used daily for his lunches. That pleased me, as I was always searching for non-plastic alternatives for food containers. Later, with two children, I looked for another one. I found other parents with similar concerns who had started websites about healthy lunches and containers ( I found out that the term bento box is used as a metaphor as well, for something with varied content, and more. However, no one had these stainless steel boxes.

In the meantime I did find reusable sandwich bags by SnackTaxi ( in the Linden Hills food co-op in Minneapolis, where I used to shop when I lived in an apartment near Lake Harriet. To my surprise, I found that the creators of these easy-to-clean bags are in the Pioneer Valley of Massachusetts, not far from where I live now. We bought some, and they are useful. But I was still looking for those stainless steel boxes.

Fourteen years later, I walked into Green Fields Market, our local cooperative grocery store, and there on the shelf was not only a very similar box, but it came with a smaller container as well (!) I felt like telling everyone around me how exciting this was, but I only let it bubble over a little when I got to the cashier. She smiled.

Lunch containers

Crafts of Colrain Studio Tour

November 11, 2010

We’re busy preparing for the annual Crafts of Colrain Studio Tour this weekend. Read about the tour and the artists at:

I have new calligraphy work, original pieces and prints, Joe has some new photographs, and I’ve been making a small but eclectic collection of jewelry as well. One new piece is the Irish saying that begins, “May the road rise to meet you…” made in memory of Sean O’Connell of Colrain.

We are instituting a new event this year, since we usually aren’t open on Shabbes (the Sabbath), only on Sunday. This year we are offering a new event, a Preview Benefit for Temple Israel on Saturday evening, 7-10 p.m., after the end of Shabbes. A portion of all sales from this evening will be donated to Temple Israel.
Join us for art, refreshments and good company for an enjoyable evening.

Crafts of Colrain Summer Fair

June 24, 2010

Peggy H. Davis Calligraphy will be showing and selling work along with other Crafts of Colrain artists at this Summer Fair. It’s a great chance for an outing that combines art with local fruits and vegetables. The farmstand sells prepared food as well.

I will offer this collaborative work, Vegetable Seasonings, made with Audrey Arner, at the Summer Fair, combining the art and vegetables that will be for sale that weekend! Giclée print, framed, $50.

Recognition Awards

April 7, 2010

I designed a series of recognition awards with English and Hebrew texts for Denise Hametz, of Adir Gallery. Theses are ordered by congregations and organizations to honor volunteers, officers, donors and others with a meaningful gift. Shown here is one of the awards, which is personalized with text added on either side of the tree trunk. Contact Denise for more information, (732) 572-6393.


Giclée print of watercolor & gouache original

International Calligraphy Conference

February 26, 2010

This year’s internat’l calligraphy conference, Odyssey 2010, will be held in Easton Massachusetts this summer. I’ll be teaching a class in Hebrew/Yiddish calligraphy. I will teach the basic elements of Hebrew letters that I learned from Ismar David, and we will also create alphabet styles inspired by Yiddish book titles, etc. from the first part of the 20th century. Students of Hebrew letters at any level are welcome to this class. I just received the catalogue in the mail, full of enticing classes taught by an array of inspiring teachers.

Here’s the website:

Sand and Stars Invitation

February 14, 2010

Vayishlakh invitation set

This is an invitation created for the parsha “Vayishlakh,” when Jacob is promised that his descendants will be as numerous as the sands of the sea. The design includes that verse, the sand and the sea, and, referring to the earlier promise to Avraham, that his descendants will be uncountable like the stars in the sky, the invitation was printed on a paper impressed with gold foil stars. The invitation was adhered to a glistening brass-colored paper and hand-cut to reveal the Hebrew verse at the top and the star shape at the bottom.

My new style of adding an illustration to the respond card envelope is shown here.

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