Scratching the Surface

We got all kitted up, washed our faces, and brushed our I-mostly-work-from-home hair last night to attend the opening of the Melissa Averinos solo art exhibit at the Centerville Historical Museum. It was a glorious summer evening (too warm to wear my new shawl from the V&A, alas), a warm summer night on Cape Cod (who doesn’t love that?), and tons and tons of people came out to see Melissa’s more than 50 new pieces of stunning new work.

Seriously: A Glorious. Summer. Evening.

Centerville Historical Museum and Blue Sky

Centerville Historical Museum

I had never been to the Centerville Historical Museum before, and I must say, I was damn pleased to make its acquaintance! Not only did it have the supremely impeccable taste to host my deer fiend Melissa’s solo art show, but it also holds a surprising number of period treasures that make a 19th-century lass such as myself go all pink in the cheeks.

Melissa Averinos - Scratching the Surface

Another added benefit was that the opening brought out a ton of our semi-hermit friends — we all work either partly or entirely from home, live miles away from each other, and some of us are just reclusive by nature — so it was great to see some of my favorite people again.

The lovely ladies

Left to right, that’s Cindy Caughey, Stacey Hedman (AKA Cold Nose Photo), Jess Melgey (AKA, and Melissa Averinos (AKA Yummy Goods).

There were a lot of people hugging Melissa and making her laugh, which I honestly think is a very fine and noble pursuit.

Melissa laughs

Blurry but awesome

That’s me in the middle, flanked by Melissa on my right and the truly delightful Jim Hill on my left. Jim is a crazy-talented illustrator and writer and I always get ridiculously flustered around him. I’ve known him for years, and I think I must have had a long-ago-suppressed crush on him as a teenager or something, because I just act like such a dork around him every single time.

Oh well. At least I didn’t introduce him by a completely wrong name, as I did to TWO other people that night. Sorry Chuck! Your new name is Dave.

Sigh. For somebody so entranced by the social niceties of a bygone era, I can be wildly socially inept.

Just around the corner from the exhibit room, I peered out and was greeted by a room filled with 19th-century memorabilia and ephemera from the Ayling family, who endowed this museum and helped frame its focus.

Hooked Rug

There was a display of amazing Victorian valentines, mostly of the #OMGPaperCutting variety:

Vintage Paper Art Valentine

Vintage Paper Art Valentine

Lacey Vintage Valentines

Mostly, but not all:

Steampunk Valentine

…a secretary over to the side that was filled with vintage perfume bottles and accessories, including one rather naughty entry:

Risque Perfume Bottle

You could tell that the place had a well-developed sense of humor about itself, which is refreshing in a period-room type of museum:

Old Spice

Queen Victoria Portrait

…and Mr. Ayling himself presided over it all. (That’s him below, silly, not above… psh! You’re silly!)

Charles Lincoln Ayling

One corner, as I said, was dedicated to household and personal items from the family in its 19th century heyday.

Kid silk wedding shoes:

Kid Silk Bridal Shoes

“Very old” hand-embroidered suspenders:

Embroidered Supenders

Heavily starched collars and cuffs:

Stiff Collars

Such an endless display of delights. *Sigh*

Oh, but wait, you probably want to see the exhibit, huh? I don’t blame you — it’s gorgeous. If you can make it in person, it runs through July 18, 2010. If you’re from far away, consider making the trip anyway. Seriously — it’s summer on Cape Cod. What else have you got going on that’s more important than that?

If you can’t, or if you just like watching my silly little videos set to period drama music, here you go:

6 Thoughts.

  1. Thank you So much Beth! I loved seeing the Museum, the Valentines, the boobie lady, but mostly Melissa’s work.
    Your friendship with Melissa reminds me of Anne Shirley and Dianna Berry. Bosom Friends. Kindred Spirits. The two of you make me smile!

  2. I’m looking forward to viewing the exhibit. Sorry to have missed the opening but was visiting the Tetons in Wy. . The Museum is truly a special place and I hope others will take the opportunity to see all that is offered there. THanks for sharing your thoughts, enthusiasm and beautiful pictures.

  3. Belatedly, Beth, your insights and personal impressions of the Averinos Exhibit and our Museum were absolutely awesome. I was pleased to read them here on the website and hope others will be enticed to visit the exhibit and the other special treasures at the Museum.

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