Susan Mareneck


Mixed Media


1996, 20x16, Handmade paper, casein paint, Dickinson Pike artifacts on yellow pine clapboards

The imagery recalls a place that generations of Daniel & Tirzah Graves’ family built and called home for over 100 years.  In the early years it was an inn on the Lancaster stage coach route from Boston to Albany. In the late 19th century the Graves’ sold it to John & Anna (Marvel) Dickinson.  Daniel Graves’ family migrated from Southbridge after the Revolutionary War, which he fought in at age 14.  With the Maj. Richard Montagues they founded the North Leverett Baptist Society.  He was a blacksmith and his sons followed in the metal trades, manufacturing scythe blades and snathes (to attach handles), pails, hoes and other important agricultural implements in the 19th century.  The stoneworks (a 20’ high 100’ long levee to create a mill pond to power a trip hammer are among the still existing artifacts along the Sawmill River across the field from the house.  In the late 1960’s John Anderson and I bought the house from the Town of Leverett paying the back taxes of Harold Gardner, known locally as “Psyche” who had become a hermit after his wife Mabel Strong died in the 1950’s.  A picture of my grandmother, mother, me and daughter Alpha from the early 1970’s are mixed with paper made from local grasses, imagery from Tirzah’s Graves’ headstone in Jackson Hill Cemetery, early Leverett maps, wallpaper from early renovations and pieces of China, glassware, etc.. from many families’ dinner tables over 200 years.