Sunday, December 04, 2011

Ho-ho-hoing It Up at the Prez. Hall Wreath Pageant

Mark Gabrielle did not organize the Wreath Pageant this year, but he could not help himself yesterday morning, joining in with final touches around Preservation Hall. Above, he clips a name tag off “Wrack Line Occupied,” by Melody Thibideau, my personal favorite. The wreath featured sea glass, lures and seaweed from a Wellfleet beach. I was able to admire “Never Bagless” on the opposite wall. The selection was displayed with love and dedication. Here’s the main organizer for 2011, Tracy Plaut, in hat, with Christmas elves Victoria Pecoraro, Kathleen Baker, and Kim Shkapich, who helped prepare bean soup and hot chocolate in the Prez. Hall kitchen.

For 2012, crafters used imagination, creativity, and lots of ornaments. Everything from garlic to seashells and candy canes decorated the 60 wreaths on display, both upstairs and down. There were even two small wreaths, fashioned by Janet Ferro from “Fabrics Recycled from Prez. Hall Clothing Swap.” I missed contributions from regulars Marike Hall and Sharyn Lindsay, but it was fun to see work by first-timers Katie Reed and Josaiah Mayo, for instance, local raw-food power couple. They offered up “Growing Peace,” a large wreath featuring ornament seed cards. (Wreaths can be purchased today, too, and next week, starting Wednesday.)

I love the way crafters name their creations. This touch makes our pageant all the more special. “Christmas Fruit Salad” by Carol Ubriaco charmed Marla Rice. Tracy Plaut’s marshmallow masterpiece was entitled simply, “Mello.” Yup, a wreath made of marshmallows. How clever!

Nearby, one of the more unusual items for sale, a circular “Happy Holidays” wreath by artist Robert Rindler, drew a number of onlookers. “Isn’t it fabulous?” Gigi Ledkovsky asked Jim Lotti.

I stopped in front of
“Climpt, Adele Block Baur in her Tutu" by Pietra Bono to ponder its meaning. This was one wreath Sven would have to explain to me later. Pietra is a local jeweler. I got the reference to Gustav Klimt but did not remember Adele Bloch-Bauer, whose famous portrait sold in 2006 for $135 million dollars. Pietra's wreath went beyond Christmas, I decided. Here was a piece of modern art that could be displayed all year long.

New for 2011, no auction. Prices ranged from $20 to $75. A few of the wreaths had already been sold and removed by 11 o’clock, which seemed a shame, but more arrived all afternoon. I bet a number of Wellfleetians planned their visit to coincide with the traditional end-of-the-day rush to bid on a favorite. I did miss the auction, which added an element of excitement to the event, but could easily appreciate the work involved, the reason it was discontinued. As I resumed my tour, I met up again with Mark, who was clipping the tag off “Seashore” by Joe Fiorello. “Joe makes the most gorgeous stuff,” Mark said. Also gorgeous, "Black and White," by Sky Freyss-Cole, bathed here in the glow of morning.

Meanwhile, behind us, the gingerbread house contest had begun. There were five houses and two categories. One entry had intricate almond slivers as a shingled roof.

“I like the small one. And, the detail on this piece is impeccable,” said Kathleen Baker, one of the judges. Check out the complexity of the winning entry in Adults, Barb Taylor’s Early 1800s Lower Cape, Cape Cod House “Did you see?” Tracy asked me later. “There’s even poop by the doghouse.”

In the children’s category, Lili Hay’s “Ice Village," below, took first prize. Here's Lili with her mom, Tracey Harmon Hay. Tracey shrieked with delight when the organizers called to say Lili's entry had won.

The gingerbread house contest was new this year. I trust more bakers will be inspired in 2012 to submit entries. The more, the merrier, don't you think?

An older gentleman rounded the display with a walker, looking to buy gingerbread. He was told to take the elevator downstairs, where tables were laden with Christmas treats. Before joining him, I checked out Joan Platt’s “Holly Wreath” wall quilt, which was to be auctioned off. Joan also contributed her traditional pine cone wreath. (If any of you have tried to make one, you know it's not easy to get all the pieces to fit together flawlessly.) In the basement bean soup and hot chocolate awaited us. It was also possible to take home Christmas cookies.

A colorful sign welcomed revelers. “Thank you for supporting Wellfleet Preservation Hall,” I read out loud. “Our first Christmas in this beautiful building.”

In my opinion, it’s going to be a merry one.