| Jul 24, 2019

The 12 Annual Arden Artisans Garden Party and Open Studio Event last Saturday in Arden was a homecoming of sorts for Arden Batik’s Sarah Hale.

In May, Hale moved her studio from its Elm Tree Road location to her home, essentially across the street.

“This was the old hotel in Arden and where we’re sitting was the dining room,” she said. “The man who sold it to us took his television and left everything else.

“It was a rural hotel that had been furnished in Eaton’s cheapest in 1914 (when the original hotel burnt down and this one was rebuilt).”

Hale said there were many reasons to move back here, including more and higher wall space for showing her work and access to a full-size studio on a year-round basis.

“The old cafe (on Elm Tree Road) was really only a six-month place and it needed work,” she said. “Now I can have a respectable shop in winter and not have to move things twice a year.

“Not that we get that much walk-in traffic in winter.”

But not the least of her reasoning was the fact that “I get to show off the old hotel, a lot of people are stopping by because they want to see what’s inside.”

And, she gets to tell stories.

“The story is that the town went dry because people got sick of the drunks out there on the porch,” she said.

She said the move also “makes semi-retirement easier and more productive” as she begins doing more and more custom work. Her son Isaac and his partner Sue are fixing up the old shop for use as a “garden shed” Hale said.

The open studio event also showcases the work at Judith Versavel’s Gallery on the Bay, Joanne Picket’s Arden Pottery and Gordon Wright Fine Art.

As well, the Friends of Arden opened up Kennebec Hall for the Blueberry Dessert Tea, a fundraiser for the old footbridge project which had reached 50 per cent of its $15,000 goal going in to the event.

The tea featured a variety of blueberry-based treats as well as the artwork o local artisans John DuChene, James Hanley, Arlene Uens, Carol Burbridge, Daphne & Mike and Aileen Merriam.

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