Each winter Essex residents celebrate the holidays early during a weekend-long event called Christmas in Essex. It was this tradition which connected me to Mary Wade, a folk artist who lives in Willsboro but runs a seasonal gallery in Essex each summer. She creates painted wooden models, silhouettes and paintings of historic buildings in Essex that are collected by her fans all around the world. (Rosslyn Redux)
If you haven’t been down to Mary Wade’s new shop yet, this gloomy afternoon is all the incentive you should need. This summer Wade relocated her Essex folk art boutique into the old motel with plenty of assistance from her nephew who helped clean up and renovate the charming space.
Chase away the gray day blues with Wade’s bright, upbeat renderings of familiar Essex buildings and scenes. For over twenty years she’s designed, fabricated and painted the charming cutouts and three dimensional models during the winter months and sold them to Essex residents and visitors during the summer months. Her Essex folk art boutique is open most days from about 10:00 in the morning until 4:00 or 5:00 in the evening depending on how busy she is.
I think what I like most about doing the Essex buildings is seeing the people enjoy my work and find it worth collecting. Most all the buildings are popular, especially the churches and the Main Street. (Mary Wade)
Born in Port Kent, Wade’s family moved to Essex when she was two years old. Her grandfather, James Wallace Mock, as well as her father and uncle owned and operated the local ferry service.
Captain “Wally” owned and operated four sailing schooners. They were the Schooner Adirondack, Montgomery, Nancy and the Nelson W. Fisk which sank in a storm. (HaroldMock.com)
You can read more about the history of Captain Wally Mock and his Lake Champlain vessels on Mary Wade’s brother’s website. Or better yet, you can swing by Wade’s Essex folk art boutique and ask her to tell you about her grandfather. She’s an inspired storyteller! And while you’re there, I suggest you take a look at her uplifting folk art. She even accepts special orders, so bring in a photograph of your house or tell her your 911 numbers and she’ll create a conversation piece for your family.