Off the beaten path and nestled on the shores of where Pepper Creek and the Mobjack meet, Larry and Rosalie Brown have built a flourishing farm out of hard work and dreams. Their white farmhouse rises from the marsh to greet you with all of the charm and humility only found in times gone by. The farmhouse was built around 1895 by one of the Armisteads, a group of brothers who built each other’s homes. It then changed hands to the parents of Paul Blanock, former Commonwealth Attorney, and in 1980 was purchased by the Browns.
A romance story of the truest kind, Larry was serving in the Air Force, stationed in England, when he met Rosalie, a children’s nanny. The two soon fell in love and he whisked her away to the United States, settling in Gloucester and later relocating to Mathews. Rosalie had always dreamed of living on a farm, “Growing up in England, I’d always wanted to be a children’s nanny or a farmer, and I was a children’s nanny for a number of years. When we came here, I just knew I was going to get sheep. My father and mother were alive at that time, dad went with me to get sheep and that just started it.” Having been exposed to the processes of spinning, knitting and weaving in her childhood, the progression to raising sheep for the production of wool was a natural one. For Larry, growing up in Hampton and a self-proclaimed “gear head”, the farm life offered a chance for him to return to his roots, as farming ran in both sides of his family lineage.
From a small dream, blossomed Bentwaters Farm and the promise of a simpler life. The Browns soon evolved from raising Dorset and Hampshire sheep, which are mainly used for meat, to raising sheep for the production of fine wool and wool products, which are handmade and dyed onsite. Over the years, their farm has expanded to include Dwarf Nigerian goats, English Angora rabbits, a bevy of chickens, Guinea hens, quail, a llama and bees.
Their love for their craft is evident, not only in the way they speak about what they do, but also in their passion to pass on their trade, both having taught in one capacity or another. Rosalie teaches a number of classes from dying to felting at The Bay School Community Arts Center, in Mathews and Rosalie and Larry have both done educational presentations at a number of historical sites in Williamsburg in addition to the programming conducted by Colonial Williamsburg.
The Browns have a deep and abiding love and respect for their animals that is apparent when wandering the property. When Rosalie walks among the goats and sheep, she calls each one by name and stops to visit with them for a while, often stopping to play with the young kids.
Bentwaters Farm is a member of the Middle Peninsula Artisan Trail and is open to visitors seeking to experience the hands on process of wool production. For more information or to visit Bentwaters Farm for yourself, visit their website: http://bentwatersfarm.webs.com:
With the 2016-17 school year in full swing, the Bay School Outreach Programs have hit their stride. We've adjusted the scheduling of some classes and added an additional Outreach Instructor in order to best serve our community.
The Bay School proudly welcomes Steph Brown back to our Outreach Program team! Steph has worked with the Bay School for years, offering classes to adults in a variety of media in addition to running our Free Weeks of Art throughout the summer. Steph will be taking over our YMCA Program, half of the programming at The Active Lifestyles Center and half at The Mathews Riverside Convalescent Center. Creativity and compassion flow freely when Steph is teaching and she makes a wonderful addition to the team!
Virginia Coyle is continuing with her programs at Mathews Riverside Convalescent Center, The Puller Center, The Active Lifestyles Center, Kingston Parish and Head Start.
In addition to her duties as Outreach Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, has taken on the role of Gallery Coordinator for The Art Speaks Gallery at The Bay School. She will continue to teach many of our ongoing Outreach Programs (Laurel Shelter in Gloucester, Brambles Day Support, THMS Special Education, LJES Special Education, Coastal Christian Homeschool Co-Op, SAIL Program at THMS, Teen Open Studio, OpenArts After School) in addition to developing some of our newest programs this year.
We truly do our best to meet the creative needs of all members within our community. If you feel that there are additional ways that we can provide support within Mathews or Gloucester, please do not hesitate to let us know. We love hearing how we can support and enrich the lives of those in our area.
For additional information on our Outreach Programs, questions or suggestions, call or email Saraya Cheney, Outreach Coordinator: email@example.com.
This week the Bay School has come alive with the amazing creativity of kids and teens from our local communities. Our Free Weeks of Art are in full swing and the attendees have been diving right in, exploring the world of myth & legend! Mermaids, dragons, Medusa masks and loads of Pandora’s Boxes line the shelves of the classrooms, adding splashes of color and touches of whimsy to the atmosphere. All of the work created in our Free Week of Art is eligible to be displayed in our Kids Art Show coming up in August, from the 12th-20th. Any kids or teens who wish to have their work in the gallery during that time can either leave their work at The Bay School or bring their work in from August 4th-6th. Along with works from the Free Weeks of Art, we are encouraging those who currently attend, or who have attended, any of our Outreach Programs to participate, as well any children who have taken a class at the Bay School in the last year. The show is one of The Bay School’s proudest moments as we celebrate the imaginations of our community’s budding artists.
Joining in on the creativity this week is the Virginia Cooperative Extension Mathews 4-H Program. Gallery and Outreach Coordinator, Saraya Cheney, has been joined by 30 Cloverbud Campers who are all incredibly excited to create works of art based on the theme of “water”. The campers have enjoyed learning about watercolors, making sea creature windsocks, exploring the deep with submarine silhouettes and creating ocean themed sculptures from clay.
Though these past few weeks have been packed with activity within The Bay School walls, plenty of art has been taking place in other locations around Mathews and Gloucester. Many of our Outreach Programs are still inspiring members of the community with Bay School Teaching Artists visiting the Mathews Active Lifestyles Center, Riverside Convalescent Center in Mathews, The Mathews Boys and Girls Club, The Brambles Day Support Center and The Laurel Shelter. Each of these programs provide an artistic respite from the summer heat and a way to connect with the creativity within so many members of the local community.
The Bay School not only provides a place for art enthusiasts to learn new techniques, but it also goes out into the Mathews/Gloucester communities to teach art enrichment programs to those who may not otherwise have the opportunity to explore the arts. The second week each month, we’ll give you a peek into the many educational programs that are powered by grants and other generous donors.
Every Wednesday, from 3-5pm, the Bay School joins forces with the Mathews Family YMCA to teach the OpenArts After School Program. This special arts session introduces students to a different artist/technique each month and provides a much needed, “art break” for the students that attend. Led by Saraya Cheney, Bay School Outreach Coordinator, and Virginia Coyle, Bay School Teaching Artist, the students are welcome to explore, make messes and create something beautiful. In past months, the student artists have explored the works of Vincent Van Gogh, George Rodrigue and most recently Roy Lichtenstein. This program has been generously funded by the Richard and Caroline T. Gwathmey Memorial Trust, making it open, and free, to the general public. Elementary, middle, and home school students here in Mathews are welcome to join the YMCA campers in this art adventure!
For more information about this or any of our other outreach programs, please contact us directly via phone or email – 804-725-1278 firstname.lastname@example.org.