Inside Pleasant Hill's Shaker Village
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
Imprint: The University Press of Kentucky
Sales Date: 02/06/2024
Although there are currently only a handful of members of the Shaker faith and one active community in the world today, Shakerism at its peak comprised thousands of members living in communal villages across the eastern United States. Kentucky's iconic Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill was one of these communities, and it remains an enduring cultural touchstone. The history of the Shakers is often reduced to the handmade objects they produced and sold, but their lives were so much more than their material culture. Their efforts were suffused with their religious beliefs: each piece's sturdy simplicity memorializes the Believers' devotion to God and how it guided their every action.
Shaker Made is photographer Carol Peachee's love letter to the cultural artifacts—the architecture, furniture, and crafts—of one of America's most influential utopian societies. Peachee has photographed Pleasant Hill for more than four decades—from small items such as eyeglasses, embroidered handkerchiefs, elixir bottles, and bonnets, to the distinguished furniture and architecture of the more than 260 buildings that the Shakers built at Pleasant Hill. The curator of collections at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill, Rebecca Soules, provides an informative foreword to the photos, while Peachee herself offers a lovingly written introduction explaining her personal connection to the subject. The attention to detail in the simple yet beautifully composed photographs evokes the "spirit of the maker" and serves as an elegant and respectful tribute to the history and legacy of the Pleasant Hill Shakers—an often-misunderstood people who sought to honor the divine in all aspects of life.
Foreword, by Rebecca Soules
Carol Peachee's Shaker Made provides an important glimpse into the material culture of one of America's most influential utopian societies. Rather than a simple "inventory" of objects, Peachee's powerful black and white photos invoke the "spirit of the maker." The people behind the objects—their faith, their labor, their lives—become just as important as the objects themselves.~Billy Rankin, Vice President of Public Programming & Marketing, Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill
Photographer Carol Peachee captures Pleasant Hill objects and architecture in a most creative and effective way. The exceptional legacy of Shaker craftsmanship in Kentucky has been well-documented in her work over the past thirty years and University Press of Kentucky preserves it well in this volume.~Tommy Hines, Executive Director, South Union Shaker Village
The silence and stillness in this precisely documented material life of a Kentucky Shaker community is stunning as it ranges from landscape to jumbles of wooden wall pegs and carefully wrought metal keys. Insightful comments by the collections curator and the photographer introduce the black and white images which, in a quiet and meditative way, invite the viewer and the visitor to marvel at the vibrancy which once enlivened this enduring repository of faith and radical belief.~Jane F. Crosthwaite, author of Shaker Visions of the Divine: Essays on Their Sacred Art and Scripture
The Shakers' understanding of the Millennium undergirded the belief that their communities were 'heaven on earth' and that faithful industry could be reflected in material objects. Shaker landscapes, past and present, are vibrant tapestries manifesting Shaker spirituality and conviction. Carol Peachee's gorgeous images of Kentucky's Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill capture the reified beauty of the Shakers' lives of sacred devotion.~Carol Medlicott and Christian Goodwillie, authors of This Chosen Pleasant Hill: Shakers of the Kentucky Bluegrass