Yesterday my husband took me on a surprise road trip adventure. I knew we were going on an adventure, but I didn’t know where.
Imagine my excitement when we pulled up to this:
A museum that looks like a castle! The inside was even more amazing than I can describe or you can imagine if you haven’t seen it! This is Mercer Museum.
Made of concrete, seven floors stuffed full of one man’s collection. The middle is what you see here that goes all the way up all of the floors with everything imaginable hanging all the way down. Whaling boats, buggies, Conestoga wagon, bicycles, etc., etc. You go up the stairs and there are all kinds of little niches and alcoves housing all his collections.
After that we traveled to the castle that this unmarried and childless man lived in! Fonthill Castle.
Photography was not allowed inside (which just kills the photographer in me), but I can tell you that you cannot even imagine it.
Henry Chapman Mercer is the visionary and artist behind both of these castles. While building Fonthill (his home) he purposefully designed it as a museum knowing it would someday be one. Mercer is the founder of the nearby Moravian Pottery and Tile Works and made and sold his tiles during the Arts and Crafts period. Here’s an example of his tiles from the Mercer Museum:
His home is filled with examples of his tile work, as well as artifacts he collected from all over the world. The most impressive pottery in his collection were pieces that were more than 4,000 years old.
The castle is all concrete and surrounds — get this — a farmhouse. He did not want to tear down the historic farmhouse to put up his castle, so he enclosed it inside.
After our tour of Fonthill, we visited the gift shop and I looked around for a small tile that I could transform into a jewelry piece, and then found pendants already made, so I purchased this beautiful pendant. (The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works still produces tiles using Mercer’s original molds and in the same way he did.)
Adventures such as this – getting out of my usual surroundings, going to a new town and having new experiences always leaves me feeling inspired creatively. Even more so on a trip like this to see a visionary’s – an artist’s – realized dreams right in front of you. And seeing somewhat ordinary (although definitely historically significant) items displayed in ways you never imagined such as in the Mercer Museum really helps you to see things in a different way.
So many creative lessons and so much inspiration came out of this trip for me.
But you don’t have to go on a surprise road trip to have this kind of inspiration. You can just try looking at things in different ways. You may not even realize the history, beauty or mystery in your own town. Maybe you never realized some little tiny unique thing because you’re so used to seeing it every day.
This is so important to do to stay creatively inspired.
I encourage you to take your own adventure and see what you find! Click here for a free mini eCourse that will help you plan your adventure, give you jewelry lessons and then a jewelry project as well! Click here to sign up to get started right away.