December 12, 2019

30 Artists Answer Chester Historical Society Square Challenge

Sophy Johnston and Max Hotkowski, both of Chester, are combining their resourceful and creative talents to enter the Chester Historical Society's Square Roots challenge. Above, they preview the early stages of their indoor/outdoor hanging sculpture, utilizing square aluminum knitting gauges made by the Bates Company in 1950 in Chester (photo courtesy of Skip Hubbard).

In 1950 the C.J. Bates & Son manufacturing company in Chester produced 2-inch-square aluminum pink and green knitting gauges. This spring the Chester Historical Society has challenged area artists, sculptors, photographers, engineers, jewelers, and all others with a creative mind to create finished pieces of art with a few of those squares.

More than 30 people accepted the challenge. All of their creations will be on display and sold through silent auction when the Historical Society hosts a Square Roots Champagne Reception on Saturday, May 19, at the Chester Meetinghouse.

Skip Hubbard, president of the Chester Historical Society, said, “In 2004 we staged a similar challenge, the very popular Brooks for Hooks event, using hooks and screw eyes manufactured by M.S. Brooks & Sons.  It was fascinating to see the variety of work created from those hooks and screw eyes.”

“Eight years later, we still hear comments about the Brooks for Hooks challenge,” said Sosse Baker, co-chairman of the event.  “This challenge has the same potential and should be equally exciting for everyone, from the creators to those attending the reception.”

Besides the silent auction, the champagne reception will feature hors oeuvres from local restaurants and kitchens.  It will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets for the evening are $25 and can be purchased at Chester Gallery and Ceramica in Chester Center.

All the proceeds from the event will benefit the Chester Historical Society and its programs, including Chester Museum at The Mill.  More information is available on the Historical Society website,

Using a knitted piece as a foundation, Anna Sweeney created a framed series of 25 squares and rectangles (can you count them?) as her entry in the Square Roots Artist Exhibit and Silent Auction hosted by the Chester Historical Society (photo courtesy of Skip Hubbard).