Cranbrook celebrates women and art with new tour

By: Tiffany Esshaki | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published March 6, 2013

 Mary Chase Perry Stratton, founder of Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, created a custom tile pattern at the Cranbrook House in the early 1900s.

Mary Chase Perry Stratton, founder of Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, created a custom tile pattern at the Cranbrook House in the early 1900s.

Photo courtesy of the Cranbrook Archives

BLOOMFIELD HILLS — On March 14, the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary will host the second of its four new winter/springtime tours with a session that focuses on the Booth home and its role in promoting women in the arts. 

According to Cranbrook House Docent and Archivist Robbie Terman, the theme for the tour is in recognition of the fact that March is Women’s History Month. The event will show guests the role of women through the Cranbrook House, from art pieces to beautiful tile work by Rookwood Pottery and Detroit’s famed Pewabic Pottery.

“March is Women’s History Month. It’s not something we focus on a lot, but there’s a lot of female artists here … maybe because of the time the house was built,” said Terman, noting that much of the house’s décor was put together on the cusp of the women’s suffrage movement. “I’ll be talking about ceramic artists, textile artists, silversmiths — I wanted to give them some credit. I think they’re due.”

Unlike with most tours guests can take throughout the summer months, participants will get a peek at the home’s second floor, including Ellen Booth’s bedroom suite, which is rarely seen by the public.

Another feature of the tour will be the backsplash of the home’s Rainbow Fountain, which was completed by none other than Mary Chase Perry Stratton, the founder of Pewabic Pottery. Pewabic celebrates its 110th anniversary this year.

The tour will begin at 11 a.m., with a boxed lunch to be served at 12:15 p.m. During lunch, docents will be seated at each table to discuss details of the home and artwork with tourists.

Judy Lindstrom, chair of the Cranbrook House and Gardens Auxiliary Board, said that, as with each of the other off-season tours, guests will leave with a special favor to commemorate the experience. More importantly, though, she said participants will get the chance to celebrate women’s history in a unique and intimate way.

“A lot of the artists we’re featuring, if you think about it, didn’t get to vote until 1920. These women went on to be successful in business, the arts. … In a sense, we’re celebrating women in the arts, but also women in general. They were Renaissance women in their own right.”

Tickets for the Women in Art tour are $30 per person and are limited to 32 guests. Reservations are required. For more information, visit housegardens.cran or call (248) 645-3149.

The Cranbrook House and Gardens are located at 380 Lone Pine Road in Bloomfield Hills.