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Whimsical Illustration Features Iconic West Hartford Landmarks

Cutting board featuring West Hartford design by Julia Gash. Courtesy image

The Noah Webster House has introduced a variety of products featuring a hand-drawn ‘West Hartford, Connecticut’ design by Julia Gash.

West Hartford coasters featuring design by Julia Gash. Courtesy image

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford has joined the likes of London, Paris, Bangkok, and New York by having its iconic landmarks depicted in a hand-drawn illustration by artist Julia Gash, and the design now appears on a variety of products being offered for sale online through the museum shop at the Noah Webster House & West Hartford Historical Society.

Executive Director Jennifer DiCola Matos and Curator Sheila Daley were brainstorming innovative ways to make up for income lost resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Field trips by school groups, which have been canceled since March 2020, typically provide a large share of the nonprofit’s revenue.

In late November, the museum commissioned Gash to create a whimsical cityscape, which captures unique landmarks and includes nods to neighborhoods throughout town, ranging from Conard and Hall high schools to Town Hall, Westmoor Park, the MDC Reservoir, and Conny – the whale at the Children’s Museum.

“With everyone shopping online this year, we wanted to bring the museum shop online and expand the types of things that were available to include items that are unique to West Hartford and couldn’t be found anywhere else,” DiCola Matos said. “When we were presented with the opportunity to collaborate with Julia Gash, we jumped at the chance. And we’re so glad we did! We’re very pleased with the design.”

Gash, a British artist and creative entrepreneur who is passionate about art and travel, creates hand-drawn illustrations celebrating cities around the world that are made into stylish art prints and sustainable souvenirs. According to her website, she has created more than 1,000 works of art that describe the world through her playful and honest vision, with West Hartford now among her creations.

Some of the merchandise has already been produced, and is available just in time for holiday gifts. Orders must be placed online (click here), but the following items are currently in stock and if ordered online by Wednesday (Dec. 23) at noon, will be delivered to West Hartford addresses by museum staff either that afternoon or evening, or on Dec. 24:

  • Magnets (3 inch square, $4)
  • Postcards ($1.50)
  • Prints (11 inches by 14 inches, packed with foam core backer, $15)
  • Coaster sets (4-pack of wood coasters with cork back, 3 3/4-inch square, $25)
  • Mouse pads (neoprene, 7 3/4 inches by 9 1/4 inches, $10)
  • Cutting boards (glass, 11 1/4 inches by 15 3/8 inches, $30)

“The online shop is a work in progress, but we wanted to offer the convenience of online shopping as soon as possible,” DiCola Matos said. “We’ll be working to improve the online shopping experience in the coming months.”

Additional Julia Gash merchandise is also available and will be in stock in the museum shop in early 2021, including t-shirts, tote bags, journals, water bottles, and tea towels.

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Tote bag featuring West Hartford design by Julia Gash. Courtesy image

T-shirt featuring West Hartford design by Julia Gash. Courtesy image

Journal featuring West Hartford design by Julia Gash. Courtesy image

Tea towels featuring West Hartford design by Julia Gash. Courtesy image

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