The world is full of inspiration; just take the time to look. Nature offers an endless supply of inspiration but so do your local art museums. My goal this year to be inspired at least once a month with a visit to at least one of our local art museums: Nelson Art Gallery(http://www.nelson-atkins.org/), the Kemper Museum of Modern Art (http://www.kemperart.org/home.asp) or National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (http://toyandminiaturemuseum.org/). Then there is always 1st Fridays in the Art district, but the weather has to be nice for this…I am a fair-weather art lover. Then in May, our outdoor art shows begin and they are always fun to attend…just to people watch.
But this winter I have been doing the museums…
The Nelson Art Gallery had a special exhibit of the Plains Indians from Sept 2014-Jan 2015; if it comes to a gallery close to you be sure and go see it. What struck me most about this exhibit was the detail of design…and then it dawned on me…How did these people store all those beads and porcupine quilts they were using to make whatever bag, robe, dress, fan, envelope, cradle board, ceremonial pipe, etc.?
I have a room full of stuff that I can’t live without to use for my needlepoint and I don’t have to move it as the weather changes. Plains Indians followed the buffalo; it was their source of living. I can’t imagine being pregnant, making a cradleboard and having Mike say to me, ” Today we are moving. Pack up the beads, your stitching, take down the tepee, move and I’ll see you in a couple weeks down south.” I would have not survived as a Plains Indian! Pack up the needlework and move to where…I can barely change rooms with my needlework. Those Indian women were more organized than I’ll ever be and they had the patience of Job to do all that beadwork. I was impressed.
This week-end Mike and I ventured out to the Nelson Art Gallery again; another exhibit at the gallery are pieces from the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures (http://toyandminiaturemuseum.org/) on loan from our National Museum of Toys and Miniatures that is being rehabbed. The new museum is supposed to open early this year, cannot wait to see the changes and improvements. Many of the miniatures are replicas of works in the permanent collection of The Nelson Art Gallery. My favorite piece was the sewing casket; 1 1/8 inch tall. My picture does not do it justice but I was trying to show the size in relationship to my index finger. The picture from the brochure is better but larger than actual size, but you can see all the details included.
I always thought I would like to make a sewing casket , but if I ever get around to it, it will not be a miniature nor will it have the details of the sewing caskets I have seen in other places. Don’t hold your breath; it is not on my “to-do” list, just my “If I run out of things to stitch…I might consider doing this” list. And the comment you can see on the picture from the brochure says it all: “One work can take months, even years, to complete.” Mine would take the rest of my life and that’s if I started today. So this is one thing on my bucket list that probably won’t get completed in any size.
My other favorite piece was the teapot. The miniature is a 7/16 inch replica of a 1765 Earthenware teapot 5 1/2 inches from England (part of the Nelson Art Gallery permanent collection). My picture with my little finger for size does nothing but I am showing you the picture from the brochure too; you can see the comparison better than the picture I took.
For all of you who do not know, our own Sharon Garmize (http://www.sharong.com/) stitched many of the miniature rugs that will hopefully be on display when the National Museum of Toys and Miniatures re-opens. I’m not sure if she stitched other pieces or not.
The art Gallery also had this piece on display. Dusasa I by El Anatsui is a large piece that is made of found aluminum and copper. Many of the pieces looked like labels and bottle tops that were flattened and then stitched together with copper wire to make a cloth like sculpture. It was hung high on the wall so it draped and protruded in different areas. It was quite striking, and as you walked past it the shadows and light changes made for interesting textural changes.
But my favorite sculpture at the Nelson Art Gallery is Fall of the Rebel Angels. It is a 10 3/4 v 6 inch Italian ivory. When I was a young girl this piece was shown in a display where it was at the back (about 24 inches back from the glass) and you could not see the detail. Today it is shown up close and you can see it from all sides.