Pacific NW Fiberarts Museum pt.2

Suspension Bridge Variation
Suspension Bridge Variation

This post follows the first post on the museum and focuses on a few quilts from the museum’s permanent collection.

I really like this Suspension Bridge Variation. The effect of the blocks is gorgeous. The colors are fantastic and the curved border is wonderful. The colors are really great. I love the slightly dull turquoise as a background.

I wonder about making this quilt? I’ll have to add it to the list to think about.

Suspension Bridge Variation- detail
Suspension Bridge Variation- detail

There is a lot of piecing in this quilt. I also notice that the blocks are not really square. Normally, I would expect the spikes to be in separate blocks and make the circle up by setting them together. In the photo, right, you can see that the blue pieces on the outside of the circle are not square. This makes me think that the circles were pieced, then set together with the blue pieces and white pieces between the blocks. LOTS of piecing. I would guess this was hand pieced, but I don’t remember if I looked closely.

It is another quilt by ‘maker unknown’. 🙁 Label your quilts.

Circle Applique' - PNWQFM
Circle Applique’ – PNWQFM

Another interesting quilt I saw was a Circle Applique’ quilt. According to the information, it was made in about 1900, but they think the applique’ may have been done earlier. I really dream about doing applique’, including something like this or a Baltimore Album quilt or one of the fun Piece O’ Cake** designs. As you know, I have done a bit of machine applique’, but it isn’t really something I enjoy on a grand scale. I do love the borders and circles on this. Something about the density of the circles making up the circle applique’ and the borders is really appealing.

Circle Applique' - detail
Circle Applique’ – detail

I will say that the blue wedges in the corners (see above) are strange. The museum says that “unusual and unexplained wedge shapes of blue chambray fabric inserted int he corners of the borders add to this quilt’s interest.”I wonder if a lesser skilled needleperson wanted to add their mark to an amazing quilt they couldn’t hope to make?

The density of the circle of circles makes the blocks look lush and complete. There is no wispiness here. The maker (again unknown – did I say to label your quilts??) really wanted you to see that circle – or she had a lot of little circles and was proud of her skills.

Baskets & Flowers by F. Rieke, 1930
Baskets & Flowers by F. Rieke, 1930

Another quilt that is part of the permanent collection was called Baskets and Flowers by Frances Rieke. It was made in 1930.

The interesting thing about this quilt is that the alternate blocks have a quilted design that mimics the appliqued design. It is like a ghost version of the appliqued blocks.

I also think the quilting in the border is amazing. I love feathered border designs and this one includes a beautiful version. The fabric used was 1930s prints and the information says that each flower head uses a different print. Feedsacks?? No idea.

Baskets & Flowers by F. Rieke, 1930 - detail
Baskets & Flowers by F. Rieke, 1930 – detail

The flowers also include a yo-yo. I am not a huge yo-yo fan, but think they are used to good effect in this quilt. Mostly, I think yo-yo quilts are too delicate, which is why I don’t like them. As embellishments, however, they can be very useful.

I didn’t notice if the fabric in the main part of the flower was different in each block, but they are different in this detail section.

The diamond quilted grid in the background helps the flowers stand out, especially the alternate/quilted only blocks.

Improved 9 Patch, PNWQFM ~1935
Improved 9 Patch, PNWQFM ~1935

There was an improved 9 patch in the museum’s library. I really like that design.

While different, the construction is like my MetroScape quilt. I think this quilt could be made using the same Sew Kind of Wonderful ruler, the Quick Curve Ruler**. The company may even have a pattern, but it will probably be named something different.

In this quilt, the yellow background pieces really make the 9 patches stand out. Also the circles show up really well.

Rosebud Applique' by EE Bryant-Lindeman
Rosebud Applique’ by EE Bryant-Lindeman

Finally, I saw a quilt that appeared to be machine appliqued. Rosebud Applique’ was made by Elise Eleanor Bryant-Lindeman. The quilt was hanging in the main hallway and was one of the first I saw.

The information on the card said that the quilt was probably made from a kit. It was also described as hand appliqued with a blanket stitch. I don’t agree. The density of the stitching looks like a zigzag stitch to me. Also, the blue strips appear to be machine appliqued on to the top of the quilt with a straight stitch. This makes it possible that Elise was proud of her machine and decided to use it. Of course, I am not a museum curator so I could be wrong.

It is interesting to see that most of these fine quilts have been washed. In this quilt, I found the quilting designs to be quite beautiful. In the third picture above, the curved and woven grid design is very appealing. It is echoed in various related designs in the border, first photo, above, which are also quite beautiful. I am thinking about whether these could be done in machine quilting/ longarming.

Unfortunately, the museum had some perfume or some kind of cleaner that was starting to give me a rash, so we rushed through the last exhibit of contemporary quilts and left. All in all, however, I enjoyed the various quilts and looking at different designs.










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Rosie Lee Tompkins Exhibit pt.2

Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit overall
Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit overall

The other day I started writing about my visit to BAMPFA to see the Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit. Today I plan to continue talking about the pieces that I liked.

In the photo, left, you can see how the quilts were arranged. You can also see the older quilts on the left and the newer quilts on the right.

As I mentioned before I preferred the older quilts, which seem to be mostly made from velvet, etc. On the right, you can see the newer quilts. These are mostly made from cotton. They seem to have more meaning, according to the signs, but they lack subtlety and their design elements are less nuanced. The impression I got from looking at those quilts is that Rosie’s supply or source of fabric had changed. Alternatively, someone may have told her that quilts were made from cottons. I don’t know, but I may find out once I read the catalog.

Rosie Lee Tompkins pink velvet
Rosie Lee Tompkins pink velvet

One of the velvet quilts used pink with black, which is a color combination I have not yet explored, though it is on my list.

In this piece, I think it is interesting how Ms. Tompkins used a few different pinks, including a peachy-pink that I would not have used. I am not a peach fan, but the artist uses it to good effect in this piece.

I am interested in the shape of the various pieces and wonder how she worked? Perhaps there will be some photos of her workspace in the book, which I have not yet read. Did she have a dedicated space? Did she work on her lap? I am not disturbed by the shape, I just see it in several of her pieces and wonder if it is the result of her workspace.

Rosie Lee Tompkins 'pinwheels'
Rosie Lee Tompkins ‘pinwheels’

The design of the exhibit was good. While the pieces were in chronological order, I could see that the curators selected pieces that showed a flow of her development. I know that pieces had to be selected from the vast number Rosie Lee Tompkins made.

This green and gold piece was between the emerald piece I showed in the previous post and the pink and black quilt above. There were others with more triangles, but something about this one caught my eye.

Rosie Lee Tompkins more 'pinwheels'
Rosie Lee Tompkins more ‘pinwheels’

She showed a variety of blue and black quilts as well, which were also favorites. I looked at this one for a long time and like the subtle shading of the black and grey. I couldn’t decide if the fabrics were the same, but turned or brushed so the nap showed up differently and made the pattern or if the fabrics were different, but very close. She used bits of turquoise in various pieces and that was appealing. I like the purple and turquoise together.

This exhibit is well worth a visit.


Rosie Lee Tompkins Exhibit

Entryway BAMPFA
Entryway BAMPFA

I actually went to a museum the other day. I am fully vaccinated, wore a mask, stayed away from people and the place was almost empty. This trip contained a lot of firsts: first time in a museum in over a year, first trip across the Bay Bridge in over a year, first time in a car with a friend, first time wearing a mask for 5 hours or more (health care workers: I salute you!). Milestone day!

I went with my friend from CQFA, Nancy. Nancy is much more in tune with what is going on in local arts than I am and let me know that the Rosie Lee Tompkins exhibit was on for in person viewing. She got us tickets and I drove us over.

I used to live next door to BAMPFA, but hadn’t been there in years. The space is gorgeous. The entrance is made human by the mural you see when you walk in (above). The mural is part of an auditorium/amphitheater (??)/performance space. The walls of the museum are tall and white, so the mural grounds visitors as they come in – at least it did for me.

Rosie Lee Tompkins Exhibit entrance
Rosie Lee Tompkins Exhibit entrance

We went straight into the exhibit, which was on the ground floor near the entrance. There is not a lot of information about the quilts and most of them are untitled. I love to hear about inspiration, so this was disappointing, but not surprising. I don’t think people think about the making of their quilts as much as I do. In writing this, I realize that I think a lot more about placement of individual pieces and don’t write each of those comments down.

The brief description of the show says, in part, “…And while most of the Tompkins’s textiles are referred to as ‘quilts,’ this term technically only refers to works comprising pieced tops, insulating material, and backing that have been sewed together – a process she rarely undertook herself, instead leaving this finish work to other local quilters.” I love this, especially the last part, because it means that my quilts could someday end up in a museum!!

Rosie Lee Tompkins 'Lines' quilt
Rosie Lee Tompkins ‘Lines’ quilt

My two favorite quilts were from her older quilts. They were mostly made of velvet, crushed velvet and velveteen (I don’t really know if these are the same).

One of the things I like about this piece is the not so obvious improv piecing. Current improv piecing comes across as contrived to me sometimes, though you know I am not a huge fan. This piece looks like it was designed so that the pieces lean to the left. I am not sure I could make a piece with so much movement using improv techniques. This piece does not scream improv to me. It looks like Ms. Tompkins designed it that way. The color and sheen, which do not come through very well in the photo really add to the success of this quilt.

Rosie Lee Tompkins Emerald Velvet
Rosie Lee Tompkins Emerald Velvet

My second favorite is a piece that is jewel-like in its success. The various greens show up with some contrast in the photo. In real life the darker greens are much more subtle in their shading. This makes the chartreuse line of squares in the center-left stand out. Even though those four squares are the only green of that color, the design element seems to work. There are a couple of places where four squares show up and perhaps that is the reason. Again, the color and sheen really add to the success of this quilt.

Look for part 2 of my thoughts about this exhibit soon.


Burning Man pt.2

Burning Man Temple - detail
Burning Man Temple – detail

The other thing I saw at the Burning Man exhibit was the the temple. Apparently, they burn it down. Along with the Man, this is a symbol of letting things go or not being attached to things.

The wood was not finished and it looked like balsa wood, but was much heavier. The wood looked like slightly better quality than plywood, but I don’t know what it was. I also couldn’t find a plaque that would tell me.

There was an amazing amount of detail.

Burning Man temple: eye shape
Burning Man temple: eye shape

My favorite shape was the eye shape. I could see how I could piece it and the variety of fabrics would make that shape part of a unique quilt.

Burning Man

Burning Man Dragon Vehicle
Burning Man Dragon Vehicle

No, I am not going to Burning Man. I did visit an exhibit of their costumes, vehicles and ephemera at the Oakland Museum of California with my sorority alumna group last week. I was really fascinated by the vehicles and the costumes. I also learned a lot about Burning Man, the organization, in general.

It was hard to get close enough to the costumes to see what they were made of. It did make me want to construct an elaborate Halloween costume.

Burning Man Dragon Vehicle - detail
Burning Man Dragon Vehicle – detail

Mostly, I took a photo of the dragon because I thought the YM would like it (he did!). I looked closer, however and found that it was made of common household metals – like muffin pans and cake tins. I couldn’t help but think of a group of mothers getting together and building this thing. It looks very fierce from afar, but close up I saw a message of home and kitchen, a place in which to take refuge.

Theater vehicle
Theater vehicle

Another vehicle looked like an old fashioned theater. I wasn’t tall enough to really see inside. I, also, couldn’t get close enough to see if they were showing movies, but I loved the plush seating, the flocked wallpaper and the aura of one of the grand old theaters.

Big Wheel
Big Wheel

Finally, I couldn’t help thinking of one of those old bikes with the huge front wheel when I saw the last vehicle.

It also made me think of a Big Wheel. I couldn’t tell if one person could drive it or if three people would need to work together to drive it.

There were others, of course. I didn’t take pictures of everything there. It is an interesting exhibit and well worth the time to visit.

Supporting Young Artists

SF View towards Coit Tower
SF View towards Coit Tower

A few months ago, a college friend contacted me and told me her daughter was coming to San Francisco to attend a summer art program. We made plans to see each other while she was in town and I offered to be emergency mom, should the need arise. Wouldn’t you like to go to school at a place with that view?

Identity by Jillian Taylor
Identity by Jillian Taylor

A few weeks (or a month?) later, I got another call inviting me to the young artist’s reception. I drove over with my BIL to view the art. The art was very interesting. Some good, some not to my taste. My friend’s daughter’s art was very appealing to me, though it wasn’t all sweetness and light as I usually like.

Her work has a mystical quality that invites the viewer to come closer. I told her about my attempt to reward viewers with surprises if they come close to my quilts and she said she does something similar.

Jillian’s work is definitely worth walking up closer and looking at carefully.

Visions of a City by Jillian Taylor
Visions of a City by Jillian Taylor

The students were given assignments and one was about buildings. I forget the basics of the assignment, but I thought her interpretation was fun and interesting.

She talked to us about wishing the cat that ran away was still in the picture when she took the photo and then delighted in describing how she realized she could add a cat even if it wasn’t in her reference image. I was delighted as well! Sometimes we feel we have to stick to the truth when doing realistic work and that just isn’t true.

Strings by Jillian Taylor
Strings by Jillian Taylor

The students explored all media, including sculpture. I haven’t really ever done much sculpture. I was fascinated with the airy, flying/breaking out of the wall quality of the Strings piece.

As you know, I am fascinated by 3D in quiltmaking. You have seen some of my bags, right? And the textured cube? Jillian’s piece is a whole different thing that I don’t think I could ever achieve with fabric and thread. I suppose something like this wouldn’t be the same with fabric in and thread.

Obviously, there were other works by other students as well. I looked at some of them and enjoyed them as well. I love the 3D aspect of the white vase. I don’t mean the vase itself, but the flowers and vines.

Hellish and Full of Heartache
Hellish and Full of Heartache

The first piece the young artist did when she arrived was a directed painting. The professor told them what to paint and they interpreted the directions in their own way. This painting started off with three triangles.

There is a lot going on in this painting. One thing I thought was interesting was that I could not see the three triangles. They were pointed out to me, so they are still part of the painting (an aspect of the assignment?), but I couldn’t tell you where they are now.

Finally, Jillian had an installation piece. I have to admit that I didn’t understand it very well, but it had that same mystical quality that some of her other work had. Her mom was pretty distressed when it was taken down – all the work had to be removed so it could be shipped home.

Diego Rivera mural at SF Art Institute
Diego Rivera mural at SF Art Institute

The San Francisco Art Institute not only has a great view, but it also has a Diego Rivera fresco. The information said that it was painted in 1931 and was a gift of William Lewis Gerstle when he was president of the SF Art Association. There are other works by Rivera at City College of San Francisco.

This exhibit was outside of my normal daily ramblings. It was good to get out and see something different. I encourage you to do something similar.

Super Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A long time ago one of my quilts won a ribbon at the Marin Needlearts Guild show. That is probably the best prize I have ever gotten. I feel like that prize came from a real quilt show and the quilt did deserve to win.

Still winning at the San Mateo County Fair is pretty great, too. I did win at the Fair. I entered 3 items: two quilts and a pillow. I did not expect the quilts to win, because the ‘made by one/pro quilted’ category is really impacted. I did expect to win with the pillow based on SIL2’s analysis of the best categories to enter to get a prize.

Aqua-Red Sampler with prize
Aqua-Red Sampler with prize

First, the Aqua-Red Sampler Quilt got First place. As you know, I made these blocks in one of my sampler quilt classes. I am pretty pleased that this won. The two color scheme has an impact. Also, Colleen did spectacular quilting and the quilting shows. Definitely click on the image so you can see the detail of the quilting. I am really happy that the judges were able to appreciate this quilt. I think it looks a little modern, but I didn’t dare enter it in that category.

Under the Sea Embellished pillow
Under the Sea Embellished pillow

Second, despite reports to the contrary Under the Sea did win a prize. It won Third Place, which is fine. I am pleased that it won at all, because it was so much work and took so many years to finish. I could have gone on stitching, but this category gave me a deadline and finishing this piece got one more hand project off my list.

Metroscape with ribbon
Metroscape with ribbon

Finally, Metroscape won. WOW! This was a huge surprise. I did enter it into the Modern category in hopes of giving it a better chance, but I really didn’t expect anything. There it was hanging with a Second Place ribbon on it.

I enter quilts because I make them and want people to see them. I didn’t, as I said, expect to win. I don’t know what prizes I will get, but I know I will get a prize for each winner.

3 entries -> 3 prizes. Pretty amazing.


Fair Entries 2019

Last year I let you know what projects I entered into the fair. I saw the post by accident and can’t really believe another year has gone by. I didn’t wait until the last minute this year. Cyndi was kind enough to collect a bunch of entries at the BAM meeting to take to the fair. I gave her mine since it is much easier to have someone else drop them off. I think I’ll have to give her a gift or take her to lunch, because she really does save me a lot of time and energy.

I didn’t enter as much this year as I only wanted the free tickets. I know it is pretty callous, but it is true. There are so many quilts in the pieced-by-one, quilted-by-another category that I have no hope ever of winning for a quilt. I can usually win in the paper category, but didn’t finish the piece that I started with Nancy and Maureen.

SIL2 figured out that the embellishment category was the least populated so we had the best chance of winning, thus I had incentive to finish Under the Sea.


Under the Sea was entered.

Metroscape - finished
Metroscape – finished

Since Metroscape is pretty unusual, in that I haven’t seen a lot of finished quilts using the Quick Curve Ruler, I thought I might have a tiny chance, despite it being in that overcrowded category.

I really ended up liking the Aqua-Red Sampler. It is a striking quilt. Though I have no hope of winning anything with it, I wanted someone to see it and entered it anyway.

We’ll see what happens.

San Mateo County Fair Winners

I talked about my entries a few weeks ago. Once I get to the fair, I like to go and look at my entries right away to see what I won, if anything.

I got some prizes, but not many. Of my entries, two got prizes, the paper wreath which I expected and the Planned Improv quilt, which I did not. It is almost a guarantee I will not get a prize for a quilt, so i was thrilled to even get an Honorable Mention in any quilt category.

I was sad that none of these projects got prizes. The Flapper apron is probably the most ordinary of all of the projects, but it does have a great shape and interesting construction. The others are all very creative, especially the fabric placement on the Cal Shirt and the way I created a corset look on the Superheroine apron. Oh well, you win some, you lose some. I did well last year, so I can’t complain too much.

I have some quibbles with the categories. They don’t have a bag category and they should. There were a number of bags and the bags have to compete against everything in the sewn accessories-non garment category. My Zip Away organizer would have been better in a bag category.

I also think they need an apron category. There were a lot of aprons and mine would have done better it they weren’t competing against a tailored jacket.

I really worked hard on the shirt, especially finishing the inside seams with French seams, so it was letdown not to get any prizes at all for it. It will be interesting to see what they say.

SIL #2 cleaned up. She got four prizes including a first for her fabulous two-sided shell table runner. I did well last year; it was her turn this year.


2018 Fair Entries

I entered my projects the other day into the fair. Not quite at the last minute, but the day before the last minute. I entered the following:

Paper Wreath for Beth
Paper Wreath for Beth

Rainbow Paper Wreath

Cal shirt for Paul, Christmas 2017
Cal shirt for Paul, Christmas 2017

DH’s Cal Shirt

Planned Improv
Planned Improv

Planned Improv Quilt

Superheroine apron
Superheroine apron

Superhero(ine) Apron

Zip Away Organizer - open
Zip Away Organizer – open

Zip Away Organizer

Flapper Apron

Let’s see if I can win something!

Book Arts Jam

Last weekend was exhibition weekend. I barely spent any time actually sewing. In addition to PIQF, the Book Arts Jam put on and exhibit and vendor hall with book artists vending. I have gone before and wrote about my visit in 2015.

The event is put on by the Bay Area Book Artists (BABA) organization and was held at the Palo Alto Elks Lodge. I went because I have, as I have said, a sincere but underdeveloped interest in book making. I always went to support Maureen who has sold postcards at the event during the last few exhibits.

Lilly's by Marilyn Howard
Lilly’s by Marilyn Howard

The exhibition has a gallery in one room and the vendor hall in the other. The exhibition made me realize that I am much more interested in the container than in the content of the books.

I know that creating content is important (ahem, see my blog), but for me in the context of this event, I felt myself drawn to the containers.

There were all types of book-like objects, some barely a book and some made from books rather than being books themselves. There were some accessories and a Barbie book.

Backwards Cover Book by Jamila Rufaro
Backwards Cover Book by Jamila Rufaro

One of the things that has been stumbling block for the next book in my series is the closure. At the Book Arts Jam, I saw one, Backwards Cover Book by Jamila Rufaro, artist use a magnet as a closure.

Why didn’t I think of that?

I have a whole bunch of sew in magnet closures I use for bags and they would be perfect! I don’t know how strong the magnet will be in the context of a book, but I can experiment now that I have an idea.

Sliceform Book by various BABA members
Sliceform Book by various BABA members

I saw some paper art that I would consider more like origami or papercraft (perhaps Scherenschnitte??) than bookmaking, but what do I know?

The colors make this look like a Thanksgiving decoration. I would love to enter this into the San Mateo County Fair. I found a site with instructions and some templates that can be printed. I didn’t see fruit, but didn’t look very hard. Looking at various shapes and site discussing sliceform, I can see that I could easily get sucked into that craft.


Vendor book with items for sale
Vendor book with items for sale

There were probably 15-20 vendors. Some were selling items, a number of them were selling cards and others were selling supplies. I saw one vendor selling documents like deeds and other types of contracts.

Maureen was right next to the booth shown above. Her booth looks really professional. Simple and elegant, but visitors can also play with rearranging her postcards. That is an attraction for me. I guess the kid comes out. I am upset with myself for not getting a shot of her booth or the postcards I bought from her! ERGH!

I bought some little tiny journals that I will use as party favors from Kristi Conley-Brockie. I bought 5 and she will make me 10 more before January. I liked the items she had in her booth. I liked her work because the pieces looked like books, but imagery was also important to them. The octopus in the center of the book in the middle photo is particularly interesting to me.

Black Cat Card
Black Cat Card

I found the perfect card for my aunt. It is Halloween-esque, but doesn’t scream Halloween and nods to her love of black cats. I wrote her a letter that very afternoon and sent it off. I hope she likes it.

Sadly the card was not marked with the Artist’s name and she did not include a business card. 🙁

The weekend was busy and I was tempted not to go to the Book Arts Jam. I go to exhibits to expand my mind and I wanted to support Maureen’s hard work as she has always been helpful to me and does fabulous work. As you can see I went searching for sliceform and got an idea from one of the art pieces I might be able to utilize in my own work.


Heard Museum, Part 4: Random Inspiration

Last week, I wrote about the silver collection. Earlier I also talked about the Katsina collection at the Heard Museum. I really could have taken a photo of each Katsina, but I tried restraint instead. The week before, I talked about the Kahlo / Rivera Exhibit.

I only had about two hours to see the whole museum, so I had to focus. the collections described above were mostly the collections on which I focused. As I walked around I saw a few other random items that inspired me.

Hopi Baskets, 1968-69
Hopi Baskets, 1968-69

In an exhibit about weddings, there were numerous items related to that event. One was a beautiful flat basket.

One of the things I like about this basket is the texture combined with the color. I think it would look great on a wall. I also liked the description “Numerous baskets were made by the bride’s family and given to the groom’s family” (Heard Museum information). This information, brief as it is, seems to imply that the groom rather than the bride was the property and the bride’s family had to pay for “the property.” 😉

You know I like metalwork, if you saw my Art Institute of Chicago post. I find grilles and grates to be good sources of inspiration for machine quilting designs. I thought these would be great all over designs. They are also simple and would be nearly continuous.

Dextra Quotskuyva, Hopi-Tewa. Jar, 1976
Dextra Quotskuyva, Hopi-Tewa. Jar, 1976

The thing I like about this pot/bowl is the design around the outside. A quick glance shows a flower, but if you look closer, you see some small birds, butterflies or flying insects. They remind me of dragonflies. I like the way they are integrated into the design of the bowl itself. I keep trying to think of ways to do this with a quilt. It might not be possible, but I am thinking.

Inside of an example log house
Inside of an example log house

I thought this was interesting.  It is a painting housed inside of a Navajo hogan, made of cedar and adobe. You can see the painting in situ in an image on the museum site as part of the exhibit, HOME: Native People in the Southwest.

This museum is well worth a visit. There is a lot to see, so if you go to visit, plan to spend some time there.

Heard Museum, part 3: Silver

Last week, I talked about the Katsina collection at the Heard Museum. I really could have taken a photo of each Katsina, but I tried restraint instead. The week before, I talked about the Kahlo / Rivera Exhibit. This museum is well worth a visit. There is a lot to see, so if you go to visit, plan to spend some time there.

Phillip Honanie, Hopi, Necklace, 1970s
Phillip Honanie, Hopi, Necklace, 1970s

In addition to the Kahlo / Rivera Exhibit and the Katsinas, the musem has a collection of silver pieces that are quite beautiful. They make me want to be part of an organization that has rituals that use such beautiful items. The necklace, though more modern, has really gorgeous designs adorning it.

In quiltmaking, I can see using this necklace as inspiration for handquilting or applique’. I don’t know if it is the metal, but the designs also remind me of the metal grates and grilles I saw at the Art Institute of Chicago in 2012.

One of my favorite pieces was a vessel. Enlarge the pictures so you can see the lovely lines on the lid and the droplets, or pussy willows, on the side of the container. I also like the hexagonal shape. The top could be used as machine quilting inspiration.

There were a number of other lovely pieces that were inspiring to me.

Heard Museum Part 2: Katsina

Katsina Information, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Katsina Information, Heard Museum, Phoenix

Katsinas are a Hopi tradition.

Katsina collection, Heard Museum Phoenix
Katsina collection, Heard Museum Phoenix

The Heard Museum has an amazing collection of Katsina dolls. Yes, I used the term Katsina instead of Kachina. The docent who showed us around said Katsina was the correct term. I really have no idea, so call them whatever you want.

“Katsinas are the spirit messengers of the universe. After death a Hopi continues a spiritual existence as a life-sustaining Katsina” (information at Heard Museum).

Hopi Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Hopi Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix

“The cultural and religious belief of Hopi is that Katsinas bring the katsina dolls in their likeness as gifts for young girls. Each gift repesents a prayer for good health, growth and fertility. With this daily reminder in the home, young girls remember the Katsinas and their teachings. Male family members may assist in the learning process by casually singing parts of the Katsina songs within the home to remind other of the prayer songs shared” (information at Heard Museum).

Katsina Doll, Heard Museum Phoenix
Katsina Doll, Heard Museum Phoenix

The black and white doll struck me as very funny. I don’t mean to demean another religion by laughing. He looks mischievous and cheerful. I sent the image to the YM and he enjoyed it.

Katsinas were carved at a variety of skill levels and with differing levels of detail. As people started to collect them, artists began carving them to sell rather than for children to play with.

Viewers can tell the difference between the toys and the made-to-sell pieces by looking at the bottom. The art pieces have a base, which make them easier to display.

I really liked the variety of facial expressions.

Part of Barry Goldwater's Collection, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Part of Barry Goldwater’s Collection, Heard Museum, Phoenix

The collection put together by Barry Goldwater is now in the Heard Museum.

The Goldwater display is separate from the others. The interesting part is the way the collection is displayed: older Katsinas at the top of the case, newer at the bottom. This arrangement makes it very easy to see the evolution of the Katsinas. The newer the doll, the more detailed it is and less likely it is intended for a child.

Ros George Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix
Ros George Katsina, Heard Museum, Phoenix

The Ros George Katsina is a good example of the type of Katsina made as art to sell.

I took a photo of this particular Katsina, because of the feathers. If you click on the photo so you can see it larger, you will see the fine carving on the wings and feathers.

Heard Museum-PHX

Back in June, I went to Phoenix for work. It was that week that was incredibly hot and I was actually out and about in 119 degree heat. I won’t be doing that again.

I was invited to a vendor event at the Heard Museum. Since I had nothing better to do and enjoy visiting places unique to various cities, I went. I am not much of a fan of Native American art – I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t float my boat – though I can always find something to inspire me in ally types of exhibits.

I was incredibly pleased to see the various collections that were amazing and extremely inspiring.

Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera Exhibit
Frida Kahlo/Diego Rivera Exhibit

They had an exhibit of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera pieces that I felt incredibly lucky to see. Not only were there paintings by the pair, but there were also photographs of the pair and their family. The exhibit was only going to be shown in one other place in the US (not sure what other city, sorry!) and that place was not in San Francisco.

Their paintings have a simplicity, without being simplistic that I like. This was the first time I had seen the sexual aspect of their paintings, as well. This was the first time I had seen paintings of a couple of Rivera’s patrons, the Gelmans. These paintings are great examples of simplicity, without being simplistic.

Kahlo had a number of self portraits in the exhibit. I really liked her hair in a number of them.

She also had some pretty interesting paintings, at least to me. The above photos show a “composition that borrows from the historical motif of the Virgin and the Child with St. Anne in which the saint embraces Mary and Jesus.” (from info at the museum). This is definitely not a boring picture and there is a lot to look at in it.

The bride who becomes frightened when she sees life opened by Kahlo and Landscape with cacti by Rivera are a couple of other interesting paintings. Again they have that simplicity (flatness of the paint application???) that I like, but are not simplistic.

The photographs gave a realistic glimpse into their lives and brought up the suggestion that both artists had other lovers.

Stay tuned for post coming to a blog near you of other art at the Heard Museum.