Thursday, August 25, 2011
A Fiberful weekend
Recently, one of my quilty friends and I went to the Akron area for a number of reasons. The main reason for traveling three hours northeast was to go to the Akron Art Museum to see the Kaleidoscopes Quilts: The Art of Paula Nadelstern. This is the show which originated at the American Folk Art Museum in New York in 2009. I remember being sad that I was missing the opportunity to see this show when it was in New York, imagine my happiness to know that it traveled to Ohio.
When I lived in Connecticut, I had the pleasure of meeting Paula at my Guild where she was giving a lecture and a class. Paula is a charming, amusing and excellent speaker. I enjoyed seeing the retrospective show but it was made far richer knowing that she constructs these quilts in her tiny Bronx apartment and her struggles to make points meet in traditional quilting. I was pleased that the exhibition included modern Kaleidoscopes as well as very early ones. The show was well grounded in history with the inclusion of the vintage sunburst quilt attributed to Rebecca Scattergood Savery.
As is often the case, I couldn't take pictures of the pieces, but I did buy the catalog. My favorite piece in the show is one of her more recent works, "Kaliedoscope XXXII: My Brooklyn Bridge" I felt that it was great for the restricted palette, the rendition of the Brooklyn Bridge into her method and what to me feels like a maturation of her style...or rather further development of her style. You can see many of the pieces included in this show here.
I especially liked the fact that the gallery adjacent to the Nadelstern exhibition was a show of the 50 pieces of art donated to Ohio by Dorothy and Herbert Vogel. The Vogels were people of relatively modest means and a small New York apartment. They collected an impressive collection of artwork and decided to share it with all the states in the nation. Their collection was divided up and a grouping representative of the collection was sent to each state so that all could appreciate the examples of modern art. It was an neat pairing with Paula's work since they both were working with limited space.
If you are in the vicinity, I would encourage you to visit the Akron Art Museum...which is across the street from the building I shot here...why? Well, I wasn't in a position to shoot the building without crossing the street and I didn't feel inclined to do so. I will say that we did have some difficulty finding the front of the building...and a warning...the streets have a tendency to be one way around here....
Another reason we went up this way was for Deb to pick up a loom she was buying. In addition to the loom and weaver's bench, we stuffed her Suburban full of stripped and balled fabric which is ready to be woven into rag rugs. Here's Deb and the pile of stuff we jammed into the black Suburban. I admit, several times when I went to get out, a ball of fabric jumped out with me.
From there, we went to Wellington, Ohio to the Bonnie Brae Elk Farm. In a lovely rural setting, the Elk Farm hosts a rather large outside quilt show, something along the lines of a mini-Sister's Oregon show. Here's a description of what they have to offer.
Vintage and antique quilts hung next to contemporary pieces. It was quite fun...and the luncheon was superb. The farm is a family farm and I suspect that the show is another effort by small farmers to make their enterprise profitable as it is extremely difficult to compete in today's markets especially with the big Agri-Businesses specializing in mono-cropping.
There was an admission charge and if you wanted a photocopied "catalog" with the descriptions and ownership of the quilts, you could buy one. I admit I intended to buy one, until I saw that it was only a partial listing. I suspect it depends on who actually brings the quilts and what they have space to hang. The ladies who were collecting the fees told me that they were there at 4:00 AM hanging the show. It was worthwhile and I managed to buy some Christmas presents...and some fat quarters...although one of the "bottles" of fat quarters has disappeared...I hope it is buried somewhere in the Suburban with the rolls of stripped fabric.