I was quite taken in by the minute detail, patience and attention dedicated by the artists to create masterful works, works that spoke to me without making one sound.
The baskets in the picture are African hand-made baskets in front of a Seattle storefront.
On a recent visit to the Bellevue Art Museum we saw some exquisite and unusual baskets in an exhibit called "Intertwined". Very unique sculptured creations and some very beautiful and traditional such as Hopi and Navaho. An incredible one was a woman's torso and head made entirely of lotus seed pods crocheted together with waxed linen thread and a face made with dried grapefruit peel, you can see her on the museum web. I liked the experimentation of that artist, and the others whose works incorporated unusual and different materials, such as zippers, wire, pistachio shells, horsehair, fish skin,and more. Then there was the life-sized human figure sculpture made up entirely of 1 inch or so tiny twigs connected together...
Nearby in a separate room was an enchanting large installation from a glass artist, Etsuko Ichikawa, a quite hypnotic effect using films of the fire she used to create glass projected on egg-like surfaces... and all surrounded by walls covered with the incredible burn marks of glass on paper (looked to be watercolor paper), a calligraphy of glass-making mark-making. She literally "paints" the paper surface with molten glass creating "pyrographs" or ethereal drawings with the smoke and fire that look like a secret ancient symbology or writing which as I stood looking, made my mind try to interpret while my heart just accepted it. Very beautiful. Interesting to note is that she is making new art out of her basic artform of glass, capturing the process and stretching that itself into becoming works of art.
The third floor holds a collection of antique American quilts from 1800 to 1900's. The workmanship and hours to construct these lovely well-loved and well-used works of art was breathtaking considering that most were all hand done stitching, some made at a time without the benefit of modern lighting. Outstanding applique work on several. And a few astounding examples of extreme patience, such as the quilt that was pieced in 1 inch squares of fabric which were themselves made of 9 tiny patches of different fabrics stitched together...and a quilt called a "string" quilt because the strips of fabric are so small.
I loved the part that "recycling" or "repurposing" played in these various artworks: the basketmakers use of found natural materials and found manmade objects, the glass artist taking a new look at her process and interpretation, recycling that into art, the quiltmakers reuse of clothing or other fabrics into wonderful new quilts that surely rested on someone's bed and wrapped someone up in love. These exhibits are highly recommended. I came away with great respect for the dedication to their art, expertise and creativity of the various artists, and inspired to keep experimenting and think of new ways to use different materials...
The Sunday Papers: 19
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