Thursday, July 27, 2017

Homestead National Monument, Day Nine

 (Above:  The sign outside the visitor's center at Homestead National Monument explaining the installation of metal states on the long entry wall.  Click on any image in this blog post for an enlargement.)

Today was my ninth day as an artist-in-residence at Homestead National Monument in Nebraska.  I've been blogging every day.  First, I share something about this unique place and then I share what artwork I've done.  Today is a little different.  I went to Lincoln to visit the International Quilt Study Center and the Robert Hillestad Gallery.  So ... I'll share that incredible trip too!

 (Above:  A collage of all the states along with a shot of the entire wall.)

Before a visitor steps foot inside the Heritage Center here at Homestead National Monument, he must walk from the parking lot alongside an installation of metal states with holes cut into each one.  It is the most effective way to grasp just how far reaching the Homestead Act was in terms of the acreage given away.  It's one thing to read "270 million acres" in thirty states.  It is quite another thing to see a metal image of each state with a cut hole representing the homestead proportion from that state.  This installation is brilliant.  I've watched people stand and stare at it.  It is impossible not to "get it".

 (Above:  Staking Her Claim, in progress.)

To a non-stitcher, it might not look like I accomplished much today ... but to those who ply a threaded needle, it is an amazing amount of work for one afternoon!

I am getting better at being "loose", which is to say these stitches are ever so slightly longer and not quite as densely positioned as I normally would do.

If I've been tighter, I'd have much further to go tomorrow!  I'm betting, however, that this piece will be off its stretcher bar and having buttons added within twenty-four hours!

 (Above:  The International Quilt Study Center, Lincoln, Nebraska.)

I've wanted to visit the International Quilt Study Center since I first heard about the place.  In the past, there have been fellowships awarded to talented art quilters.  Each exhibition listed on the website (past, present, and future) look great.  Lincoln is just forty-three miles from Homestead National Monument and I picked today to go.  It was a perfect day because it was raining.  Museums are a perfect way to spend a rainy day!

By 11 AM I was in this beautiful, second floor atrium ready for a docent led tour.  Six other people were waiting too.

Our first stop was the SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associate) international juried exhibition called Layered Voices.  Over five hundred entries (including two of mine) were submitted.  Fewer than twenty-five were selected (not including either of mine!)  Obviously, this was a hard show to get into but that generally means the quality of accepted work is very, very high.  It was!

Every piece deserved more than a few minutes of admiration but I'm not really writing this as a review.  Besides, all the work can be viewed HERE.

 (Above:  Detail of Barbara Watler's Entanglements.)

I will have to say, however, that Barbara Watler's hand stitching is utterly incredible ....

 (Above:  Detail of Betty Busby's Multicellular.)

... and I was most impressed with the seamless transition from thicker areas to thinner areas in Betty Busby's Multicellular.  Plus, the shadows cast on the wall through the voids were great!

 (Above:  Our docent in Off the Grid: The Bill Volckening Collection.)

The next gallery was a splash of polyester vibrancy.  Bill Vockening's collection numbers over 150.  This was a curated sampling from the 1970s.

Until seeing this piece, I hated rickrack.  It is PERFECT here!

Though many quilters adore hexagonal pieced quilts, I never really liked them much ...

... but this was different.  Who would have ever thought it possible to fold double-knit polyester into a little hexagon?  This couldn't have been easy.  Because the quilting was done on only two sides of each hexagon, the piece is sort of puffy ... in a very controlled way.  All in all, it works well.  I liked it!  These quilts were fun and fun to look at.

 (Above:  Regarding Nebraska, a solo show by Elizabeth Ingraham.)

From seriously fun, we went into the scholarly driven investigation of place by Elizabeth Ingraham.  This show was detailed, unique, and beautifully presented.

 (Above:  Sacred Scrap: Quilts and Patchwork from Central Asia.)

The last stop on our tour was for me the very best.  It was also the largest of the exhibitions.  Sacred Scraps: Quilts and Patchwork from Central Asia was fabulously installed and perfectly lit.  Most of the textiles dated to the mid-20th century and each one possessed an exotic aura of the nomadic people who made it. 

The show was filled with rich colors,  lush texture, deep symbolism, and intricate patterns and stitching.  There were articles of clothing ... for children, men, women, and even a camel.  Traditional wedding textiles, household furnishings, and amulets were surrounded by exhibition text and copies of historic photographs.

I took a lot of photos.  Most were deleted.  Yet, there were more than I thought appropriate for a blog post.  Thus, I created another Flickr! album.  It includes more images from all the exhibits I saw today.

To access this Flickr! album, CLICK HERE.

After the tour, I wandered around to study and stare at a few of the works.  Then, I headed a few blocks east to the Robert Hillestad Textile Gallery on the University of Nebraska campus.

On display was the work of textile designer Alexander Girard.

This mid-century modernist designed many things in addition to fashion and wall hangings.  He was trained as an architect and worked as an interior design, industrial designer, furniture designer, and even design a typeface font.

Personally, I would wear any of these garments ... anytime, anywhere, during any era.  Great fashion is always in style.  This is style!  I'll be blogging again tomorrow.  I don't have plans to go anywhere but "to work" ... but I might return to the Gage County fair on Friday to see the cats being judged.  Now ... that's a livestock I can live with ... and do!

1 comment:

Caryquilter said...

Thank you for sharing your photos of the quilts and dresses.