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Archive for July 22nd, 2007

The Museum of Contemporary Craft…

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

…opened it’s doors today and I was the first person to walk in. Mr C and I left church around 11:30 am and drove the few blocks to the new location for the Craft PDX Block Party. I couldn’t get a good photo of the building because of all the tents which were housing artisans and craftsmen doing demonstrations. There were not many people around except for those setting up and volunteers.


This is the closest I could get for a photo. The second photo is from the entrance.



The building used to house Daisy Kingdom which sold fabric for over the top little girl’s dresses. They also had great sets of quilting fat quarters and fabric. On the upper level were interesting stuff for sale and beautiful silk and dressy fabric. It is a far cry from the old store, but the bones of the old building are still there.

We were able to have a quickie 15 minute tour of the current exhibit — Craft in America, which includes work from the PBS show of the same name. There were textile pieces by Judith Content, Tim Harding (love, love his work), Arturo Alonzo Sandoval, Wendy Huhn, Jack Lenor Larsen, Michael James, and others. The exhibit covered the gamut of crafts and was very nicely displayed. The show was mainly on the second floor.

The sales gallery is on the first level. It was jam-packed full of stuff. I didn’t recognize the names of any of the fiber artists. Mr C and I both noticed that there were not many northwest artists represented. I do know that when they closed the old museum, they had a new jurying process with a juror from outside the area. One friend, who has always been at the gallery and enjoyed good sales, was not juried in this time. We both felt sad about not seeing the area’s artisans represented.



It was too crowded to get any great photos of the space. Outside there were lots of activities going on. Click photos to see larger.

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You could win a really ugly painted car! Demonstrations of clay work, glass work.

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Weaving, spinning, raku pots to decorate.

When we left, the place was buzzing with activity.


I hope to get back when it is less crowded, and I look forward to the many great exhibits to come. Housed in the same building are two galleries. We buzzed in to the one which features photography. There was some great work.

I spent some time doing some more screen printing and playing with the layout for the winter bamboo fence. Some of you have wondered about the change in the name of our exhibit and the whole idea of Wabi Sabi. Here is the gist of what we were told by the consultant:

She was concerned about our interpretation of the concept in our artwork as it is at once enigmatic but also very stringent in the parameters of what is and what is not Wabi Sabi. She said even most Japanese would be either unwilling or unable to pin down an exact definition and so she suggested that for all our promotional material, we change the wording of the theme to ‘Rustic Elegance’ which is a fair interpretation of the Wabi Sabi concept and make a reference that the artwork is inspired by and pays homage to Wabi Sabi without having to adhere to the strict discipline as to color and subject. That, she said, would not give rise to expectations of what artwork would be displayed as a Japanese person seeing the theme Wabi Sabi would expect to see primarily rustic antiques or items that in some way were made from old distressed materials. She said the Leonard Koren book probably describes it best but I asked her for her description of the term. She said Wabi-shi means ‘impoverished’ or ‘miserable’ and Sabi-shi means ‘lonely’ while Sabi-ta means ‘covered with rust’ (literally). She said that things Wabi Sabi become so after a long time and lack the intention of being made as a piece of artwork. A thing is not made Wabi Sabi, it becomes that over time and usually, the cruder and more imperfect or damaged the item is, the more precious it becomes.

I think it is better this way, but I don’t like the idea of rustic elegance, wither. What does that mean? So, I shall just keep on keeping on and see what gets hung.