Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Morning Inspiration/Try Something New

My very first experience in an antique store was when I was 8 years old. We had gone to visit my grandmother, our typical summer vacation. I had saved a little money so that I could buy a souvenir to bring home. Not quite sure why we went into this antique store, shopping for old relics wasn't something my mother really cared for, but nonetheless, we went into the store and I was in love. That moment created a lifelong passion. I found a cup and saucer, Jadite Green Fire-King, I thought it was so pretty, I could afford it, and yet, not spend all of my money. You may remember that some years ago it was all the rage when Martha Stewart used it in her kitchen. That cup and saucer ultimately morphed into a rather large collection!

So, I love antique stores :) Galveston, TX has some wonderful antique stores. Ships from all over the world come into the port and they bring with them some wonderful treasures. A number of years ago, I found the wood block that you see below. I knew it was for printing Indian textiles, but wasn't quite sure how to use it, but thought it was an interesting art piece, so I decided to purchase it.

There's a wonderful museum in Milwaukee, WI, The Jewish  Museum Milwaukee. I was trying to trace back how I heard about the museum. My sister-in-law who lives in the Milwaukee area sent me an article about an exhibit that they were having, Stitching Histories From the Holocaust. I was quite intrigued, so I decided to take a look around their site, and in doing so, I found that Miranda Levy of Project Runway fame would be doing a class on Indian woodblock printing. Since I already had a block, I thought it would be fun to give it a try. Below you see me pictured with Miranda. BTW, she is so lovely!

A friend of hers who is from India brought back a number of wood blocks as a gift. She has been using them in some of her design work, and thought it would make an interesting class. Below is the block that I used for my project. 

One thing I learned is that it is much more of an art than one would expect, but then too, perfection is not what you strive for in this type of printing. Once I stamped my piece, I decided to fill it in with a few dots and used the end of a wooden spoon. Like being 5 years old again!!!

My finished scarf. Such a fun and fulfilling project :)

While I was there, I took time to go through the Stitching Histories From the Holocaust exhibit. It's a small exhibit, but well worth seeing. You can read more about it HERE. I know that many of you would not be able to see the exhibit, so I photographed all 8 pieces. These were recreated from the sketches that were sent to America to try and obtain a visa. Hedy Strnad was an accomplished seamstress in Czechoslovakia. She and her husband hoped that the drawings of her work would prove their ability to make a living in the United States. Sadly, Hedy and her husband Paul were both killed before a visa could be obtained. Her drawings were meticulously brought to life, from the garment design, the prints used, to the accessories.   

The piece below was one of my favorites.

I especially loved how the stacked pleats were recreated. So lovely.

This too was incredible. The fabric had a sheen like I have never seen before.

I loved the detail on this coat.

So beautifully done.

In my last book review, I told you about the book, Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. Such a powerful book. That, as well as somewhat recently reading The Diary of Anne Frank, made this exhibit all the more powerful for me. 

I hope that if you are anywhere near Milwaukee, you will take the trip, see the exhibit, and experience the museum. There is an incredible tapestry in the entrance hall that was copied by a piece from Marc Chagall. Next year the museum will be having a special exhibit of Marc Chagall's work. I can't wait!!! If you do venture to Milwaukee, don't miss lunch at Bartolotta's Lake Park Bistro. A true treat!  

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  1. OH MY! I love an exhibit of fashion! But to know that these sketches were created to obtain a visa for a better life that was unfulfilled is heart wrenching! Such dedication to her art! Thank you for sharing your photos! And - your block print scarf is awesome!

  2. The garments made from sketches are beautiful, and it's heartbreaking to know that the people hoping to use these to get visas died before they were successful. So sad.
    Your Indian block printing looks as though it was fun - and the scarf is very pretty ��

  3. Hi Rhonda, I had read about this exhibition somewhere (Threads or Vogue Patterns)and it sounds wonderful. Recently, I found out that it is coming to my city, Birmingham, AL late in the year. I have volunteered to be a tour guide for it so am very excited to read your review.

    1. It's a very powerful exhibit. How nice that you'll actually be able to be a part of it!