Friday, September 28, 2012

Seeing it all differently

I went to a museum for the first time since becoming a conservation student today, and I’m afraid I’m doomed.
I used to see museum objects the way curators and conservators wanted me to see them: as consolidated things, basically whole, unless deliberately presented as fragments.  Now I see the cracks. The fills. The supports, carefully color-matched and integrated almost seamlessly. Almost.
This probably has something to do with having spent all day Thursday doing this:
(I'm studying for an MSc in Conservation at UCL Qatar, btw, that's what I'm going on about.)
(See? I'm in a lab!)
So I went to the Museum of Islamic Art, all innocent-like, and it was fascinating, both to suddenly see all these details of choices made by conservators, and also to see how my own eyes and mind have changed after a few short weeks of training. I realized I will never see museum objects as a plain old museum visitor again. There’s no going back. 
The ceramics are especially noticeable, because that's what we're focusing on right now. Up above, I'm trying to figure out the best color to fill in the hole in the tile. Finding a pleasing neutral is surprisingly difficult.

The exciting part is that every object in the museum is part of my education now.
So far, this degree program = total overstimulation.  Woot!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Yarn Gallery

With the addition of the above work of handspun art, Karen Barnaby's I Am Not the Shy Little Alien You Thought You Married, my collection of the handspun work of others has become worthy of its own gallery space.  Insufficient as my photography resources and skills are, I'm attempting to give these pieces such a space here.  To fully appreciate Karen's yarn, you'd have to witness its original context and Karen's own photos (Ravelry link.) This one was not giving it up for me during the photo session, so I only have the one shot. I must say, however, that this yarn makes a fabulous necklace, which I wore to the Jean-Paul Gaultier exhibit at the DeYoung Museum. 
The next piece is a grouped set of three skeins spun by Janet Scanlon. I can't seem to think of them separately at this point. A portion of this is called Medley for A-Muse, and includes handwoven and crocheted additions. It was spun on spindles.
Next is Naomi Ryono's Wonky Daffodils, which I purchased from her Etsy shop, Knotty Handspuns. Naomi's yarns have many different personalities. This one is particularly festive and cheery.
Laura Mayotte's wonderful skein from the "Spin your scraps" challenge remains an art object in itself, although I was sure I wanted to knit it right away when I acquired it in trade. It looks so good hanging on my wall, with its ever-changing palette of twists and wraps.  Maybe it should be woven....
The prized possession below is the work of Michelle Snowdon, aka Wooldancer. It is a double chain-ply of the softest, most luxurious fibers: polworth and alpaca and so on, with sparks of fabric and firestar and beautiful beads.  This one is also quite wearable as it is, making a lush, cosy necklace.
Velma!! This yarn is the first acquisition of the exhibited collection, the lovely and talented Melon Baller skein, which makes me smile every time I see it. The vintage fabrics and intricately scribbled thread add delicacy to this wonderfully fat yarn. Found this gem at Colorbomb Creations.
I received a stunning yarn in the Fairy Tale Spin Swap, from Katja Riley (Made by Pixies.) The story it tells is entrancing, full of gold and glimmer.
And the latest acquisitions, in addition to the alien yarn up top, are two of the most sculptural yarns I've ever seen. Janet spun this on a supported phang-shaped spindle, and it lives alongside my plants, as another grown thing. 
And finally, Karen Barnaby's world-renowned Stone Pile (Ravelry link.) Again, her photo is the ultimate presentation, but here you see how it has taken on a greenish cast in the intervening time. It's a mystery, why it's green, but the yarn is no less marvelous.
This is not an exhaustive list, mind you, just a curated selection.
I am getting very close to being able to decorate my whole house with yarn.