Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Travels in Crafting

Going back to Washington DC with my history loving husband, my brother and his wife promised to be a full weekend.  I knew there was going to be lots of stops at museums and monuments but had no idea we would find a few gems that made me squeal with crafting happiness.  The first find was on our way around the white house.  Being an architecture lover I was taking pictures of all the fantastic old buildings when Dan yelled at me from across the block.  I turned around to see him pointing to an amazing brick building with two giant blue banners that read "American Craft."  (As the huge smile appeared on my face I had to compose myself before running in the door.)  

We had found the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum.  Unfortunately being an art gallery they didn't allow cameras but I assure you its worth checking out.  There was an entire exhibition on turned and carved wood and another that highlighted handcrafts made by Japanese Americans in the internment camps of WW2.  It wasn't a huge building so we made it through in about 45 minutes but had I been there by myself I could have stayed all afternoon.  

Then at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History this is what was at the end of the main floor hallway.  

An entire coral reef crocheted out of yarn called the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef .  I can't even explain how many different pieces there were that made up the whole reef.  The main piece was a good 10 ft by 10 ft, over 6 ft tall and every color of the rainbow.  The idea was based on the fact that many common crochet techniques employ hyperbolic geometry which is mirrored in patterns found naturally occurring in coral reefs.  There was everything from starfish and polyps, to jellyfish and giant clams.  You can check out how to get involved and maybe start your own reef here.

The last of my great surprises was at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.  We had just planed to hit the gift shop cuz they were closing the building in less than an hour but on our way out I saw the name Julia Child on a wall plaque.  I followed the arrows and discovered her kitchen.  Not Julia Child's hollywood kitchen.  No this was her actual kitchen from her house, complete with utensils and appliances that she donated to the museum, where they reassembled it down to the pots on the wall and magnets on the fridge.  It was a comfortable set-up; not at all intimidating unlike the French quizine she mastered.  It was no different from the average kitchen, yet she made magic there for many years.  

The friendly reminder from this trip?

It doesn't take anything more than a love for your craft to make amazing things.

FDR's Scottie Fala

Craft on!


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