Archive for the ‘Mingei Museum’ Category

More Random Ramblings…..

KathyNida Yes! One of my favorite art quilters actually does exist beyond a blog!!! Kathy NIda (long i, as I have been pronouncing it wrong all these many years) is an artist I have been following for well over a decade, and it’s not just because she uses our marbled fabrics in her art quilts. She is one seriously cool lady – and amazing teacher to boot. We finally were able to get together on our last trip to San Diego, as she was also on school break. What a fun two hours! Laughing, lamenting, giggling, telling stories, talking shop – a fabulous time was had by all. Even better, I got to see one of her works at Visions Art Museum, and by far the best in the exhibit, which I didn’t really care for, especially after having seen the exhibit of fiber at the Mingei (yes, Kathy, everyone is right – you MUST go see this show!). But it was so cool to see the actual art quilt up close and personal, as I am in awe of her technique. Here are a couple of photos shamelessly borrowed from her blog (

Here’s the quilt being dried after a washing (something about pet hair….) – our fabric is the pavement. Second one is a closeup. I so loved seeing an actual quilt of hers, because her process is so intricate, and seeing in person how it all came together is fabulous.

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Now, about the exhibit at the Mingei at Balboa Park in San Diego – one of my favorite museums – the emphasis is on “every day objects,” and this time the exhibit was two brothers, William and Steven Ladd, who work with beads, fabric and boxes in developing labor intensive, meticulous and abstract work that expresses their shared memories of family life in Missouri. )from the website) While some of the work I didn’t “get,” I was in awe of their use of unusual materials. This is from their website, explaining their “towers.”

A Tower is a stack of approximately 24 hand sewn boxes placed into a specific configuration.  Towers are often constructed of fabric, found materials, and board.  Each box in the stack measures approximately 9” square and can be closed or open.  When all of the boxes are open, they are  laid out into a specific grid-like configuration.  Textiles and found objects are meticulously sewn into the boxes and often resemble organic structures such as trees.  The Tower originated as a convenient way to stack and store boxes of the brothers meticulously constructed objects.
Each Tower has a story attached to it that is rooted in Steven and William’s shared memories.  Volcano, 2008, explores memories of extreme exercise while sharing a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.  Explosive muscle building and marathon running evolved into forms that resemble volcanic structures.
Volcano, 2008
Archival board, fiber, beads, metal
Closed 13.25 x 19.875 x 18.875 in.
Open 39.75 x 19.875 x 8.5 in.
These are examples, and the top is a detail – needles, pins, metal ants, rolls tapes and biases….a feast for the eyes!

More San Diego – Fabric and Museums!

One of our regular stops is now the Mingei Museum in Balboa Park. They have the best exhibits! The “Bold Expressions” exhibit is African-American Quilts from the collection of Corrine Riley. They reminded my of the Gee’s Bend quilt exhibit I saw in Houston about 8 years ago. They’re utilitarian, basic, practical, and a simple beauty in their creation.

“The exhibition showcases more than fifty quilts made throughout the American South between 1910 and the 1970s. Stunning color combinations and distinctively free patterns epitomize an artistic vision that is unique to the American folk art tradition. African American quilts, made entirely by women, are celebrated for their bold improvisation and modern take on traditional quilting patterns, such as the House Top or Log Cabin, Star of Bethlehem and Pine Burr. Many of the quilts are made from materials that were readily available to the makers, including flour sacks, old blue jeans and work clothes and fabric remnants. This early form of recycling and reuse was a necessity that became the foundation for unique expression. The exhibition will also explore a variety of construction techniques and quilting.” (from the exhibit)

I took a lot of pictures, as some techniques really struck a chord with me.

I liked the color and secondary designs that were apparent in this one.

What struck me with this quilt was how much the ties became part of the overall design. I’ve always looked at the ties as something toat should not be obvious, but I did like what they did to this quilt.

Look at all those little pieces pieced together…..I love seeing remnants of shirting fabrics.

Once again with this quilt, I love the secondary design from the quilt ties.

Prairie points – tiny tiny prairie points!!

Love the backing fabric on this one.

Also in the museum was Maneki Neko – Japan’s Beckoning Cats.

“Made in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, each cat is unique. Most are made of clay, but some are wood, metal, ceramic and papier mâché….Since the Edo period (1603-1868) a fabricated cat with a paw upraised in the Japanese gesture of beckoning has been considered a good luck charm, drawing good fortune to individuals and businesses.  Maneki neko are common sights in local Japanese and Chinese restaurant windows, where they silently beckon to potential customers.” (from the exhibit)

Something I had no idea about, but I began to get a sense of where the “Hello Kitty” craze might have come from. I fell in love with this piece of furniture – absolutely scrumptious!

A third exhibit we saw was “In Their Own Words,” classic and contemporary Native American Art. Billy Soza Warsoldier has some amazing wolf paintings – you just get lost in the palette knife work – such a large amount of paint, and every stroke adds to the finished piece.

The Gallery shop here is one of the BEST I have ever been in. I settled for a picture of the cats on a great piece of furniture. I could spend a small fortune on books in this store!

Next time – the Visions Museum…..oh my!

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