Monday, May 24, 2010

Amish Abstrations, Autoban and Jimmy McBride

A week ago Friday, as part of a work-related inspiration field trip, I went to the de Young museum in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. The exhibit we went to see is entitled Amish Abstractions: Quilts from the Collection of Faith and Stephen Brown. We had a docent guided tour which provided a lot of interesting facts and trivia about the quilts, the methods used to create them and the thought processes involved. I definitely found it inspiring! I grew up with my mother, both grandmothers, great grandmothers...many generations back...all who work(ed) with the needle crafts: sewing, quilting, embroidery, crochet, knitting, etc., etc. This sort of thing is in my blood! The colors and attention to detail in each of the quilts reminds me how important care and craftsmanship are. In this day, when most things in life are created by a machine, rather than human hands, this exhibition and the recognition that such exhibitions provide, are so much more important to the idea of preserving and gratifying the human touch in craft and creation.

In the current decade, we are seeing more and more of this return to craft and handmade. With large shows like the Renegade Craft Fair, Bazaar Bizarre, Patchwork, and Indie Mart, among others, those of us who carry on this tradition have a venue to sell and to support others of our kind! Recently, the April issue of Dwell magazine had several articles that caught my eye. The first is entitled Young Turks. This is about a pair of designers who work under the design firm name AUTOBAN. They are both product and interior designers. What I found interesting is their dedication to craft and to supporting the local workshops and craftsmen. Originally, this is how all of their products were produced, but with the connection to De La Espada, who now handles most of the production and distribution of their designs, only the original prototypes are created in such a way. This is still commendable, considering that many designers send off sketches and 2-D plans...while this duo insists on holding on to the "handmade" aspect that they built their success on.

The second article, which is actually just more of a showcase comment, is about Jimmy McBride and his out of this world, handmade quilts. The one they showcase is called "M64 Child's Quilt". M64 is the technical name for the "Black Eye Galaxy". His work is at once beautiful, well crafted and inspired by astronomy! This quilt is one of a series all with inspiration drawn from the farthest reaches of space. I thought it was timely that I revisted this issue, just after the Amish Quilts exhibit and re-discovered this article, which now held more significance to me. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to visit the Amish exhibit and for the awareness it brought to me in discovering another great craftsman and needle worker, Jimmy McBride.

Here are links to all points of interest:

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