Posts tagged ‘Museum’

May 12, 2012

Weekend Walking::US Botanical Gardens

by heatherkp

While I was up in the DC metro area I played tourist a couple days and did the expected amount of walking.  On this particular day I went downtown to meet my dad for lunch. Since he works only a few blocks from the US Botanical Gardens I knew I would have to pay a visit to the gardens right next to the Capital building.

It was a really beautiful day (which I can’t say was true of every day I was there, the weather was a roller coaster with temps ranging from the 50’s to 80’s!).

I knew I would catch some spectacular blooms but due to the early warm temps I was lucky to find the roses were in full bloom along with Peonies (which don’t do well in the south:(), clematis and many other late spring early summer bloomers.

I also found these baby ducklings (only 1 day old)!

My favorite were the tropicals blooming inside the conservatory though.  I found some unusual Hibiscus, many orchids, banana and other tropical foliage plants.

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time now you have probably noticed my love of floral/foliage photography.  I was in my own little oasis on this walk through the gardens.  Much like a walk by the ocean, walking through a garden takes away all my worries and I am truly brings me joy.  The beauty of flowers is one artistic muse I just don’t seem to ever tire of.  Where have you walked this week?  Did you find your muse along the way?

July 22, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Tudor Place

by heatherkp

While I’m away in NC I’ll leave you with one more post and a field trip my Mom treated me to a few weeks ago.  Tudor Place is right in the heart of Georgetown, just blocks away from the shopping and dining district.  Even though I’ve lived in the DC metro practically my entire life I can’t say I’d driven by or even heard much about this little jem of a museum.  This is a private museum with both house and garden tours available.  The garden tour is free and open to the public almost every day.  The house tour is the real treat though.  What is amazing is that all the items in the house are family heirlooms and antiques of origional provenance to this family home.  The home was built by the grandaughter of George and Martha Washington, Martha Custis Peter, and her husband, Thomas Peter.  It was lived in as a private residence by several generations of the family for over 180 years until it was turned into a museum (by family trust) in 1988.  If you like history and historic preservation you will want to see this museum home.

I couldn’t help but sneak in one little picture inside…

and I might have pinched a small bit off this stunning coleus that I’d never seen before.  Have you seen this one?  Apparently there are hundreds if not thousands of cultivars of coleus!

I’m not sure of the provenance of the garden but it seemed to contain many plants that would have been used in the historic period of the homes use.  I wish I knew more about this plant which I’d never seen before.  It smells heavenly, like Jasmine and the flowers open a beautiful deep lavender and fade as they mature to white, isn’t that different (it seems that colors in plants usually intensify)?   I would love to find this plant but I don’t think I could maintain it indoors without having good light or a green house.  Have you ever seen Brunfelsia astralias?  It comes up under rare plants!  What a joy to have seen and smelled it in bloom.

July 15, 2011

Friday Field Trip::Textile Museum Green

by heatherkp

I saved a few field trips up for you for my time away.  I hope they keep you coming back and you find them just a little interesting.  Back in June (which was not that long ago, boy time is flying this year!) I went to see the Green exhibit at The Textile Museum.  If you have been following my blog over the last couple years or if you happened to read my old blog you know that the Textile museum is probably my favorite museum.  It is a little hidden jem in DC, not far from Dupont and nestled in a row of Embassy housing.  I love going there and upon arriving at the street of the museum I feel transported to a more serene place, it’s almost gentile and reminds me a bit of Savannah or Charleston.  In the midst of the city here is this small treasure that’s quite and peaceful.  I wish that more people knew about the museum but I’m also glad that for now it stands in a hidden corner of the city.

The current exhibit is all about Green: The Color and the Cause:: re-purposing of materials (textiles) for textile art.   For someone who is a huge fan of the museum you might think I’d follow the rules but I’m a bit of a rule breaker when it comes to taking photo’s…so here are a few.  I don’t have a lot of details but the online catalog is quite extensive and you can find additional information about the artists and the cause here.  These are just to whet your appetite…Enjoy:)

I do apologize, some of these photo’s are not the greatest but that’s what happens when you are sneaking around behind the back of the guards trying to get a few shots.  I hope these peak enough interest for you to visit the online catalog or better yet, the show in person.  There were a tremendous number of contemporary entries and a slide show that shows the work of all of these talented textile artists.

January 21, 2011

Field Trip Friday::Oasis @ The Textile Museum

by heatherkp

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (image copyright The Textile Museum)

I went to check this show out last week with a friend.  We had also intended to go to the Phillips Collection which was FREE to the public last weekend to celebrate their 90th, but alas the line was insanely long so that didn’t happen!  It was okay because I’d had this exhibit on my to-see list for way too long.  I admit that sometimes I take the Textile Museum for granted and don’t get as excited about some of the more traditional exhibits, boy was I wrong about this one!  I just thought it would be another nice Ikat exhibit (right~ you know I’m a textile designer when I say that) but it was so much better than I had anticipated!  Look at the COLORS, wow!  No wonder they called it Colors of the Oasis.

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (image copyright The Textile Museum)

This exhibit showcases 19th century Ikats from central Asia.  The collection (of over 200 Ikats but not all are on view was donated to the Textile Museum by collector  Murad Megalli.  This is the first time this collection has been on view for the public and many of the pieces were beautifully restored.

Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (image copyright The Textile Museum)

They chose such a fantastic color for the walls to offset this collection.  I can’t say I’ve ever really noticed the walls at an art exhibit but this color really does the collection justice.  These warp ikat designs are characterized by vibrant colors (with a lot of primary’s used) and bold, rather large scale motif’s with quite a bit of contrast.

Colors of The Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (copyright The Textile Museum)

I would love to really be able to study the motifs and color combination’s used more closely, it was so inspiring.  It’s no wonder these magnificent textiles were a sign of prestige and status in the Oasis towns of Central Asia.  Colors of the Oasis: Central Asian Ikats (copyright The Textile Museum)The exhibit also featured a small display and video explaining the technique and process used to create warp Ikat designs.  These were contributed by students at MICA’s Fibers department.  The exhibit is also accompanied by an in depth exhibit catalog (that I would LOVE to have!).  I’ve been a member of The Textile Museum for the past 5 years and I’d greatly encourage you to donate or join if you are inclined to value the research and exhibitions in textiles that this world class museum provides.

January 14, 2011

Field Trip Friday::Corcoran

by heatherkp

I recently went to the Corcoran for a lecture and while I was there I spent a bit of time browsing the exhibits.  I was particularly engaged by the work of the Spencer Fitch exhibit My Business with the Clouds.

This exhibit explores sculpture, photography, paintings and drawings that examine the relationships between science, nature and memory. More specifically he is exploring clouds through weather patterns, light and the environment.  I find it playful, exploratory and curiously observational. This exhibit closes on January 23rd so get there to see it yourself while you can.

Another contemporary exhibit currently underway is Washington Color and Light.  This exhibit showcases pieces by students and contemporaries of the Washington Color School.  These works explore abstraction from the 1950’s-70 in the regional DC area.

While your at the Corcoran you may want to take a little time to explore the permanent exhibits which include incredible contemporary, decorative, European and American art as well as photography.  A few of my favorite pieces are below.

I have tremendous respect for the Corcoran.  I attended summer art classes in sculpture there years ago and I’ve attend regular lectures and film screenings there over the years.  In a city with so many free museums it must be difficult to compete but they seem to engage with the Artist community in a way that other area museums do not.  Perhaps this is due to their commitment to arts education.

Do you have any local museums that do a particularly great job by offering engaging work, education and lectures?  If so I do hope you support them regularly.

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December 3, 2010

Field Trip Friday! National Museum of the American Indian

by heatherkp

Starting today I’ll be bringing you “Field trip Friday” a couple times a month.  There are so many wonderful cultural and creative opportunities at the museums, galleries and gardens in the DC metro area. I will have no problem bringing some of that inspiration to you, I hope you like it!

Today we will visit some of my favorite pieces from the permanent exhibit at the National Museum of the American Indian.  This museum has gorgeous architecture and the outside landscaping is all done using Native American plants that in most cases are not only beautiful but are functional, either as food, medicine or some other purpose (for example corn husks or other plant fibers).

The museums permanent exhibits are broken down into “Our Universe”, “Our People” and “Our Lives”.  These three spaces explore many aspects of American Indian heritage, culture, philosophy and past and current lifestyle.  This is the sort of museum that has a wide range of information and can be quite overwhelming (in my opinion) to explore and I find it easiest to take it in bits or go to explore something specific on exhibit.

Above are examples of some of the incredible bead work both traditional and contemporary and below are arrowheads and the back side of the “gold” exhibit (I love the patterns created by these groupings).


Below are some amazing examples of feathered head dresses and Day of the Dead skulls as well as the quirky contemporary mask made of utensils and of course I had to include an Ikat weaving.

On the several occasions I’ve gone, I usually spend a little time wandering through each exhibit and each time I drift over to whatever draws my attention to learn a bit more.  For example, did you know that some of the Caribbean islands have American Indian heritage?  Did  you know that Mohawk Indians were the main steel workers that built the World Trade Center and are now rebuilding the new ones?  This museum explores American Indians from all the “America’s” and the definition is broad and fascinating!  I hope you get a chance to go in person but until then maybe this virtual field trip will serve to give you a little more insight as to what this “New” Smithsonian museum has to offer.  The museum website has extensive information available such as the Online Exhibits as well as PDF catalogs you can download of the temporary exhibits, check it out.


There is also a great temporary exhibit on display through next August called “Vantage Point” which is a collection of contemporary art by Native American Indians; even more beautiful work there!  One last note, this museum has an extensive gift shop and the museum “cafeteria” has had rave reviews so I hope to have a bite to eat there on my next visit.

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