Last week, I did a whole lot of looking at art. I haven't had a week like that since I went to London many years ago. It was quite fun to be doing it locally. I'm lucky to live close to many museums which don't cost an arm and a leg to get into. In fact, many of them are frequently free if you time it right. I felt like my museum hopping was a little vacation from my regular life and I have been in need of it to restore my creative energy which was totally zapped by preparing all that stuff for the tax man. Thank goodness that is over.
A week or so ago, the art teacher at Julia's school asked me if I wanted to go on the field trip to Williams College Art Museum. I hadn't been in a while and made time for the trip in my schedule. I love this little museum - it is free to go to (always a plus) and they have a large collection of paintings by the Brothers Prendergast (Maurice and Charles). The kids were going to visit a special exhibit entitled "Landscapes of the Mind." Although the visit was really short, I thought it was great that the 3rd to 6th graders had a chance to actually see and visit art since many families don't have the interest or the time to open their children's lives to the visual arts. The "brain" exhibit was okay - I'm not much for modern and conceptual art, I admit. I got a chance to check out some of the paintings that rotate in and out of their vast holdings and Julia and I had a nice day.
But here was the biggest surprise - literally.
In one of the galleries there was a life-size 50 foot white sperm whale made out of WOOL FELT! Oh, this thing was awesome. It was made by the artist Tristan Lowe in association with Philadelphia's Fabric Workshop and Museum.
Unfortunately, the whale wasn't part of the kids' tour. A big mistake, I think, because all of the kids could have really been inspired by this piece. You can read all about it here. How great that the whale is made of WOOL FELT. It was all I could do to keep my hands off of him. My favorite part were the barnacles which were made by layering felt and then stitching them to create the characteristic folds. From afar they look so real but up close, they look sewn.
This whole sculpture is inflated. The felt pieces are zipped together with long, long zippers that become part of the the wrinkles and texture in the whale's skin.
If you get a chance, go visit Mocha Dick - he'll be there at Williams College until August 8th, 2010. Another great use of the wool fiber, wouldn't you say?