Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Visit to the Deerfield Valley Pocumtuck Memorial Hall Museum

In my summer quest to expose my teenager to art and craft and culture, Julia and I headed off to Deerfield MA on Friday. There is a gem of a museum called The Memorial Hall Museum. It features old things from our New England area. 

What was most interesting to me though were two sections of the museum. One is a permanent exhibit called Skilled Hands and High Ideals. It features needlework, metal work, woodwork, pottery and more from the early 20th century - all made in Deerfield by skilled artisans and artists. Tucked away on the third floor, it is a gem of a collection. 

If you can't get to Deerfield, you can check out the special website built just for this collection -- The Arts and Craft Moment in Deerfield. Here are my favorite pieces from this collection. All photos taken from this mentioned website.

The actual reason we went to visit this museum was to see a special exhibit called Made of Thunder, Made of Glass 2. I read this fantastic article by Tom Relihan with photos by Paul Franz in our local Greenfield Recorder and have had it sitting on my desk to remind me not to miss the exhibit. The exhibit was organized around current paintings by Gerry Biron of current Native American Indian beaded glass artists. Along with the exquisite paintings is a vast collection of examples of historic beadwork made by Indian tribes - many very old. Besides being a Fine Artist and Painter, Gerry is also a historian and collector of this incredible handmade work. You can read about the beadwork on his blog. Mixed among the old beadwork and the portraits of the artists is also a section of contemporary Indian beadwork. 

I loved the imagery of the beading and the sculptural quality of the work. The motifs are very familiar to me - flowers and leaves and geometric shapes that I often use in my own work. (Crappy cellphone photos by me - sorry about the reflections in the glass.)

If you are close to Deerfield this fall, I highly suggest a trip to this gem of a museum and to this special exhibit which closes on November 1st. Plan a trip soon. 


Auntie Shan said...

I love good beadwork! It's like needlepoint with glass! :-D For years I've been amassing [amongst TOO many OTHER things!] "supplies" of glass seedbeads from where EVER I can get them for "cheap". Yardsales, thrift stores, the *BARGAIN*-bins at craft stores, damaged ugly 80s formal wear... HOWEVER, I've yet to find the time OR "decide" on WHAT to "make"! -- *SOME* Day...
BTW, love that Stitch work too! Especially the Bird!

WildflowerWool said...

Beautiful exhibit!

Kimberly said...

These are beautiful, am I right that they're quite small in size? Love the embroidery as well. Nice find, nice that you were able to get there too!

Anonymous said...

~ Thank you Kristin for this treasure you've shown us. ~
Exquisite handwork !! This museum is absolutely on my bucket list for my East Coast visit. Its wonderful that this beautiful work has been preserved so well. Thank you always for your terrific, inspiring ways with featuring handwork artists in many mediums. ~
Shell ~

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