Maybe I should become a travel editor…

I know it seems like I’m doing a lot of sightseeing, and not getting a whole lot done in the studio, be patient, that will come, but I do want to take advantage of having my daughter home at the same time I am, since she will be off to camp next week, for all of July, and I’ll be traveling all of August.  She is such a great travel buddy, and I love seeing exhibits with her, she sees things I completely miss, and she is great about reading all the cards and storyboards, and asking questions and looking at details that allude me…

Before I get into today’s adventures, I want to share with you the fortune I got in the fortune cookie I ate that came along with the Chinese take out from the other night.

“Begin…the rest is easy.”

Isn’t that just the best and most appropriate fortune for a creative person?  It couldn’t have been a better one, and it is actually getting taped to my computer screen, and I am not one for bumper stickers, etc.

Today my 16 year old daughter and I headed west, out RT. 78 to Pennsylvania.  Along the way (she drove) we stopped and picked up an old friend who I had lost touch with, who reappeared in my email box earlier in the week.  Rita is a weaver too, I first met her when I was pregnant with my daughter, in a class I was teaching.  Our sons were a couple years apart, and they were so much alike.  We drifted apart as sometimes happens, a few years ago, but as we sat in the car to Allentown, we chattered away, as if there was no break in the relationship.

fashionOur destination was the Allentown Art Museum, and an exhibit called Fashion in Film: Period Costumes for the Screen. This exhibit was incredible. I loved the ability to get right up to the clothing, and see almost all the way around the garments.  The Period costumes, worn by screen legends like Gwyneth Paltrow, elizabethCate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Drew Barrymore, and Madonna (from Evita)  were loaned by the renowned London costume house of Cosprop Ltd.  There was a dress worn by Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth, pictured right, and one worn in the miniseries Scarlettscarlett (pictured below). Many were created with vintage textiles,  and all gave the illusion of the period for the few minutes they were used on screen.  And of course there were a number of garments from various Jane Austen films, including a garment worn by Colin Firth, as Mr. Darcy.

Who knew the Allentown Museum has a 1914 Frank Lloyd Wright library from the Francis W. Little home in Minnesota?  The living room fromscreen the same home lives at the MET in NYC.  And in another small alcove, stood the most magnificent thing I’ve ever laid eyes on, a hand embroidered screen created especially for the 1915 San Francisco Panama Pacific Exposition, by embroidery master Kiyoshi Hashio.  The waves and water in the screen are all created with thousands of fine silk embroidery threads in hundreds of watery shades, every time we leaned in too close, we set off the alarm!  I took the photo from the Allentown Museum Website, I did sneak a couple photos for the fashion exhibit, but I wanted to respect the age and fragility of the screen so I refrained from trying to sneak my camera out of my bag.  It is on view until July 18th, apparently it was gifted to the museum, but it isn’t on view often because of its age.

We had lunch in a downtown brewery, The Allentown Brew Works, recommended by the museum staff.  The food was delicious and the company great.  We all retrieved the car, and headed back to NJ, stopping in Clinton at the schulmanHunterdon Art Museum, and old Grist Mill on Lower Center Street, right on the water.  There we caught an exhibit of Barbara Schulman’s work, she is a fiber artist who “collects and collages evocative contemporary objects”, like credit cards, fabric labels, X-acto knives, and embroiders them onto industrial felt.  The colorful pieces have a narrative quality, especially one from credit cards, fractured and re assembled like a mosaic, in a vessel format, with X-acto knife blades stitched onto the inside like a purse lining.schulman2


I’m tired… I need to start focusing on preparation for the next conference, this one at Smith College in Amherst MA.

I did though, make a list of some of the movies I need to add to my wanna see list.

Portrait of a Lady with Nicole Kidman, 1996, directed by Jane Campion

Hamlet with Julie Christie, 1996 directed by Ken Branagh

Howards End with Emma Thompson, 1992, directed by James Ivory

So many movies, so many fabulous period costumes, so little time…

And my studio floor is covered with colorful drying wool from the crock pot…

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Silvia Leidig
Silvia Leidig
July 2, 2009 8:18 am

Daryl, when you are in California next February, be sure to check out Fashion Design Institute exhibit in Los Angeles. Each year, they have a gallery of costumes worn in the previous year’s movies. It is not as sumptuous as what you viewed in Allentown, but the handwork on individual cosutmes sewn for movies is wonderful. You don’t get to see them thusly in the movie, but are wonderful to see. The color and texture planning for instance on The Joker from the Batman movies was wonderful, right down to his color coordinated socks. The exquisite handwork, even covering hooks… Read more »