We left around 10:00am to head into NYC, with our friends Misa and Pat, just ahead of the blizzard that was making its way up the coast. The snow wasn’t suppose to start until around 12:30pm, so we figured we could get into Manhattan, have lunch at the New Leaf Cafe in Fort Tryon Park, and then hear the Baltimore Consort at 1pm at the Cloisters and be home before the roads got bad. The one thing working in our favor was the temperature. It was well below freezing, so the snow would be drier, and with the winds, it would blow around a lot before it started to stick, and there wouldn’t be the usual problem we have with ice.
What an amazing day. If you live in the NY metropolitan area, I’m sure you’ve been to the Cloisters, it is part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, but located about 100 blocks north of the regular museum, built by Rockefeller in the late 1930’s to house a fantastic collection of works of art from the Middle Ages, including architectural fragments that have been incorporated into the fabric of the building itself. The work here dates from 1000AD to about 1520AD.
For the rest of my readers, who don’t have a chance to see Manhattan, or if you do, you might not get a chance to visit this mythical place, I have lots of gorgeous photos, courtesy of my husband and his new camera. Wait, wasn’t that a Christmas present?
Can I say that the architecture of this place is truly breathtaking? There is a sense of reverence, and history that makes me feel like I am in a sacred place, and that each artwork has an amazing story, and that I could draw quiet inspiration from these hallowed walls.
We waited patiently in line, it was easy to be patient in a place like this, there is a calm wonder and awe that makes waiting in line a pleasure.
The concert was unbelievable. If you can imagine early music instruments and the ethereal voice of the soprano vibrating in a space like this chapel which contained a mid-12th century apse from Spain, it is the most lovely sound I’ve ever heard. Obviously I’m a fan of early music, I played with my recorder consort last night at a Christmas concert at one of the churches on the green in Morristown. But this is truly magical. The Baltimore Consort was founded in 1980 to perform the instrumental music of Shakespeare’s time and today’s performance covered Christmas carols in Latin, German, Spanish, Elizabethan English, Scottish, Finnish, and French. The works ranged from the 12th-16th century. I recognized one of the oldest of Latin/German hymns, In dulci iubilo, which I played with my recorder consort last night.
After the concert, we checked through the stained glass windows at the gardens to see if the snow had begun, and if so, was it sticking yet? We saw a few flakes swirling around, so took advantage of the delay to see more of this spectacular building.
I had to take my husband in to the Gallery with the Unicorn Tapestries, woven in Brussels in 1500. The light in the cavernous space is really dim. And though photography was allowed, no flash could be used. My husband took that as a challenge to see what he could do with his new toy, and I am completely impressed.
The colors remain rich and the detail, impressive. As a weaver I am more than impressed, I am overwhelmed. Every time I look at these tapestries, I am silenced by their detail, their expressive story, and their size.
My husband had a great time photographing not only the architecture and the artworks of the Cloisters, but some of the details, textures and colors of some of the stone work, especially the marble. I looked at this photograph and stopped dead in my tracks. I ran over to my cutting table and pulled a couple of palettes from the pile I created yesterday, did a little shuffling, and came up with a gorgeous palette, straight off the marble column, and right in keeping with the spring 2010 colors I described yesterday. I think I am inspired enough to start mixing dyes.
We left the Cloisters as the snow was starting to stick, the roads weren’t hazardous yet, and we made it safely home. What an amazing day, and I am really excited about the inspiration for my first dyed warps.
We are expected when all is said and done, to get about 8-12 inches of snow. It is hard to say how much has fallen already, the heavy winds make the snow swirl around, but it is beautiful. We have the wood stove cranked up, and we don’t have to be anywhere in the morning. I have another recorder concert in the afternoon, actually we are playing one song as part of a Celtic Christmas Service at the Presbyterian Church on the Green in Morristown at 4pm, if anyone can shovel out and attend. It is a beautiful service, very seasonal, and I’m hoping the snow is cleared away by then.