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Posts tagged ‘crafts’

Re-Opening the Renwick and the Morning After

The quiet child of the Smithsonian family of museums re-opened this November with a surprisingly bold statement.  The aptly named Wonder exhibit is well worth a visit for its truly impressive installation pieces.  While I’m happy to have the Renwick Gallery back, this re-birthday party feels overly flashy, just a bit narcissistic, and certainly out of character for a museum dedicated to decorative arts.  While an entertaining show, I am left wondering about the future of this museum and the potential for a reinvented purpose.

Renwick Gallery facade

The “new” Renwick Gallery at dusk

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A Day in Old San Juan

As the weather cools and Fall takes over, folks in the north start to daydream about the Caribbean for a sun-filled weekend away.  While I’ve never been much of a beach person, I recently took a quick trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico and enjoyed it.  The old town was lovely to wander through, I enjoyed the historic fortresses, and the public beaches were relaxing.  While Puerto Rico’s status as an American territory makes travel there easier, the unique local culture and cuisine made it feel like I was exploring another country.

beach, San Juan, PR

Pretty and relaxing beach in San Juan

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Celebrating Peru at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

I’ve had such a busy summer that I totally forgot to tell you about my “visit” to Peru.  Instead of flying to South America, the art, music, and culture of Peru came to me as part of the 2015 Smithsonian Folklife festival on the National Mall in Washington DC.

Back-strap loom, Peru

Beautiful textile in progress on this back-strap loom.

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Exploring China and Kenya at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival

It’s not every day that you can walk from Kenya to China, but that’s what I did this Saturday.  Every summer for two weeks, the National Mall is DC is transformed into a center for global culture when it hosts the Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  Over 100 artisans, musicians, performers, and chefs take up residence and share their national traditions with Washington DC.  The rich cultures of Kenya and China were presented this year and I had a wonderful time exploring the festivities!

Folklife Chinese gate

The Flower Plaque gate made of bamboo, paper, and plastic welcomes visitors into the Chinese section of the Festival.

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Ceramic Folk Art from Around the World

The monthly ArtSmart Roundtable brings together some of the best art-focused travel blogs to post on a common theme.  This month we are focusing on National Art – whether iconic styles that remind us of a certain place, or a movements that developed in and became emblematic of a region.   Be sure to check out everyone’s posts below!

Italian olive dish

Simple but very functional, I got this olive dish in Siena, Italy.

Every culture makes utilitarian objects like furniture, clothing and ceramics.  Folk art is decoration applied to these functional items which reflects the tastes of a people.  In addition to seeing works from professional artists in a national museum, I am always on the look-out for local craftspeople or cultural museums that show off local folk art.  As a lens to compare several cultures, let’s take a look at some traditional ceramic styles around the globe.

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