Portland Goodness: Part One

This weekend, I spent the better part of two days in Portland visiting friends. Though we did a lot of really fun things, I have two that I really want to share, The Portland Museum of Contemporary Craft being the first. They had two amazing exhibits (for free!) that kind of blew my mind:

1. Dare alla Luce by Mandy GreerPictures via the Museum website

The museum's website doesn't have any photos of the entire room, but rest assured, it was breathtaking. Huge orbs of crocheted and knitted strands intertwined with beads and other media (one we looked at up close had plastic, something that looked like embroidery floss, and a few different strands of yarn) hung around the room - there were four, I think, in different shades of green. Upon examination, you could see all of the different yarns and fibers used - there was boucle and eyelash and what looked like acrylic and maybe some bamboo. In the orbs, there were also sewn things. In the first photo up top, you can see some leaves and baubles that were sewn together and detailed. The sheer magnitude of planning it must have taken, not to mention the time it took to spin all of that together, AND how many, many skeins of yarn must have been purchased... well, suffice it to say that there are an incredible amount of elements making this astonishing. To be fair, there was also a bird and some stars, which were also awe-inspiring - they had different types of beads, glass, and found objects stuck to them, while the bird was made up of different textures and types of black fabrics and had its own trail of black yarn, beads, and baubles - but what struck me the most were the hanging spheres.

2) The Large Works 1999–2008 by Darrel Morris
Pictures via the Museum website

These were bedsheet sized works of embroidery. They were mostly basic line drawings but with shifting perspectives and sometimes a creepy feel. Again, the sense of how long each of these must have taken is stupefying, but also how much deliberate work. In one of the pieces, there was a hill that was textured with thousands of tiny stitches, each going carefully in a different direction to look like sloping grass. The most astounding thing to me was that with embroidery, you can usually tell when a stitch has been made and then removed, there are telltale holes. There were no holes of this type in any of the pieces we examined. Can you imagine? It must have taken millions of stitches to complete each of these works and each of them was on purpose.

Bonus: Andy Paiko's FUNCTIONING Glass Spinning Wheel

The Museum gallery featured a glass spinning wheel in their window. While looking around at the various items for sale, I saw the wheel, and, thinking it was just a sculpture, walked on... Until I saw a video of the spinning wheel in action. I can't believe it works. Look at it! It's really pretty and delicate! It looks like it shouldn't function, but it does. Cool, huh?

...So I have something else, probably equally as exciting, which I will wait to tell you about until I upload the photos from my camera. Until then!

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