We could do that!

Reflections: Wing Luke Museum

Whenever friend Marilyn and I see arts and craft pieces we like, such as Polaroid transfer prints, we examine them from the perspective of whether we could create something similar.  We often decide we can, rarely appreciating the complexity of the object we are studying, and usually discover we can’t.



autumn leaves: polaroid transfer print

In the case of Polaroid transfer prints, we found we could.  However these tend to be the exception.

My latest inspiration came from an exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, informally known at “The Wing.”  One of the displays was named “Sacred Seattle.”  As I recall from our guided tour, the idea for the exhibit came from a newspaper article alleging that Seattle was the least religious city in the US.  The displays focused on ways that Asian immigrants had found to bring particular religion or spiritual practices to this country, whether they be in the form of setting up a home altar, wearing a crucifix belonging to a now-departed loved one, or formally establishing a religion brought from the home country, such as Buddhism or Sikhism.

The art piece that members of my tour group were most taken with was a tea bag tapestry called MEM: memory • memorial no.7 scriptorium, by Naomi Kasumi. Specifically, the tapestry sections were made from used tea bags (politely called recycled tea bags in the flyer) and inscribed with Japanese characters.  The artist used thread to tie the tea bags together.  While we didn’t come out and say, “We could do that,” we all want to learn more about how Kasumi did it, just in case.  I commented that I couldn’t imagine how used tea bags would work, as they so wrinkled when they have dried out.  Someone in our group said, “I imagine you have to iron them.”  I was then imagining myself at home, working on this project when the phone would ring.  It would be a friend calling.  “What are you doing?” she would ask.  “Oh, just ironing dirty tea bags,” I would answer.  If I ever attempt to make a tapestry, I think I’ll keep quiet about it until it’s completely finished, or at least not answer the phone while I’m working on it.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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3 Responses to We could do that!

  1. I was reminded of this phenomenon on my visit to SAM this weekend for the Picasso show. I always love SAM’s collection of Australian aboriginal paintings, which consist of myriad dots arranged in pulsating concentric patterns. “I can do that,” I said many years ago, with visions of a whole set of handmade Christmas cards “inspired by aboriginal Australian artists.” Wouldn’t my friends be impressed! I set up shop with red paper, BIC pens and a poinsettia arrangement one afternoon. Do you know how tedious it is to dot the paper continuously for an hour? And, at the end of the hour, to find out that the so-called pattern was wavering all over the place, in no way resembled a poinsettia petal, but did resemble a kindergarten project gone amok?” That was the end of that experiment, although I do think that Marilyn actually received it as part of the wrapping for something else. I guess the essence of great art is that it does look easy, but it sure ain’t!

  2. Jackie Smith says:

    I missed this post when you first wrote it and am glad I went back to read it. I am still laughing at the thought of you ironing teabags. And it reminded me of when you convinced me that I, too, could master the art of the photo transfer and went so far as to find me a camera at the Goodwill Store.
    And then there was the time you convinced me I had enough talent to go to the ceramic paint-a-plate place and spend a morning trying to get the paint brush to do what I wanted it to do. So thank you Ann for not suggesting the teabag art piece. But did you get any artistic ideas for used coffee grounds?

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