I've meant to write another post before now, but the brilliant late summer, early autumn weather has been encouraging me to spend lots of time outdoors.
When indoors, I've been reading lots of good books, starting and finishing many knitting projects, doing some sketching, and having lunch and tea with friends. I have also spent way too many hours following news coverage of our very lengthy Presidential election campaign season. In about an hour, I'll be switching on the television to watch the two parties' Vice Presidential candidates debate. No doubt I will be shouting at the television within the first quarter hour of the debate.
However, there are other ways to occupy one's interest during autumn in New York.
Yesterday, I met a friend over at the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, It is a division of the Smithsonian Institute that is devoted to design.
The Museum was renovated a year or so ago, and now has a very different interior look in its gallery spaces. Most of the windows of this grand old mansion that face on to Central Park are kept shuttered and blinded. There is quite an emphasis on visitors being giving the opportunity to have inter-active electronic connections to the various exhibits, and even to the minimal area now devoted to the CH's own collection of beautifully designed items.
The newly opened exhibit that drew us is called Scraps and fills a few rooms with very interesting examples of how various textiles can be creatively recycled.
As someone who herself enjoys reusing fabrics and yarns, and playing around with patching and even darning, I found this a lovely exhibit.
We were clever to time our arrival at the museum not long after its opening hour, so we were able to examine the treasures in Scraps in a tranquil atmosphere.
One of my favorite displays, shown in the above photo, was a collection of tiny (thumb nail sized) amulets made from tiny, tiny pockets of embroidered fabrics, that had been stuffed with some sort of stiff stuffing, to which in some cases odd little bits of metal had been hung. My photo does not do them a favor. They were indeed gems.
The "interactive" aspect of the New CH involves each visitor being given an electronic wand, about the size of a chunky Sharpie pen. One end allowed us to connect with the label for any display that interested us, which then allowed us to find a record of our interest in that display to be retrieved when we got home. (If we had a computer or smart phone as Everyone Seems to Have these days.)
I was intrigued by this process, but also wish that more information about many of the items displayed throughout the Museum might have been divulged. My appetite was not really satisfied.
The exit doorway from the Scraps show lead to a lovely space under a skylight. Can you see the row of velvet pillows arrayed along the expanse of the window seat? The pillows reminded me of gumdrops.
It was a pleasure to pass by a window that was not covered up, and to have a glimpse of the green grounds around the Museum, as well as a below street level storage area. I found pleasure in realizing that even the CH seems not always to have clever places to store everything.
Here is another view of that entrance/exit from the Scraps show. Again, the presence of the electric fan amused me. Very elegant.
We continued upstairs to have a look at other exhibits.
This is just a detail of a beautiful cabinet that was created during the era of tulip mania.
These old candle holders have clever and functional designs that pleased my eyes.
Many of the rooms at the CH have large fire places in which fires will never again burn.
I liked the look of this fabric in a show featuring 1950's design.
Spooky, eh? One of the interactive rooms offered the willing participants the opportunity to play around with wall paper designs on a digital sketch book, and to have the results of your doodling projected on several walls of the room.
I was hoping to show you a link to what my interactive pen created but the link does not seem to work. I can see it, but cannot share it with you.
Here is a very cute little pedal vehicle that was part of another CH exhibit. I could not resist taking a photo. Photography is allowed throughout the Museum, as long as there is no flash.
The Museum has a tiny cafe, that has good food, but clearly is not large enough to handle the demand of midday museum guests looking for lunch. However, we persevered and enjoyed being able to have our lunch at one of the tables set up in garden.
Afterwards, we walked over to Central Park, entering at the edge of the Jackie Onassis Reservoir, with its surrounding jogging path.
At some hours of the day, the jogging path is quite busy, filled with one-way traffic made of of dedicated joggers. Around 2 p.m. in the afternoon, it is more tranquil, and looking across the reservoir provides a pretty view.
Even tiptoeing to have a look over the surrounded iron fencing provides some lovely views of natural plantings, created by talented Central Park gardeners.
Since the day's earlier clouds and fog had cleared, and the weather was mild, I decided to walk home across the Park, rather than taking the crosstown bus.
A few pretty autumn natural souvenirs caught my eye, and I stooped to pick them up and brought them home. My plan was to draw them today.
Alas, later last evening I began to feel a sporadic, sharp pain in my lower back, that actually played havoc with my getting a good night's rest. Ouch!
I think that I might have strained some sort of muscle during yesterday's long walk, and hope these pains soon goes away. This morning I found some vintage Advil in my medicine cabinet and have taken a few of these pills during the day. Perhaps it is only a placebo effect, but the pain has somewhat lessened.
I wish that each of you who are interested in textiles would be able to see the Scraps show before it closes mid-April. It's a small show, but quite beautiful and thought provoking.
Thank you for all your visits and comments here. I am getting closer to making my smart phone purchase, but definitely would still welcome any advice Best wishes to you all.