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Pickle Me This

July 17, 2016

Chihuly at the ROM


The summer is flying by, as summers do. I spent last week in my hometown of Peterborough visiting my parents, which was lovely, hot and fun. And now back in the city, we went to the ROM yesterday to see the Chihuly exhibit.


I’d never heard of Dale Chihuly before the ROM magazine arrived awhile back with images of his work, although it occurs to me now that he’d been the artist behind the golden tree I’d photographed in Montreal a few weeks ago. And that perhaps encountering Chihuly’s work out in the world is most striking way to experience it, but the ROM exhibit itself was pretty stirring.


My favourite thing about the exhibit was that it’s the rare thing that all four of us—whose ages range from 3 to 37—could appreciate on the same level. The same things I loved about it and was struck by were what struck the children too, and we were all of us in awe of the colours, the light. The spectacle.


And like nearly everybody else, my favourite part of it was the Persian Ceiling, under which we laid down and just looked, and there was so much to see, and how the light from the ceiling transformed the world all around us.


September 5, 2011

A is for Art

Location: Art Gallery of Ontario

Alphabetically speaking, we’ve had a very successful weekend. Though this picture is sort of cheating. We didn’t actually go to the Art Gallery, but rather walked by it on our walk home from the wonderful Textile Museum of Canada. The Magic Squares exhibit was cool in particular as I’d just finished reading The Quarc Issue, which was about the intersections between art and science. The exhibit was about the intersections between mathematics and art in West African clothing, the mathematical and spiritual significance of many of the patterns. Then after that, we went downstairs to play with looms, do some knitting, and molest various kinds of fibres. Finally, we explored the excellent Museum Shop where we did most of our Christmas shopping…

September 1, 2011

Glass Worlds

The ROM gift shop is one of my favourite local bookstores, and I covet several volumes from their collection. And it was to my great joy that last weekend I acquired a prized one, Glass Worlds: Paperweights from the ROM’s Collection by Brian Musselwhite (who has the best name ever). The book is a catalogue from the ROM’s 2007 paperweight exhibition, much of which is still on show, actually, tucked away in the northeast corner of the building on the 3rd floor– I suspect I am its most frequent visitor. I find the paperweights absolutely beautiful, and I’m fascinated by the juxtaposition of the dullness of their utility with their absolute unnecessary-ness at the same time. As well as their extravagance.

Musselwhite notes that their popularity grew with growth of literacy, and the popularity of letter-writing. Before most homes were outfitted with electricity, desks would be placed near windows for the best light, but with windows come breezes, hence the paperweight. Though Musselwhite points out that many other objects could have served its purpose: “Most likely, as the Victorians spent so much time at their desks, they wanted to look at something beautiful.”

April 27, 2010

Be sure to die near water

We went to the ROM today, which was an amazing experience, because Harriet is now 11 months old and therefore big enough to get something out of the Kids’ Gallery, and the museum was quiet enough on a Tuesday afternoon for an 11 month-old to play there with abandon. Her favourite part of the under-six area was a toy with a variety of cranks she could turn, and mine was the exhibit of children’s and minature tea sets. Elsewhere, I learned that fossils are seven times heavier than bones (and therefore the dinosaur exhbit’s floors are specially enforced) and that if you wish to be fossilized, be sure to die near water.

January 24, 2010

Kettle from a headlight

Today I loved Cut/Paste: Creative Reuse in Canadian Design, an exhibit on at the Royal Ontario Museum until the end of the month. Featuring a gorgeous quilt made out of ugly one size-fits-all t-shirts, a toaster fashioned illicitly in penitentiaries out of a cigarette tin, guitar string and a shingle, a lamp made out of a chair, jewelry made out of skateboard decks, and a coffee table made from a toboggon. But my favourite was the K-42 Electric (tea!) Kettle manufactured by GE in the 1940s. Materials were scarce due to wartime, so the kettle was made from a recycled car headlight, but it would set a standard for kettle design throughout the 1950s, and become iconic in kettlish realms. (Image taken from The Canadian Design Resource).

November 6, 2009

Three Iconic Englishwomen

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