Thursday, March 20, 2008

design counts

One last post that's largely about our trip to Chicago. (What will I talk about next, I wonder!?) The Art Institute had a lot of very good design, both as exhibits and as elements of the museum. This first picture is just a shadow--natural light caused these shadows. That's the railing that keeps tourists from backing up while looking at art and falling down a big staircase. I got absorbed in how artistic the fixtures were. This was some railing...even its shadow on the marble is worthwhile.

There was an exhibit of Prairie School Architecture and since it's hard to put a Frank Lloyd Wright house right into a museum, there were stained glass windows from a variety of places. I find these patterns intoxicating.
I took pictures of us looking at stained glass (see our shadows?) I love seeing textures like this in knitting, and I'd love to live in a house that had just one or two of these windows. Imagine the shadow it would make on a wood floor as the daylight flooded through.

On Saturday, we chose to stay out in the suburbs, because we had to gussy up for a wedding in the late afternoon. Instead, we went to Spring Valley Nature Sanctuary . They were having a special Sugar Bush Fair and we went to check out the living history farm, the wetlands nature preserve, and, of course, anything that's called "Sugar Bush" means...maple syrup, a particular favorite of the professor's. We visited a representation of an 1880's German-American homestead, complete with Belgians for working the field. (also? chickens, geese, cows, a pig, and a lot of mud.) We then wandered through a few flurries over to see several stations where maple sugaring was demonstrated.

While I was used to the New England methods, the Native American concept--of heating rocks in the fire, and then putting them into the sap to heat, and therefore evaporate it down to syrup--was new to me. Finally, we forked over $4 a piece to have pancakes, sausage and lots of syrup as a treat. The hot cocoa was welcome about then. Folks were very friendly and chatted with us. Although the crowd was somewhat diverse, you could see the strong influence of Central European settlement among Caucasians in this part of the USA. Lots of people who look like they stepped out of a Brueghel--sturdy strong sorts, diving into their steaming breakfasts. This looked very different from the more slight towheads of Kentucky's British, Scottish and Irish ancestry. The US is such a richly diverse place.

The last stop before the wedding was a trip to Ikea. I was restrained, and didn't buy a thing, but I'd never seen an Ikea before, and for a design junkie like me, it was well worth it. I was enthralled! We nearly (but didn't) come home with an armoire! It was very tempting!

Last blogworthy thing.... You may notice that on March 21st, the map on the side of my blog will be "archived", and I'll probably have a brand-new empty map. In the last year, this blog has had 16,626 hits! Please, drop me a line and help celebrate this...I'm so proud to have visited with this many of you, from all over the map. Let's fill up a new map together, shall we?


Blogger Romi said...

You are just too cute for words, Joannne. :)

March 21, 2008 at 12:57 AM  
Anonymous AlisonH said...

Hot rocks in the maple. I've never heard of that before! And I used to live where the weather reports around February and March were often, rather, sap-flow reports.

I love how the horse on the left (their coloring is gorgeous) is looking on appreciatively. Beautiful mane, check.

March 21, 2008 at 11:10 PM  

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