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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bowers Museum Day Trip

First, I just want to say my heart goes out to all the people who have been affected by the devastating tornadoes that are tearing apart so many lives this year.  I hope the terrible waves of devastation are over, there has been more than enough suffering.  


I received an email the other day reminding me the exhibit at the Bowers Museum, Gemstone Carvings: The Masterworks of Harold Van Pelt was ending this weekend.  So, I made sure to scurry over there this afternoon to take a peek.  When I got there, I discovered there were also a couple of other exhibits that looked very interesting, so I was very pleased I had made the effort to get there.  But, it is going to make for a bit of a long post!  ;-)

It was a gorgeous day, the sun was shining and the slight breeze was soothing and cool.  If you've never been to the Bowers, you should make sure to visit someday.  It is a little gem of a museum tucked into the heart of Santa Ana.  It's grounds are sometimes used for weddings and wedding photographs.  In fact, as I was leaving and taking pictures of their gorgeous roses, I was the sole spectator for a wedding photo shoot that was going on on their lawn, while half a world away, there was another wedding taking place that the entire world was watching.

I must apologize in advance that my photos came out blurry.  I was allowed to photograph in two of the galleries, but was not allowed to use flash or tripod, but I did the best I could without them.  I was also shooting through the glass of the display cases and trying to avoid the reflections as much as possible.  The photos looked much better when reviewed on the camera than they did when I got home and got them all downloaded!  . . . Funny that!  ;-)

Anyway, this post is going to be a bit heavy on photographs, even though they are not the best quality.

On the way to the gallery where the gemstone carvings were displayed, I passed by this glass sculpture by Loretta Yang titled, A Great Wish.  It is such a sweet sculpture, but I wish it had a better background against which to view it!  It is nice to have the light behind it, but it would be great if there wasn't the window/door behind it.

This little agate beastie with the little gold nose is actually a drinking vessel.  It sat prominently in the front display case to welcome you into the room.

He used a variety of materials, such as this petrified palm wood for this jar.

And agate for these spoons.

And amethyst for this sweet little cup.  Could you just imagine this in a blue sapphire, emerald green or ruby red?

I was amazed by the quartz items!  I thought they were glass pieces decorated with the gemstones, but no . . . they were actually pieces carved out of large blocks of clear quartz adorned with other bits of carved gemstones.

Here's a little bit of a close up of the one with the aquamarine base.

A quartz apothecary jar.

The quartz flower vase has little pink tourmaline flowers and green tourmaline leaves peeking out from the little cut out on the side of the vase.

Just look at these quartz eggs and the carved jewels!  How beautiful!

And a close-up of those delicious looking little jewels.

Ito Jakuchu - Rooster, Hen and Hydrageas
After visiting the Van Pelt gallery I decided to check out the Ito Jakuchu: A Man with No Age exhibit.  It's not the sort of art I usually get overly excited about, but I really did enjoy his work.  They didn't allow photography in that exhibit, so I am borrowing a few images from the book that I succumbed to buying from the museum shop; Japanese Masterworks from The Price Collection.  I learned quite a bit about their painting techniques that gave me new respect for their works.  Made me want to get my face right up to the paintings to inspect them even closer.  Too bad museums tend to frown on that type of thing!

Ito Jakuchu - Cranes, Bamboo and Flowering Plum
Apparently, they use extremely thin ink and never overlap their strokes, so the ink doesn't crack when the scrolls are rolled and unrolled.  Mistakes cannot be erased or corrected.  Everything has to be placed correctly.  There was also a display of the types of brushes (along with a video of an artist showing his brushes and sharing how they were made and cleaned) and a display of the types of pigments used as well.  It was all very interesting and inspiring.

Ito Jakuchu - Tiger
I just loved this little tiger!  The pose seems so whimsical to me.  Just a tiger taking a little bath, perhaps in preparation of a nice little nap!  If you could just see the detail, nearly every hair is individually drawn.

Then before I tottered off to Tangata to see if I could rustle up some dessert I passed by the Quilts: Two Centuries of American Tradition and Technique and couldn't resist popping in to have a look see.  I was also allowed to photograph in there, but again, no flash/tripod, so you can just get a bit of an idea of the quilts they had on display.  These were some of my favorites.

Star of Bethlehem Quilt c. 1840
This one is an example of the Star of Bethlehem pattern made of cotton by an unknown maker c. 1840.

Rose Wreath Quilt c. 1850
This example of the Rose Wreath pattern, c. 1850 was hand appliqued, hand quilted and hand set by an unknown maker.  I love the colors in it.  

Lace and Silk Quilt
I forgot to take a snap of the information card for this one, but I seem to remember that it was a lace quilt from the Victorian era.  I had never seen a vintage quilt that had incorporated lace in it before and I would have loved to take it home with me!

Signature Quilt c. 1930 - Pleasant Grove, Missouri
This pretty blue and white Signature Quilt c. 1930 hails from Pleasant Grove, Missouri and has dozens and dozens of signatures on it.  I wonder if any of your friends or relatives might have signed it?

Double Checkerboard Yo-Yo Quilt c. 1934 by Mrs. Grace Deane Anderson
I like yo-yo's and thought this quilt was really cute.  A lot of work, but really cute!  I especially liked the way she used the yo-yo's in the edging.  It was made by Mrs. Grace Deane Anderson c. 1934.

Glorified Nine Patch c. 1940 by Nancy Beard Webb
This Glorified Nine Patch was made by Nancy Beard Webb from Greenfield, Missouri c. 1940.  It was hand pieced and quilted.

I got delayed enough that I missed dessert at Tangata's, but the museum shop was still open, so I ended up buying more books!  I just can't seem to resist!  There was the one I mentioned above on the Price Collection, The Fine Art of Kimono Embroidery and a few others about American Indians.

I polished off the afternoon with a few snaps of the roses on their grounds.  They were just beautiful!

Oh, and I did finally get my dessert!  I stopped by Dairy Queen on the way home and treated myself to a chocolate dipped ice cream cone!  Yummmm! ! ! ! !

Well, I guess that is more than enough for one day!  I sure hope you'll come along on my next trip!  I am heading down to San Diego in the morning!  I hope to share that trip with you in a couple of days!  Have a great weekend!


  1. Very nice post lots of good information, to me a post can never be too long your's had lots of color and great photos. The exhibit was most beautiful Sherrill. I Love the star of bethlehem quilt, I grow a flower in my garden named after this. But I was most intrigued with the amethyst ooooh very nice!!! Thank you so much sweetie your birthday wishes I had a lovely day.
    Have a great weekend,

  2. :) Thanks, Rosemary! I'm glad you liked it! Have a happy Mother's Day!

  3. Hello dear,
    I went to thank you for your
    comments and compliments you,
    the photos are beautiful.
    Have a nice weekend

  4. Susy, Thank you for your very kind words! I hope you have a great week-end and a Happy Mother's Day!