After a long time emailing, cousin Betsy and I finally got together for a visit. We met at the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the perfect place for two artists to reconnect. We looked at art; we talked about art; we talked about family. It was a perfect day.
It took me a long time to process this visit. I finally settled on an image of a carved panel on the front door of the Huntington Avenue entrance to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston. I felt it symbolized what had happened that day and where a door had opened.
My interpretation took the form of a large square plate with three smaller plates. The image of the door panel is carved into the clay, the center is painted and dots are like compass points. Little crisscross bowls complete the Betsy Collection.
When I think about this day, the first image that pops into my head is seeing Betsy by the doorway. She turns to me and I notice how blue her eyes are and then how excited I am to to see her. We opened the door to the museum and the art surrounded us.
The Betsy Collection was complete when I received an email from the Museum of Fine Arts this spring announcing MFA Director Malcolm Rogers’ retirement. Notice the carved door panels. He’s ready to exit from these doors.
I’ve been a member of the Museum of Fine Arts for at least 25 years. I’ve watched the MFA move from the only game in town to having to compete with the contemporary ICA and stoic Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum, just to name few of the Boston Giants. The transition was led by Malcolm Rogers and he succeeded in ways that make me proud to be a member. The carved door panel appears symbolic as the place where Rogers with leave from; for me, it is symbolic as the place to enter and begin anew.
“A Table Shared”, the theme for this fall’s Potters Place show and sale, inspired me to think about the conversations we share at our family table based on the answers to “What did you do today?” This round platter(above), oval dish and oblong plate(below) were created after a trip with my husband to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum .
The courtyard with it’s delicate tile patio, the rooms of dark wood filled with paintings, hand painted tiles, tapestries, prints and letters make up this museum that was built to house Mrs Gardner’s vast art collection.
My carved oblong plate has the feel of the interior courtyard, lush with foliage.
Frames without paintings remind the visitor that an art theft took place in this building… “On the night of March 18, 1990, a pair of thieves disguised as Boston police officers entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and roamed the Museum’s galleries, stealing thirteen works of art.” This crime remains unsolved and the artwork lost forever.
Detail of exterior decoration that made a lasting impression and influenced the lyrical carving on this oval dish.
I may return to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum soon to view John Singer Sargent’s work again. Mrs Gardner commissioned a portrait and forged a relationship with him as a friend and patron. Just a short walk away is an exhibition of the John Singer Sargent watercolors at the Museum of Fine Arts. The two exhibits are experienced in such a different way. At the Isabella, it is like being in someone’s home where you feel like you get a glimpse inside the life of a great collector. You look at the art as if seeing it through her eyes. That is the conversation that I brought to my family table.
The family table is a place where one can share, learn and connect. It is also a place where functional pottery brings beauty to everyday life.