Friday, June 13, 2008

Part 2 – the culture

Mom and Dad headed home after the buffet, and I spent the day wandering around the museum. What a lovely museum. The bummer was that I missed the Winterthur Quilt Exhibit by less than a week! It ended on Memorial Day. They had 5 or 6 others on display, mostly from the 1930’s. I was surprised to find a Gee’s Bend quilt that was on the floor with the modern art instead of with the quilts.
I didn’t really appreciate oil paintings as such until my sister and I traveled to Venice and Florence. Botticelli changed my mind. The Birth of Venus (which my ever witty sister calls Venus on the half shell) and Primavera were amazing. The photos you see of them everywhere do not do them justice. They are luminous in person. That paintings created in the 1400’s can still be that brilliant boggles my mind.
The St. Louis museum had 3 oil paintings that really made an impression on me. One was of a cathedral in Rome. I can’t recall which one, but it was amazing. I should have taken a picture or written down the information on it.
The other two were Thaddeus and Eunice Burr, painted by Copley in the late 1700’s in Fairfield, Connecticut. I enjoyed the portrait room at the museum. I stood in the middle and played a little game with myself. I tried to tell which country they were from based on their clothes and poses. I was mostly right too. The ones that threw me were a couple paintings of young men from England a few hundred years ago. With all the frills and long curly hair, I really thought they were French monarchy, not English. One striking difference I noticed in the portraits was a between a couple from England who were in their mid 20’s, during the late 1700’s and the Burr’s. The British couple looked like they were in their 50’s, yet Thaddeus and Eunice, also in their 20’s, actually looked like they were in their 20’s. I did a little research to find out more about the Burr’s, but there isn’t much out there other than Thaddeus is Aaron Burr’s uncle, they were good people, very hospitable, signed up for American Independence very early on and Thaddeus may have been a spy. John Hancock was married at their house, and after their house was burnt down during the war, it was rebuilt to look like John Hancock’s residence in Boston, at Hancock’s request. I also found out that the Fairfield Historical Society has a quilt that they believe Eunice made! Now that was an exciting snippet to happen upon. That’s pretty early for quilt making in America, so I’d love to see what it looks like.
The zoo and several museums, including the art museum reside in a gorgeous park in the middle of St. Louis. It was beautiful! There was a golf course, running paths, a long pool with fountains, places to picnic, bikes to rent. You could really spend a lovely day there. There was a wedding in front of the fountains that afternoon (at the top part in the photo above). The bridesmaids wore bright red and the groom was in military finery. The last bridesmaid in line, as well as the last groomsman, each held a dog on leashes that were both wearing red dresses! The one on the bride’s side was a greyhound; the one on the groom’s side was a small, terrier-type of mutt. It was very cute.

I would have liked to have more time to explore the downtown area, so I guess that means I need to go back!

Ashley’s wedding was in the rose garden at the Botanic Garden. I didn’t have time to explore the rest of the garden with all the wedding craziness, so I guess that's another reason to go back! The garden had several Chihuly’s on the grounds. Aren’t these great? I love a good Chihuhly installation! They also had weird statues everywhere, made by a local artist, that I didn’t care for overly much. The iris garden was in full bloom though, and they were beautiful! The colors were amazing.
DiscoJen kept trying to talk me into going up into the arch, but I refused. I don’t do heights, much less in a claustrophobic pod car. I don’t even like to go within 10 feet of the windows in a skyscraper, there’s no way I’m going up into an arch. I mean really, it’s just hanging there!

We also made a trip to the Italian Hill. DiscoJen and I are both of Italian decent, so we really wanted to make it to the grocery store there this trip. It was an interesting neighborhood, but it was a Monday, so most places were closed. We did go to Viviano’s grocery store and get some wonderful Italian specialties to bring back with us. They had 2 different kinds of artichoke hearts that I brought back for Jenny. They had a great special on wine, so I purchased several bottles. You can never have too much wine, can you? If we had brought a cooler, I probably would have gotten more to bring back.
On the corner by Vivano's is a little coffee shop, Shaw’s, that roasts their own coffee right there in the store. DiscoJen was thrilled to find the shade-grown, organic, fair trade, decaf coffee that she had been looking for! You think that’s hard to remember, try going with her to Starbuck’s sometime. I thought I was Sally, from When Harry Met Sally, but she is really Sally. Every time we go, she has this really complicated order, then turns to me and says “they’re never going to get it right.” To which I reply, “of course not, I don’t even know what you ordered and I’ve heard it hundreds of times!”

This building on The Hill cracked me up:
Exactly which "family" do you think it refers to?

Even though there was a ton more to St. Louis, I think I’ll stop there. I have some sewing to do. I’m working on some great eco-friendly, reusable grocery bags. Maybe DiscoJen will get one for Christmas, then she can put her shade-grown, organic, fair trade, decaf coffee in it when she finds it!
I made a couple of them in St. Louis, not as many as I would have liked, but we were on the go a lot. And the children didn't sleep a lot either. The great part of driving and staying at someone’s house is that you can bring your sewing machine along! I’ve been developing my own pattern for the bags, and think I finally have it down. I’ll post some pictures this weekend maybe. So much great fabric, so little time!


Jennie said...

Thanks again for the artichoke hearts! I haven't used them yet- but I will soon! Love the bags, too. I want some!

Heather Bailey said...

Zool & Gozar have to be the BEST dog name ideas ever!!! Thank you for the laugh out loud. Love it!

And then I click over here & your site is called "Accio, fabric!" Love that too!

Funny, funny girl.