Monday, June 20, 2011


We’re not done with you yet, Sheila Hicks! While the Addison exhibition Sheila Hicks: 50 Years (which has since moved on to the ICA in Philadelphia) provided a well of inspiration for many students in Andover, Lawrence, and far beyond, two classes have integrated weaving into their entire school year!

To right: Cardboard loom weavings by Oliver School first graders

Mary Guerrero’s first grade students from the Henry K. Oliver School in Lawrence started out on small cardboard looms, soon moving to collaborative looms made from painting stretcher bars (just like Sheila Hicks’s own mini-loom!). More recently they have been working with artist Kate Delaney on a large counterbalance loom that is reminiscent of those used in the Lawrence textile mills. Consistently thinking outside the box has included experimenting with materials including yarn, pipe-cleaners, lanyard, sticks, and plastic – all while connecting weaving to writing, math, social studies, and local history.

Meanwhile, in Mrs. O and Miss Sarah’s Kindergarten Prep class at The Children’s Place down the street from the Addison, the study of textiles has contributed to numerous other topics including the city of Paris, France (where Sheila Hicks lives!), spider webs, baskets, and spheres (also part of the year-long Great Shape Search curriculum). Recently Kindergarten Prep students designed and worked on hula hoop weavings (which also inspired the same in Mary Guerrero’s class) and made game boards by weaving colored paper.

Spring-time meetings between the Kprep and Oliver teachers and Addison education staff were mutually inspirational and infected the students as well. What if the two classes worked in collaboration? We could make weavings together and exhibit them for parents and the community! So, on June 16th Kprep met Room 203 from the Oliver School and the collaborative creative energy began to flow.

To left: Oliver student gets a tour of Kprep’s weaving projects from her new buddy

Room 203 boarded a big yellow bus, stopping first at The Children’s Place at Phillips Academy. The first graders were paired with a buddy in Kprep who became a tour guide, sharing all of their weavings and other classroom projects.
-Did you see this one? We made that!
-You take one, you put it on, and you weave it.

Above: Fence weaving outside The Children’s Place at Phillips Academy

After our classroom tour, we filed outside where the buddies began to weave the fence around The Children’s Place playground. We experimented with techniques and helped each other with ideas:
-We made a X from here. And I kind of tied it from here. We tied it together. This one I twisted.
-Hey, you could stretch it to make it longer.

At right: Collaborative weaving in the Addison Museum Learning Center

After a picnic lunch in front of the Addison, the fast friends filed into the Addison’s Museum Learning Center to collaboratively weave on cardboard looms. The first graders helped warp the looms and all the students took turns weaving.
- He does the under and I do the over.
- We’re weaving from both ends so we can weave together.
- We doubled it so it won’t fall apart.

Although it was hard for the new friends to say goodbye after such an exciting day of sharing their weaving ideas and techniques, the two classes will meet again at a reception for an exhibit of their individual and collaborative work at Café Verde in Lawrence. Parents and community members are invited to meet and see the students’ work at Café Verde and visit the other sites where the students’ work is exhibited.

Public Reception: June 23, 6pm-7pm - Café Verde 275 Essex Street, Lawrence

Exhibition: July 1 – August 20 - Lawrence Heritage State Park Visitors Center 1 Jackson Street, Lawrence

Beginning June 22 until they last: Oliver School Tree Weavings, corner Haverhill and Lawrence Streets, Lawrence

Currently on view until they last: The Children’s Place Fence Weaving, 10 Abbott Street, Andover, MA

Friday, June 3, 2011

Collection Dialogues: Conservation Discoveries and Quandaries

Braving tornado warnings on Wednesday night, the audience for our second Collection Dialogue, Conservation Discoveries and Quandaries, had a close-up view of some of the conservation successes, disappointments, and challenges facing objects in the Addison collection. Curators Allison Kemmerer and Susan Faxon shared over a dozen works from the collection, from iconic oil paintings such as John La Farge’s Sketch of Maua, Apia, One of our Boat Crew, which was featured in the recent La Farge show this winter, to multimedia works on paper and album pages of Peter Sekaer’s photographs.

Each work posed a unique set of questions, including what to do when a figure had been painted over by the artist but was, after many years, bleeding through the top layer of paint; how often to exhibit fragile watercolors that fade when exposed to light; and how to restore a painting that had been cleaned overzealously in a previous conservation effort.

One of the most memorable stories involved George Inness’s The Coming Storm. Inness’s son George Inness Jr., who was also a painter, had painted a large canvas depicting a pair of oxen which he had left with his father. Unbeknownst to the son, George Sr. appropriated this canvas and created his own landscape, thus obliterating his son’s work. Years later, George Jr. saw his father’s painting The Coming Storm on exhibition. The light hit the painting in such a way that the underpainting of the oxen was clearly visible. Allison and Susan showed an x-ray of the painting that revealed the painting underneath, and with close inspection, the audience for our Collection Dialogue was also able to see the outline of the team of oxen in The Coming Storm.

We hope you’ll join us for our final Collection Dialogue, American and British Silver, which offers another opportunity to closely explore another aspect of the Addison’s collection:

Thursday 16 June 3:00 pm
American and British Silver
with Brian Allen, The Mary Stripp and R. Crosby Kemper Director
Be among the first to see a newly acquired teapot that belonged to Phillips Academy founders Phoebe Foxcroft Phillips and Samuel Phillips, Jr., along with other examples of eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century silver

Collection Dialogues are free and open to the public and are held in the Museum Learning Center in the Addison’s Sidney R. Knafel Wing. Please enter through the Elson Art Center.

For more information, please visit our website.