The “Basketry: Traditional and Contemporary Woven Art” Basketry Exhibition at the Pickens Museum Of Art & History, in Pickens, SC which I attended last week was wonderful! What a little haven of culture that place is! I would never have expected it. I will tell you all about the exhibit, but I suppose I should tell you about the our overall experience first. My friend, Lynn Hoyt, and I traveled there Sept 11, specifically to see the basketry exhibition.
We stayed in Greenville, SC, at the Drury Hotel. Have you ever stayed at a Drury? Well, I had never heard of them. I have to tell you, I did not envision coming home and raving about the hotel in my blog. But it was that nice. Very reasonably priced, and included a free hot dinner (with wine, etc, included) as well as a full hot breakfast. The room was one of the nicest I have ever stayed in, and boy did the hot tub feel good! I highly recommend them. You can tell them I sent you, but of course they have no idea who I am. Next time I visit I hope I will be able to take advantage of their free hot dinner, we were on our way to the exhibit's opening reception and had to skip that part. But there will be a next time!
For lunch, we found a fabulous Indian restaurant, The Saffron, and indulged in an exotic lunch buffet! Heavenly.
Greenville is a lovely city, with freeways and a zoo and meeting centers, public murals and a river running through it. We could have spent weeks exploring, but we had only a couple of hours. We did have a few minutes to visit their downtown. The little streets were very charming. They had streetcars, (above, left) which would have been fun to ride in. and lots of pedestrian plazas to sit on and admire public artwork from.
But we only had time to visit the Beaded Frog, (right) and Ten Thousand Villages, and buy up some goodies. We both were wishing we had at least another day to explore and try all the great places to eat and shop!
Pickens is a small town, only about a 30-40 minute drive from the big city of Greenville SC. It has the feel of a real country town, a little sleepy perhaps. But the museum - wow. Definitely worth the visit.
But FIRST we spent some time in the history part of the museum. We saw artifacts all the way from the Archaic period through WWII.
It is a converted jail, and retained some of the lockup features, which makes it doubly interesting. One of my favorite parts was the little cell they kept intact. I am sure they cleaned this up quite a bit for us. Also notice they still have the barred windows. Lynn did agree to stand outside it, so I could take a picture.
Upstairs was the Cherokee Carver's Exhibit, very nice. You can see they kept a lockup door in this exhibit area, also. It is in the wall at right, next to the carved masks.
The Carver's Exhibit was wonderful!
One of the things I really liked was the actual maul and wedges or "gluts" made of oak by Stan Tooni, Sr. These are used to split the logs he carves. These are traditional, handmade tools, which of course are made by the carver. These were made in 2009...Though made of oak and very hard, I'll bet he wears a few of those out!
Some of my favorite carvings were "Corn Maiden," 2008, by John Grant (of stone, wood, and corn, at left,) and "Standing Guard," by James "Bud" Smith (of cherry wood, right.) But it was really hard to pick, everything was so beautiful!
In the middle of the Cherokee Carver's Exhibit, there was an extraordinary bench made of twisted wood. I confess, I was so busy trying it out and taking photos of it, I neglected to get the wood and maker information...but here it is! Lynn was kind enough to sit on it for me, so you can get the scale. I would LOVE to have a whole house full of furniture like this. It was comfortable, too! (Don't forget, you can click on any of these photos to see them closer!)
Another great part of the downstairs exhibits was this fabulous dinosaur skeleton constructed of metal pieces...I thought it was a real raptor skeleton at first! It is constructed largely of rebar and large scale machine chains - like bicycle chains, but huge!
Visit again tomorrow and I hope to have my basketry exhibit photos up...the BEST PART!