February 9th, 2011

storyteller doll

DIY, Oz and Alphabetical Order

Monday evening, I went to the Australian Embassy (hence, the Oz in the entry title) for a program on "Contemporary Perspectives on Fiber and the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef." There were four speakers - three museum curators and an artist - who discussed textile art, the DIY movement (especially things like yarn bombing), and the reef. Mostly there were pretty pictures, though there was some discussion of using fiber art to increase environmental awareness and everyone gave at least lip service to the intersections between art and science. The most interesting speaker was Matilda McQuaid from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum who talked about similarity of technique between fiber used for art and fiber used in industrial applications.

Afterwards, there was a reception - cheese and crackers and fruit and little sandwiches and heart-shaped cookies, plus Australian wines. I talked with some other people who had worked on the reef, mostly about how much fun it was. I had a more serious conversation with a group of other women about the denigration of artwork by women ad how craft gets characterized as less important than non-functional art. All in all, it was a pretty interesting evening.

By the way, for those of you who haven't seen it, the reef is at the Museum of Natural History on the Mall until 24 April. The museum is free so you really have no excuse for missing it if you're in Washington.

I also wanted to mention this article about the impact of last names on people's behavior. I sent the article to Robert, who hates waiting in lines and told him perhaps he is just one of those poor, impatient Z folks. He was dismissive of the whole thing and claimed he could not remember any impact of his last name on anything in school, except possibly sitting in the back of the room. When I thought about it, the only time I remember choosing anything based on alphabetical order had to do with choosing gym classes in high school. Some classes would fill up and I suppose that one could be traumatized by having to take folk dance instead of tennis. (Actually, I recall being equally traumatized by all gym classes except for folk dance. I also remember folk dance including the hustle and the bus stop, but I don't want to think about what that says about my high school and/or the 1970's.) Anyway they alternated which end of the alphabet they started with, so it was us folks with nice sensible names in the middle of the alphabet who got scarred for life.

What was your experience of alphabetical order when you grew up?
storyteller doll

A Puzzling Way to Be Two Places at Once

I stumbled upon a note I wrote to myself that says, "You can't stop people from thinking." This may be the least puzzling note to myself that I have found in months.

One of the things that annoys me is that everything happens at the same time. That is why, for example, I will be nervously trying to finish a briefing dry run on Friday morning in time to get over to the Department of Commerce. But the specific things that are happening at the same time that I may have found a solution to are the Virginia Storytelling Gathering and the American Crossword Puzzle Tournament. (Those are also the same weekend as Sharing the Fire, which I really need to get to one of these years, especially given how many New England storytellers I know.) Being on the board of VASA makes this a no-brainer and I am committed to the Gathering. I've even already paid my registration.

Today I got the registration reminder postcard from the ACPT. And it reminded me that one can play online or by mail. It doesn't quite count, of course, but it would be useful for the practice since there may actually be a year that I don't have a schedule conflict.