Setting my intentions for 2016

This past New Year’s Day, my family and I decided to take advantage of the fact that the North Carolina Museum of Art was open, and we got tickets to see two complementary exhibits that are currently up: The World’s of M.C. Escher: Nature, Science, and Imagination, and Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester and the Creative Mind.

Early New Year’s Day turned out to be an excellent time to view these exhibits. Parking was plentiful, and people had not yet gotten started with their days, so we weren’t just able to “go” to the exhibits, we were actually able to “see” them.

Escher was of particular interest to me because I have long thought that crochet is the perfect medium for tessellations. On the way in from the parking lot, these tessellated lizards greeted all museum goers:

Outside the Escher & DaVinci exhibit at the North Carolina Art Museum
Outside the Escher & DaVinci exhibit at the North Carolina Art Museum

Once inside the museum, tickets purchased and ready to be scanned, we made our way to the Escher portion of the exhibit:

At the North Carolina Museum of Art
At the North Carolina Museum of Art

As I took this photo, I was reminded by museum personnel that once inside the exhibit, no photos would be allowed, so instead, I used my phone to take copious notes.

One thing I learned that was of interest to me was that Escher frequently reused elements of earlier works, and there were instances where an later work that used elements of an earlier work would be situated in close proximity so that the viewer could see the element in both contexts. I took comfort in this being a legitimate artistic approach as I often reuse elements in one project at a later date in another project.

After looking at the many works on exhibit, it became clear that one of Escher’s astounding gifts was that of precision. In drawing after drawing and woodcut after woodcut, I could not help but marvel at the lack of error. The mediums he chose to work in were not as forgiving as crochet, so there was no opportunity to frog. If he made a mistake, he would have had to start the piece over.

One of my favorite pieces was one titled “Street in Scanno, Abruzzi” (which you can see here) which had an air of the fantastic about it and had an earnest knitter in the front right corner who was out to ply her trade in the fresh air and sunlight.

When I finally emerged from the Escher exhibit, we then made our way to the DaVinci exhibit.

Unlike the Escher exhibit, photos were allowed. Also unlike the Escher exhibit, my bag had to be inspected if I were going to take it in. Did I have cosmetics? No. Any sharp instruments? No. (I had uncharacteristically left all my crochet behind). Any writing implements? No. Any foodstuffs?

It was as I was asked this question that I came across a forgotten mustard packet buried deep within my practically perfect granny square bag, and I knew that when I had gotten that mustard packet, I had gotten no one packet, but two.

I continued to search and then held up my mustard packets when I had found them both.

The person inspecting bags was kind enough not to laugh at me and placed the two mustard packets in a plastic bag, then gave me a claim check ticket so that I could retrieve my mustard on the way out.

The DaVinci exhibit was fascinating. For reasons that he never elucidated, DaVinci, who was left-handed at a time that left-handedness was considered (at best) a moral failing, often wrote in mirror image writing from right to left rather than left to right. Given the often practical and pragmatic nature of his work, my guess is he did it because it was more comfortable and efficient and reduced the chance for his writing hand to smear his freshly made notes.

And because I was allowed to take photos, I did, and I put them in this album at Flickr.

My family again found themselves waiting for me as I finished up going through the exhibit, but eventually, I emerged, but without my claim check readily available. Fortunately for me, it seems no one else had had to check two packets of mustard, so I was able to retrieve them without incident.

So today, with the festivities and adventures of the new year behind me, I turned once again to my crochet office and my efforts to bring order to what had been a rather chaotic, but rather than trying to find places for things, today I focused on trying to get something done, and I made modest, but measurable progress on the dog face for the Rainbow Comfort Shawl.

Here is how it looked with the one good ear that I was able to get done:

A dog face in need of two eyes and a second ear
A dog face in need of two eyes and a second ear

So my intention for this year is actually get my office in order, finish or frog any unfinished pieces, and go to more museum exhibits.

2 thoughts on “Setting my intentions for 2016

  1. I love it! Checking two packets of mustard sounds like something I would do! LOL Both exhibits sound fascinating! I hope they make it to the Frist Center in Nashville one of these days!

  2. How fortunate to have two amazing and complementary exhibits back-to-back! The work of both Escher and Da Vinci fascinates me and my son who happens to own a detailed book about Da Vinci which has photos of Da Vinci’s drawings similar to those you have in your Flickr album.
    We instantly recognised the tessellated lizards because we have a jigsaw puzzle where all the pieces are shaped like those lizards (except the puzzle calls them ‘salamanders’) I love how your first thought is to apply the principles to crochet! That is something I would do too and if you have a look in Ravelry, there will be some Escher-influenced designs there by other crafters (including the Escher lizards). Very clever stuff.
    Attendance at inspiring exhibitions like these is a great way to start the year! Thank you for sharing it to inspire others in turn. Happy 2016!

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