Day 5: Renwick and Smithsonian

Rainy Friday, we set out early in the ITE van for Washington DC and the Bethesda MD home of our host, Phil Brown and his wife Barbara Wolanin. Phil fed us sandwiches while we took in his excellent collection, then it’s off to the Capitol to visit the Renwick gallery of American craft, the Smithsonian’s National  Gallery of American Art, and the Luce study archive at the Smithsonian. We’re overstuffed  on fine art and fine craft by the end of this very full day. Neil Turner, our missing Australian, arrives from Ireland and joins the team. I’ve included images of artworks that impressed each of our ITE fellows, to help you understand what makes these artists tick.

En route to Phil Brown's we pause to see the 29th biennual juried exhibition of the Creative Crafts Council at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda. Neil Turner and Malcolm Martin don't seem surprised to encounter a piece by Phil, judged first place in the wood division.

En route to Phil Brown’s we pause to see the 29th biennual juried exhibition of the Creative Crafts Council at the Strathmore Mansion in Bethesda. Neil Turner and Malcolm Martin  encounter a piece by our host Phil, judged first place in the wood division. Later we learned that Phil has a similar piece in the Renwick permanent collection.  Way to go Phil!

Our host Phil Brown of the Montgomery County woodturners has a very fine collection of contemporary work. Here he explains the exacting proportions of an imposing turned-and-carved vessel by Hilliard Booth.

Our host Phil Brown of the Montgomery County woodturners has his own very fine collection of contemporary work. Here he explains the exacting proportions of an imposing turned-and-carved vessel made by Hilliard Booth.

Neil Turner discusses the finer points of woodturning with our DC host Phil Brown.

Neil Turner, who hails from Perth, Australia, discusses the finer points of woodturning with our DC host Phil Brown.

Neil (kneeling) and Malcolm were  impressed by this little Nakashima table, with its walnut slab top, perfectly engineered base, and trademark butterfly key.

At the Renwick, Neil (kneeling), Gaynor, and Malcolm were impressed by this little George Nakashima table, with its walnut slab top, perfectly engineered base, and trademark butterfly key. That’s a showcase cabinet by James Krenov in the background. Both pieces are from the Renwick’s permanent collection of studio furniture.

Gaynor - a fiber artist and woodworker - was most impressed by this nest of fifteen traditional baskets.

Gaynor – a fiber artist and woodworker – admires a nest of fifteen traditional baskets. Ben Carpenter looks on.

Gaynor enjoyed this large vessel made of birch bark panels sewn together. Here's a prediction: we'll see some sewn wood bits from her and Malcolm when we get back to the studio next week.

Gaynor enjoyed this large vessel made of birch bark panels sewn together. Here’s a prediction: we’ll see some sewn wood bits from her and Malcolm when we get back to the studio next week.

Malcolm also enjoyed this outrageously bent wood settee by the Philadelphia artist Marcus Pleussnig.

Malcolm also admired this outrageous bentwood settee by the Philadelphia artist Marcus Pleissnig.

Malcolm also found much to like in this production tab le designed by Isamu Noguchi, which we found nestled amid the ublic seating at the Smithsonian's National Gallery.

Malcolm finds much to admire in this production table designed by Isamu Noguchi, which we found nestled amid the ublic seating at the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of American Art.

At the Smithsonian's Luce archive, we saw amazing craft and art arrayed in glass cases and identified only by accession number. Ben was taken by this carved sculpture.

At the Smithsonian’s Luce archive, we saw amazing craft and art arrayed in glass cases and identified only by accession number. Ben was taken by this carved sculpture.

Neil is captivated by a painting depciting the green energy of Spring, in the Smithsonian's contemporary art collection.

Neil is entranced by a bold painting depciting the green energy of Spring, in the Smithsonian’s contemporary art collection.

Diana the huntress, in this life-size bronze by Robert Manship (1925) entranced your faithful scribe.

Diana the huntress shows the way in this life-size bronze by Robert Manship (1925), which caught the eye and heart of your faithful scribe.

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