I have traveled through Nebraska on many occasions but have never had the pleasure of visiting the International Quilt Museum and Study Center at the University of Nebraska. Seeing as I am in the field of textiles, it is a mecca for one who appreciates the hand made well crafted artistically designed item. For anyone who has not gone, I highly recommend taking time out of any travel schedule to stop in Lincoln, NE to visit the museum. One will definitely be inspired by the well thought out architectual references to quilting, including the eye of the needle used as the motif for the entire building to the stitches of the quilt found in the windows, it is a uniquely wonderful experience. The sweater here was placed in the storage cubbies at the entrance of the building and will hopefully inspire those interested in the hand made to joining the crusade of knitting and placing these sweaters of awareness throughout their community.
Behind the Chicago Symphony Orchestra building on Wabash, is a quaint little cafe area that serves daily lunch diners from nearby office buildings. Despite the frenetic pace of traffic and the high pitched squealing of the train tracks above, this little space is a respite from the harshness of the city. Finding these little green gems amongst the tall concrete, steel and glass giants provides city dwellers with a much needed connection to the natural landscape of the region. While Chicago has a strong base in architectural accomplishments, it also seems to be a city keeping up with trends of urban agricultural projects such as green spaces, gardens and collectives.
While walking around the tourist trappings of Old Town of Scottsdale trying to find a place for a sweater, I came across this beautiful old mission building. Our Lady of Perpetual Help was constructed from 1931-33 using 6,000 hand constructed adobe bricks. It served the parish as a church until 1956 when the parish outgrew the church and moved down the way a bit. The mission is still used today for various functions as well as a historical monument to the combined histories of both the Catholic faith and the traditional Spanish inspired architecture that dots the southwest and west coast. It is ironic that this symbol of Spanish colonialism sits at a prominent site in a state that is heavily anti-immigration reform and opposes all illegal immigrants with the bill that was passed last year, SB1070. I found it was an ideal placement for this sweater, as I feel we all are in need of perpetual help to become recognized, welcomed, accepted and seen as individuals within a larger community that also includes racial and socio-economic diversity.
As I am very far behind my projected 365 placements by May 7th, I am going to attempt to make two posts per day. We’ll just see how that goes, as it happens that life often leads us down paths that we would not think otherwise possible in the world of full time employment and raising a family. However, I love my job and am more than thrilled to have one during this economic crisis we are in, so with this grateful mindset, I placed this sweater at Shadow Rock UCC church in north central Phoenix last Sunday. This exquisite church sits atop a mountain that overlooks the entire north valley and surrounding mountain ranges. It’s difficult not to feel full of wonder and awe while in the presence of such beauty. I also found that the word “Sanctuary” on the upper left of this image is very appropriate as it summarizes what many people need who don’t have an adequate place to stay. While in the biblical sense of this definition this word depicts a place of worship and refrain from worldly concerns, I felt it also defines what architecture can aspire to become, both spiritually and physically.
Today, I was listening to the radio about the mass exodus of Libyans into Tunisia and the increase of tent cities emerging along the border of the Mediterranean. I then thought of the tent cities in Phoenix that house the inmates by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. While some may argue that these denizens deserve the least amount of comfort, others can argue that living in a tent is obviously not one’s first choice of living conditions. And, while researching images for presentations, I have found many compelling images of various tent compounds. One is a tent city in Reno Nevada (photo credit Max Whittaker/Getty Images) in October of 2008. The second is an image from a Somali refugee camp in Kenya. While the tent city images are from two different cultures and opposite sides of the globe, they serve the same purpose of providing temporary comfort. And, yet, while all of this continues beyond our borders or within, there will continuously be stores such as Ikea providing consumers with more opportunities to buy inexpensive items that are often seen as disposable–except that with the purchased goods, we can make the allusion that all is permanent, when in reality, we are all temporal.
Nestled in the conservatory at the Tulsa Garden Center, sweater #61 might not be found right away. The idyllic structure is reminiscient of larger city conservatories and was built during the first part of the 20th century showing homage to Burnham and other neoclassical architecture and manicured French garden design. Originally, the house and conservatory were private, built before the Great Depression and detailed to the fullest with splendor. Frequented by locals and hopefully tourists, the grounds are now a part of the public park system providing a teaching garden, an arboretum and a history museum on the grounds.
Here is the place I wanted to get married. Too bad I didn’t follow through with it as it is the scene for the Palace Ballroom in the Blues Brothers as well as where Michelle and Barack Obama were married. Anyway, this fabulous center is the South Shore Cultural Center and is adjacent to a public golf course and phenomenal views of the lake situated just south of Hyde Park. The interior speaks of a wonderful over the top ornate architecture from the turn of the century. The entry way also has two carriage houses at either side of the the double lane path that also reminds one of an era without cars. One of my favorite parts of Chicago, it seems to mix the relaxed laze-fare of the South from the Great Migration and of landed by-gone gentry who made this concept a reality. It is an especially interesting site too, because not too far away on the south and west are some of the socially and economically weakest sections of the city that contrasts highly with this image.
A community garden in the Cabrini Green neighborhood just east of the north branch of the Chicago River is a sign of the evolution of this community. Previously, this was one of Chicago’s notoriously crime infested public housing neighborhoods where gang violence and drive by shootings were common place. However, many of the residents have been displaced as real estate investors began to see the potential of newly constructed property in close proximity to the business loop area. While many resources have gone into the Cabrini neighborhood, it continues to struggle with the dismantling of urban public housing, closing schools, and gentrification encroachment. Many people find this fact difficult to understand as by many indicators the neighborhood has improved in safety, amenities and aesthetics. However, many outsiders also don’t understand the core structure behind urban public housing that has solidified over the decades of dereliction. No matter what the social structure, it still is a structure none the less and it is interesting to have had personal interactions with community members, service providers and residents of this community.
This sweater was placed just outside the Newberry Research Library just behind a local bus stop. The beautiful limestone brick on the facade of the library along with the ornate handle to this gate is a wonderful feature of older architecture in Chicago. At the moment, the library is undergoing transformation, and resembles a surreal dream as the back portion has been removed for renovation. While this library doesn’t serve people who might be struggling with homelessness as it is a research library, the park across the street often accommodates napping folks on benches (of all makes and models), and is also close to nearby social services, emergency shelters and so forth.