Clay and bead work exhibit opens at the Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum
by Ohio's Amish Country
The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum (JHM) presents the special exhibit Clay & Bead Works—Binding Together Two Cultures August 17 through Oct. 7. The heart of the show is the museum’s Native American collection of 19th century beadwork and prehistoric pottery. Complementing these historic pieces will be contemporary works of bead and clay by nine artists. Whereas the native artisans worked within the confines of function, these 21st century artists use form to explore concept and emotion.
Most of the historical beadworks were made by the Sioux, but also represented are pieces by Chippewa, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Ojibwa and Crow. Traditionally women were the artisans. Using glass trade beads, porcupine quills, shells, horse hair and tin cones they embellished all manner of garment and tool. Shoes, pouches, cradleboards, wall bags, war clubs and baskets will be displayed along with an array of jewelry. By large the pottery emanates from the Pueblo Indians who lived from the 12th-15th century in what is now New Mexico. A number of pottery types—polychromes, black-on-white, corrugated, etc., are represented in the bowls, jars and effigies.
The contemporary artists are consummate artisans like their Native American forebearers. They differ in output. Today, bead and ceramic artists begin with the muse and then find the form or the technique that works best for them. For example, artist Paulette Baron takes those same tiny bead seeds and makes something that stands up off the table. Her Autumnal Flora necklace looks like it once was an undulating living thing. A few of the artists have chosen to create works inspired by native markings and myths. Ceramist Ken McCollum builds porcelain ceramic works and then applies black and sometimes red clays before carving designs into the outer layers. McCollum, associate professor of art at Muskingum University, likes to play with symbols, clues to the conceptual content. The viewer is challenged to visually and intellectually understand the piece.
Clay & Bead Works—Binding Together Two Cultures is an exquisite show. Visitors will experience a gratifying pairing of tradition and innovation. JHM also has three permanent exhibit galleries—American Indian, Historic Ohio, and Asian, as well as a temporary Civil War display. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is located in Historic Roscoe Village, a restored canal-era town sited along the former Ohio & Erie Canal. Costumed interpreters lead tours through the restored buildings, and numerous shops are situated within the village. The museum is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. and is located at 300 N. Whitewoman St., Coshocton. Admission is charged.
For more information, contact JHM at 740-622-8710 / email: email@example.com or visit its website at www.jhmuseum.org.