Craft Kills: Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting

Althea Merback, Gloves, 2005, Wire-knitted silk, Collection Kentucky Gateway Museum Center
Another great lead from the Ledger Independent: The Kathleen Savage Browning Miniatures Collection will be a key feature at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center when construction is complete and it opens later this year, but pieces from that collection are currently on display at The Museum of Art and Design in New York City. Four pieces in total by micro-knit artist Althea Merback are loaned from the collection, including a pair of ancient-Greek-inspired gloves (pictured left-above).The exhibit is called Radical Lace & Subversive Knitting. A spokesperson for the museum said the exhibit “explores the phenomenal rise to prominence of knitting, crocheting and lace making in the world of contemporary artists from around the world.” Yeah, maybe, but it’s much cooler than that.

According to the museum’s website, the exhibit, which features 27 artists from seven countries, explores “[r]adical reformers in the world of knitting and lace making [that] have overthrown the status quo from the inside out. In the space of ten years, knitting has emerged from the ‘loving hands at home’ hobbyist’s den into museums and galleries worldwide.”

Some pieces even provide social commentary. One piece, for example, highlights the countries that have publically detonated nuclear weapons. Another piece uses “computer software that translates video images into ‘knitted’ images to educate about sweatshop labor.” Freddie Robins’s Craft Kills piece (pictured right-above) is described as “a self-portrait that plays with our notions of craft as a passive activity.”

Fossil Hunting in Maysville Kentucky

Fossil hunting is considered to be a relaxing and rewarding year-round hobby and the Maysville Kentucky area is a favorite spot for fossil collectors across the region. Pictured here is the Dry Dredgers Group on a field trip to Maysville in 2003. The Dry Dredgers are an association of amateur geologists established in 1942.

The Pulse: Maysville Kentucky Was Confederate

This week’s Pulse is from “Crow” at MySpace. Her blog post quite extensively covers the history of the Civil War in Kentucky, but here’s the blip about Maysville:

After the war Confederate monuments were erected over the state, on court-house lawns, in cemeteries, and in city parks. However, only one such monument was erected to Union soldiers and that was to the soldiers of mountainous Lewis County on the Court House lawn in Vanceburg. This is said to be the only statue of its kind south of the Ohio River. Lewis County was intensely loyal to the Union and is a Republican party stronghold, quite different from its neighboring county of Mason to the west, which has Maysville as its county seat, a town steeped in the traditions and charm of an old Southern river town.
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Two counties side by side. Lewis County went Union. Mason County went Confederate.

Video File: Kerouac On The Steve Allen Show, 1959

Jack Kerouac was here! That’s not too surprising. On The Road is full of so many cross-country adventures it’d be more surprising if he hadn’t come through Maysville Kentucky at some point. But I actually have evidence, and I am surprised that this passage escaped me. My photographic memory must have been out of focus because, strangely, I remember the next part clearly. In any case, Kerouac wrote in On The Road:

I took the Washington bus; wasted some time there wandering around; went out of my way to see the Blue Ridge, heard the bird of Shenandoah and visited Stonewall Jackson’s grave; at dusk stood expectorating in the Kanawha River and walked the hillbilly night of Charleston, West Virginia; at midnight Ashland, Kentucky, and a lonely girl under the marquee of a closed-up show. The dark and mysterious Ohio, and Cincinnati at dawn.

Ashland to Cincinnati by bus goes through Maysville Kentucky in the years before 1957 when the book was published. I can’t imagine it taking any other route, especially with a reference to the “dark and mysterious Ohio” that suggests it followed the river to Cincy.

What a great find! Truth is, laying out all of the above is just subterfuge so I can get away with posting the following video of Kerouac reading excerpts from On The Road on the Steve Allen Show in 1959. If you have no idea who Kerouac is, watch the video:

Like many literary heroes, Kerouac succumbed to cirrhosis of the liver, the result of a life of heavy drinking, ten years after this show aired.

New 2,100 Mile Underground Railroad Cycling Route

Maybe it’s a little early to be talking about spring considering it is still quite cold outside. Spring is on the horizon, however, and when it does dawn with warmth, we will naturally be thinking about outdoor activities. One activity that seems to be greatly tied to the area is bicycling. I started noticing a number of cyclists flowing through the area some time back, but now they have even more incentive. Maysville Kentucky is a key point on a new 2,100 mile cycling route that follows the trail of the Underground Railroad from Mobile, Alabama, to Owen Sound, Ontario.

According to Jeff Lee, a cycling enthusiast from Mayslick who emailed us about the route:

This is a pretty big deal in the world of bicycle touring – there will be hundreds of people riding their loaded touring bicycles through our area this spring and summer, and for years to come.

I did a solo coast-to-coast bike trip last summer from Virginia to Oregon, following Adventure Cycling’s TransAmerica route. I met people from all over the world who were doing it; I think it will be extremely cool to see all kinds of people bike through our area this summer.

I’m excited. Now that I know the length of the route, I will definitely be hounding cyclists for tales of their adventures. Speaking of which, here’s Jeff’s online journal he kept during his trip last year. He says he carried a laptop with him on the bike, and updated the site whenever he could:

Crossing The Country On A Cannondale »

You can find more information about Jeff’s route and the new Underground Railroad route that passes through Old Washington and Maysville at the Adventure Cycling Association’s website.