My Summer Trip 2005

2005-07-29 Rev. 2006-02-23, 2007-02-25, 2008-12-01, 2010-09-25

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Walker Art Museum & Minn Austin MN & Kelly Hormel House Austin Minert Grave
Studio Paran, Madison WI Milwaukee Art Museum Chicago Hot Glass Crystal Lake, IL & Reunion
Iowa State Mark Wilson visit Stephen Hodder visit John Oleson visit
Carrington ND Minnesota Oddities Ely MN  

From July 12th to July 26th, 2005, I drove around the upper Midwest to look up glassblowers, to gather information about my great Aunt Louise, to attend my 45th HS class reunion and to visit my sister for the first time in 10 years or more.

Flying into Minneapolis in mid-afternoon with nothing specific to do, I went to Walker Art Museum to see their new building and exhibits.  Photographing most of the exhibits is prohibited but this catches the spirit of the building.  Note the out of square angles, including the seats, which have level tops and sloped bottoms to match the floor.  The chandeliers are chunks of clear glass wired around to hang.  Galleries hold lots of very modern art, some familiar, some not. Hallway with glass wall at Walker showing slope
Across the street is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden with pieces from many periods.  The iron sculpture at right is familiar but even the foot bridge across the major street is artful.  The skyline of Minn. is to the left of this picture. Artistic view of steel sculpture and pedestrian bridge over expressway
Modern pieces in open greenery.  Most of the classic pieces are under trees and in hedged bowers. Sculpture meadow beyond sculpture garden at Walker Art Museum
This is one of my favorite places, an environment by James Turrell.  This is behind the building, quite a hike in this security age as no back door gives access. The one in Dallas is built into the wall at the end of the Nasher Sculpture Garden here.  This one is built into a slope, so the entrance is a trench.  The contrast of inside and out is less than in Dallas which has a lot of street sounds outside.  Interior of open ceiling room underground behind Walker Art Museum
Then went down to the astoundingly large Mall of America with indoor theme park.  Saw maybe 5% of it. This is center with three roller coasters (flume at left, orange and green in center) and huge ride to right being only part of it.  Some 500+ shops around the outside on several levels.  Other theme areas include aquarium and Lego. Interior court of Mall of America with full sized rollercoasters
Austin Minn. was my next stop.  There I photographed Louise Minert Kelly's husband's family grave site which is not particularly easy to find as the numbered sites are not evenly placed.  The Kelly site is Lot #67 in the Old Section North, near what I call the side road of the cemetery.  The name on the end of the row is Furlong. Kelly family headstone in Austin MN
And the grave stone gives no additional information about him.  Other stones photographed show dates for his parents. Edward Kelly headstone in family grave site in Austin MN
 While waiting for the Hormel House to open to follow up on an e-mail I got the weekend I left, I went to the Austin Library and asked for the microfilm for the Austin paper for March 1939.  Almost by chance, I asked if the 1906 paper was on microfilm, and it was.  Thus I got a funeral notice on Edward Kelly and a marriage announcement that had a lot more biographical information than I expected including the discovery that they were married in Duluth. E.P.Kelly obituary copy Minert-Kelly Wedding announcement
And just before I left, I got an e-mail that Hormel House had a Kelly painting hanging on the wall--which looks like this.  Louise gave a talk to the Woman's Club in the fall of 1936 and they decided to buy a painting for their meeting site, which eventually took place in May 1938. Very nice visit with director of Hormel house and a lady who brought in the hand written minute book of the woman's club from the 30's. Louise Kelly painting in Hormel House, Austin TX
From Austin, I traveled east to Waukon IA and looked up the grave site of Louise Minert Kelly (1876-1948); the nearest plaque of these four. The other three, in order, are Ella May Minert (1879-1951),  Maud Minert Sharf (1885?-1976), and Margaret Campbell Sharf (1912-1996) Minert Family site, Waukon IA, with plates for brothers
The Minert/Arklay grave site is SE from the maintenance hut roughly at the V in the picture, beyond the tall white pillar in the distance. Waukon IA Minert grave site overall view
This is the Minert side of the stone with upright stones for parents John (1853-1909) and Margaret (185?3-1924) and daughter Emily (1875). 
The other side of the big stone has Arklay on it and the upright stones are for Emily (1817-1910), Charles (1875-1890),  and William (1841-1888) and flat stones for James (1881-1942) and John W. (1887-1964) Minert; the latter my grandfather.  I have pictures of the other side and of small stones.
Minert family grave site in Waukon IA
Then for a complete change of course, I traveled across Wisconsin to see glassblowers in Madison and Chicago and because of the route, to stop in Milwaukee at the Art Museum.  
Studio Paran is two person production studio in Madison making pieces for catalog and galleries.  On the day I was there, they were making candle sticks about 14" tall with a spiral stem visible in the lower two photos.

Studio Paran, Madison WI, entrance

Studio Paran, Madison WI, product display
Studio Paran, Madison WI, production gaffer finishing foot Studio Paran, Madison WI, drawing vase after optic work
The Calatrava addition to the Milwaukee Art Museum is astounding for its detail.  I find I didn't even try to take the pictures most often published of the inside and out of the wings.  This is the hallway along the new galleries from the new winged entry to the old wing, which is quite rectangular and multiple stories.  The picture at the lower right is lower part of the entry and catches the starkness that is part of the design.  After seeing it, I still hold that having Calatrava bridges for Dallas is a waste of money and an entry on the wrong side of downtown.

The painting below illustrates a most interesting program. While artists often copy paintings (though I realized I hadn't seen any with easels in other museums recently), in this program, the artists are trained to study the methods used in the originals, including pigments, limited palates, and techniques. The process may take months and repeated enrollments.  I saw three of the efforts and was impressed.

Calatrava addition to Milwaukee Art Museum interior
Milwaukee Art Museum student setup for painting reproduction class Calatrava addition to Milwaukee Art Museum lobby interior
My next stop was a struggle to get to with dead slow on the expressway and an alternate route attempt that took me through two kinds of construction and past a rollover accident.  Chicago Art Glass is a public access studio that is very nicely set up (right) but in what I consider an awkward part of town. They are melting Spectrum Cullet squares (lower right) that a very white (unlike the greenish flat cullet I blew in Seattle.)  The furnace is electric using moly elements.  Several were broken when the furnace was moved out with a fork lift; an expensive mistake as they cost $160 each. The red neon ring indicates the status of the furnace which shuts off when the door is opened. A grid, blue I think, indicates the other state. The lady in blue (right and below) is making pieces with a steam stick used in a somewhat unusual way.  Chicago Art Glass hot wall
Chicago Art Glass working off piece Chicago Art Glass nugget for melt
Next I went out to the town where I mostly grew up (age 8 to college), Crystal Lake IL.  I lived in two houses during the time and my mother moved to a third after I left and my sister lived there after her death.  The first house (right) has changed considerably including the number; when we lived there the house was cubical and white.  The first change after we moved out was to extend the kitchen into the yard.  Since then they have linked the house to the garage which has been tripled, with outside parking paved and what looks like another garage in the same trim to the right.
The whole area surprised me because I ran out of place much sooner than I expected; only after I reviewed where the streets were and the number of houses could I resolve the small scale of the area.
The other two houses have changed much less and the second (below) actually looks more like when we lived in it than it did the last time I saw, when it had black shingles instead of red tiles.  The landscaping is nice and a 2 car garage at the street is added.
Crystal Lake IL 478 N.Shore Drive house (as rebuilt, now renumbered) MF house
Crystal Lake IL 564 South Shore Drive, restored since reroof after sale by mother Crystal Lake IL 777 South Shore Drive
The most overwhelming aspect of the visit was the huge size of the added homes and the development along highway 14 that makes it look virtually identical to Plano or Northwest Highway across from Northpark here in Dallas.  The houses below are duplexes that must be 3,000 feet or more each.  The homes at right, solidly shoulder to shoulder, are three floors out beyond the country club overlooking a wetlands. Crystal Lake IL huge zero lotline houses overlooking marsh west of country club
Crystal Lake IL very large duplex hiding behind garages  
  Lovely garden on property of host of renunion
The reunion took place in two sessions, one a sit down dinner with cake (right) and the other at a lovely private home with extensive grounds (right above and below.)  I recognized almost no one and those familiar names looked either older and younger than me.  I was surprised to learn the Nancy Senft had to sue to join what was intended as an all male advanced set of classes that I was assigned to - I recall nothing of that.  A couple of people I hoped to see were on the deceased list. Crystal Lake IL reunion party cakes
Crystal Lake IL reunion party host house interior Crystal Lake IL reunion party
From Crystal Lake I headed west to central Iowa to check out old friends and Iowa State for paintings by Louise and to look at the Glass Gaffers extracurricular studio.  
Converted to a grey sketch to protect copyright considerations, this painting is at Iowa State on the entry of the President's house.  The scene is probably northern Minnesota although it might be North Dakota. Golden grain with red tones, dark green trees to right with spots of yellow (fruit), greenish blue sky, considerable red overall, a fall scene. Louise Kelly painting at Iowa State in B&W image
Converted to a grey sketch to protect copyright considerations, this painting is at Iowa State on the wall of an office in McKay Hall.  The boat centered is red, the sea between the buildings right center is blue. The boat down right and the tallest building have a bright green while the bluff at left and the building at the right have a dark green.  The sky is a deeper blue than the sea with lots of white clouds that are not defined in the sketch. Louise Kelly painting at Iowa State in B&W image
Iowa State has a collection of modern art glass and American Cut crystal in the museum in Iowa Center.  The photos here show the rig of the extra curricular Glass Gaffers studio which shares a building with the solar car project, the race being run while I was traveling.  The space is very nice, well set out.  Only the furnace was hot when I visited but the room was comfortable on a hot day for the area.  The picture at right shows the exhaust system.  Lower right of that picture has a large glory hole shell. Iowa State Glass Gaffers studio ventilation
Iowa State Glass Gaffers studio glory hole on hot wall Iowa State Glass Gaffers studio furnace on hot wall
Then it was back north to turn in the rental car and meet Betty, my sister, at the airport to travel for more glass and Louise's first married home in Carrington ND.  Mark Wilson (right and garden below) has an indoor and outdoor part time studio which is pictured on his discussion group on Yahoo


Mark Wilson working his small glory hole outdoors
Betty Firth at Mark Wilson's Glass in garden at Mark Wilson's
The next day we drove northwest, stopping at two glassblowing studios out in the rural parts.  Stephen Hodder is in Princeton, east of St. Cloud, and makes platters like the ones below by laying on various colors, spinning out, letting the colors shift the shape, then drawing a design and blasting through the layers of color.  He also makes color shaded glassware (right) and uses the imperfect platters to make birdbath watering stations on metal stands built by a neighbor. Production glass at Stephen Hodder's studio
Stephen Hodder's special pieces carved from layered glass Stephen Hodder's special pieces carved from layered glass
Heading further northwest, we went to John Olesen at White Pine Studio (my sister, who lives in Minnesota, asked if they had any white pine, which does not grow there, and we were told some had been planted for the purpose from the family home.)
 I particularly liked the three sided drawn cookie foot, (lower right) but many of his pieces were pleasing.
As we left, Betty remarked on how some workers are a lot lighter in attitude about their glass and it shows up in the way they decorate outside with glass.  I agreed.
 This studio is near Clitherall MN as are the big welded metal sculptures a few sections down which are a mile or so east of the road to the studio.
John Olesen glass pieces display
John Olesen studio exterior John Olesen glass webbed foot detail
Then to Carrington SD for a look at a painting and the town.  This is a somewhat better image of the previously webbed painting at Putnam house showing a scene outside of town.  Very large. Kelly house (below right) across street from Putnam house (below) Carrington ND, Louise Kelly painting
Museum house with Louise Kelly painting in holdings Carrington ND, E.B.Kelly house
Close up of Edward and Louise in group picture below. Louise Kelly and E.B.Kelly detail from group photo
Probably taken in Putnam house. Louise Kelly and E.B.Kelly in group photo in & at Putnam House
I had found a book in the library: Oddball Minnesota, A Guide to Some Really Strange Places,  [Jerome Pholen, Chicago Review Press, 2003] which is mostly large statues of animals-fish, birds, people with a blue ox, etc., but includes large holes in the ground and banks in Northfield.  I didn't go chase these down but looked when they were on the route.  So here are some touristy pictures of my sister, Betty, with Babe (right); with an elephant welded from lawn mower blades with a giant chain and hook behind just welded of sheet metal (Clitherall); and with a very large truck (Hibbing).  Below are me with the very large wheel of the truck and a shot across the big hole in the ground.  Seen but not granted picture space were Floating Loon (Virginia), Fighter aircraft in a sculpture (Fairbault?), big Happy Chef, and Fish shaped entry hall to restaurant. Oddities visited in Northern Minnesota - Paul Bunyan
Oddities visited in Northern Minnesota - Terra truck tire and Mike Oddities visited in Northern Minnesota - welded steel elephant and Betty
Oddities visited in Northern Minnesota - iron mine that took out a town Oddities visited in Northern Minnesota - Terra truck with Betty Firth in corner
The final time at the end of the trip became less organized than I had in mind at the start.  We did get in a canoe for a while, but my energy burned out.  And we went to the Wolf Center, which has a session of feeding the small troop kept on hand.  And finally, there is Betty's silly dog, which insists on grooming the cat.  And a reasonably merry time was had by all.
Ely MN water lily on canoe trip Ely MN stumps on canoe trip
Ely MN wolves beyond glass at visitor center Ely MN Betty's cat and dog playing


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