Apron Chronicles at the Cowgirl Museum

Apron Chronicles is a large exhibit, comprised of 150 vintage aprons, 46 framed photographic portraits and accompanying storyboards. When hung, there isn’t always the space to show the “face” of Apron Chronicles, Miss Ada Florence Ashford. Fortunately, the Cowgirl Museum’s gallery layout allowed for Miss Ada’s portrait to greet guests upon their entrance to the exhibit. I was so thrilled to see Miss Ada in such a position of honor. Diana Vela is the museum’s exhibit’s registrar and curator – here we are at the portal to the galleryCowgirl_ea Diana [640x480]

Following months of conversation and preparation for my visit, I finally met Lauren Williams, Cowgirl’s research coordinator and artist “handler.”

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This is a photo of the exhibit, to the right of the entrance. From this perspective, everything looks so small, when in reality, the space is quite large and the exhibit fills every inch! What’s unique to this display is the vintage armoire, where aprons are hanging for visitors to try on.

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Here’s a close-up. One side is mirrored, which also serves to reflect the exhibit on the back wall. A great idea, which I’ll be certain to pass along to future venues.

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Cowgirl also managed to assemble chef-signed aprons for an apron raffle-off, the proceeds to benefit the museum’s educational efforts.

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Every museum and art center is unique, and Cowgirl is no exception. In this one photo, I tried to capture the incredibleness of the view from the second floor of the rotunda. The pictures of the women are actually 3-D glass portraits that change to new faces as you change position. I’ve never seen anything like this and I’ve not done justice to how awesome it is.

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The second floor is devoted to the most imaginative displays, each celebrating the women of the American West.

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A new display is from Temple Grandin. She gave the museum her original drawing of the cattle ramp and one of her favorite shirts, which she embroidered herself. Immaculate, teeny stitches. Just beautiful.

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Between the docents’ gathering , gallery talks, members pre-opening, the loveliest luncheon and my Apron Memories presentation, I met many of Ft. Worth’s apronistas. I’d hoped my path would cross with one such, Margaret Acton, who had written me earlier that she planned to attend the Friday event. Well, she made it, along with a box of her mother’s exquisite handwork. I’m posting Margaret’s story about her talented mom and more photos on my website’s homepage.

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If you have an apron or domestic arts-goods story and photos to share, please do so through my website. I’m so pleased to celebrate the handiwork of the women who helped us to become who we are today.


Tie One On…an apron, of course!

Apron Chronicles Crosses All Borders

It was this same time 6 years ago that I flew to Dallas for a meeting with The Women’s Museum. I’d read about TWM and was struck by the museum’s mission statement as complementary to my goals for Apron Chronicles. The result of that meeting was my exhibit’s national debut in Dallas in 2006 and TWM takeover of Apron Chronicles’ management. I still feel the need to pinch myself over this extraordinary good fortune! Over the years, I’ve worked with wonderful ehibit registrars, and anticipate an excellent relationship with Danielle Flores, the new registrar of just a few months.

The Women’s Museum has the most gorgeous interior. If you are ever in the Dallas area, you should not miss experiencing this venue. Here we are on the staircase, which appears suspended in air as it winds from the entry level to the top floors.

Apron Chronicles is 1 of 3 exhibits the museum manages – Lauren Green’s Thin and Annie Leibovitz’s Women. AC is in very good company! Regularly on tour, Annie’s exhibit is in-house for now and opening to the public this Friday. Although there’s a policy discouraging any camera use within the exhibit, Danielle allowed I might take this photo from a vantage that the camera’s flash wouldn’t intrude on the portraits.

The exhibit is like seeing the pages of Rolling Stone come alive, only in sizes like 4′ by 3′. It’s very cool. I loved it.
Today, I’m in Ft. Worth, readying for my first view of Apron Chronicles at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Later, I’ll be doing a docent tour and then a gallery talk and social time with members of Cowgirl.
While in my room typing up this post, the housekeeper popped in. She was wearing a service apron…lots of pockets and a rag looped through the waist ties, like a chef or someone in the food industry. A perfect audience to tell about the exhibit, or so I thought. Until I tried explaining the concept of an apron exhibit to someone with limited English skills. But I persevered, as did she, and together we concluded that after living here for years, she will visit a museum for the first time and take her daughter with her. Such is the magic of Apron Chronicles – it really is America’s exhibit and crosses the barriers that can exist between museums and the general working public. The second thing the housekeeper and I concluded: I need to work on my Spanish!
It’s sunny in Texas and I’m thinking of taking a walk, which may or not have me ending up at Anthropology, which is very close by. Can I resist? That I even asked that question is ridiculous.
Tie One On…an apron, of corse!

Tie One On…at the National Cowgirl Museum

Two days until I leave for Ft. Worth and the opening of Apron Chronicles at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame!

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Scheduled events for the opening include

Thursday, Jan 6: 5:30 to 7:00: Members-only event with EllynAnne, Writer and Apron Curator. Gallery talk and book signing. Wine and cheese reception. And…

Friday, Jan. 7: 11:30 to 1:00: Luncheon, catered by G-Texas catering, Apron Memories program with EllynAnne, booksigning. Members: 15.00, Non-members 25.00. Price includes: lunch and program, parking, admission to the entire Museum.

For reservations: contact Jennifer Siegel. Call (817) 509-8664 or email jsiegel@cowgirl.net
Website: http://cowgirl.net/home/

I always look forward to that first moment when I enter the exhibition space and see Apron Chronicles in its new location, for the displaying of the exhibit is left to the instincts and interpretation of the venue. I’ve seen photographs of the exterior of “Cowgirl,” but the interior will be a wonderful surprise. Tingling with anticipation.

The exhibit is showing in Ft. Worth for three months – to see Apron Chronicles in person is to be touched forever.

Still time to enter to win Jodi Kahn’s latest bit of craft genius. click here to put your name in the cookie jar. Drawing late, late Tuesday evening. Winner posted Wednesday a.m.

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Tie One On…(an apron, of course) in Ft. Worth!!