Faberge Exhibit

Sassy’s favorite egg

 A couple of months ago, my sister called and asked if Sassy and I wanted to go to the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Faberge Exhibit. We had toured the Kremlin when we were in Moscow in 2001 and she thought it might be nice to see more of the collection. On Sunday we all headed over there.

The treasures were in cases, so I couldn’t get as close as I wanted. It’s hard to focus on all the detail when you’re packed in with lots of other people. Plus – these things are so filled with detail that it’s completely impossible to see everything. You’re looking at enameling covered by gold stripes filled with precious gems, and then more enameling…unbelievable. 

Only one of the eggs was open. Most of them had descriptions of the surprises that were originally inside the eggs, some with small pictures of the surprises. There were parasol handles, candy boxes, frames, icons, cups, miniature animals, chess boards, candle holders – you name it, if the Romanov family bought it, there was at least one example on display.

My favorite egg

At the end of the exhibit Sassy and I were waiting for the others. I turned to her and said, “You know, every time I approach the story of the Russian monarchy, I want the ending to be different. I want them all to live.”


I want the Tsaritsa to say, “Hey Nicky! We need to come clean about the Tsarevitch’s health – let’s tell the people that he’s sick.” And, “Rasputin – get lost. You stink and you’re a pig. Take a hike!”

I want the Tsar to say, “Maybe it’s not such a good idea to spend oodles of money on incredibly intricate but ultimately useless gifts. Mama, Alix, this year for Easter let’s just have a nice dinner and hide eggs for the kids. What we save on our Faberge bill will buy lots of bread for the people.”

I know it’s simplistic to wish they had seen what was coming and somehow plan for it, but it doesn’t stop me from hoping and then feeling bad every time they die at the end. 

Ghost Clock

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about creativity in all forms. I am primarily a knitter and a spinner, although I do A LOT of dyeing as well. I’ve always been curious about drawing and sculpting, but haven’t had the time or inclination to actually do anything about it.

I do have a couple of favorite sculptures that I’d like to share with you.

This is the Ghost Clock. 


It’s located in the Renwick Gallery in Washington, DC. The Renwick is the home of the American Art Museum’s Craft and Decorative Arts program. The first time I went there, I was expecting crafts along the line of knitting and spinning. I walked into a gallery and saw this piece and thought, “Why would they drape something and leave it in the gallery? That’s really silly. They should take it out and repair it and then bring it back.”

Then it hit me, it’s a sculpture – created entirely out of wood. It was carved by Wendell Castle out of bleached Honduras mahogany.

I must have stood and stared at this thing for 20 minutes. It’s on a large pedestal with a couple of other sculptures, but you can walk around and see it from all sides. It is gorgeous and I can’t even imagine the craft it took to create it.

If you’re in DC, take a trip over to the Renwick. It’s not far from the White House so if you’re there for the whole historic tour stop by and see it.