Thursday, May 17, 2007

Crafts person is just one role I play ...

... the other is "Mrs. Executive Director", aka Offsite Support. If you've read the bit over on the right about why we're now planted in northern New York, you'll already know that my better half is Executive Director of the Frederic Remington Art Museum here in Ogdensburg.

I occasionally get called upon to shmooz with attendees at events throughout the year, provide an extra pair of editing eyes for various publications, set up all the silent auction items for the end of the year funding raising event (in addition to digging up a few auction items as well), and am generally back-up support whenever needed. As our lives rarely coincided in this way while we were in our respective finance and telecom careers in Albany, this has been a new and fun melding of our individual talents.

One of the things we need to begin doing in this relatively new life we've entered up here is entertain more. While not total recluses in our other life (B.O. - Before Ogdensburg), we rarely if ever entertained .. friends and family on rare occasions, and that was about it. And for those of you for whom this skill comes naturally, you'll have no idea what I'm talking about when I say entertaining on a large scale intimidates me just a bit. We, like the good little students we are, have been working up to it. I'm happy to say that it does get easier with each and every opportunity. And I now actually look forward to the chance to try some new set up, idea, or recipe ... much like jewelry designing. What keeps it interesting is maintaining existing skills and incorporating some new ones occasionally to keep it exciting! : ) And, of course, the whole point of the thing is to get to know your guests a little better, if you don't already have a good handle on them and can just enjoy the opportunity of spending a little time with them. Being a gregarious sort, I like this part best, especially when there's someone new to meet or some interesting new tidbits to file away.

This week had a couple of wonderful "hosting" opportunities ... just last night we brought the assistant curator of the Sterling & Francine Clark Art Institute from Williamstown, MA out to dinner. He's here for the week researching some of Remington's sketches and journals for any information they might hold in helping him to better understand a piece of Remington art the Clark Institute owns (one of only three Remingtons the Clark has in its collection). The piece is one of Remington's nocturnes .. a body of work where Remington explored the many and varied sources of nighttime illumination. This particular one shows an Indian on horseback, snow on the ground, stars in the sky, a settlement of some sort off in the distance .. it's somewhat vague in its overall setting and meaning. And therein lies the need to research. The curator believes it may have been purchased by the Clarks shortly after its completion, as there is very little information about its being exhibited anywhere. He'd specifically like to understand Remington's mind in creating it. What kind of Indian (both the horse and the rider's accoutrements may or may not provide clues) and where is it set. Even the title of the piece has come into question. The curator (aka Cody) is even looking into the constellation represented in the night sky - though he feels he may only discover it depicts a location east of the Hudson, as this is where Remington spent most of his life. Still .. a wonderful little exercise in historic detection, and a lot of fun to talk about!

The other opportunity was here at the house Sunday night .. the museum was hosting a couple of personable guys (an engineer and a sales rep) from a company whose primary product is aftermarket turbine parts. They had approached the museum to discuss the possibility of providing an exciting new way of creating Remington bronzes (for sale). They had sent a mock up ahead (kept under wraps by the curator on punishment of hard stares and a severe chastising if unveiled before the formal presentation) and were driving down from their arrival in Montreal, where they were doing a tradeshow on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Though it's only a couple hours to Ogdensburg from Montreal, we really had no idea what time they'd be arriving; so we decided to keep it simple with a variety of cold cuts, fresh bread and sandwich makings and a bunch of fresh greens and salad fixings. We initially thought dinner out would be the way to go, but being Ogdensburg, little is available or was open .. and the one place that WAS available was shutting down at 7 PM (and on Mother's Day, too!!). As it turned out, they arrived at the house around 8:30. I set everything up on the island between the kitchen and dining area and everyone helped themselves. Informal is sometimes best .. and I used to travel a lot; I know a heavy meal after a long haul tends to weigh ya down - especially so late in the evening. Sandwiches and salad were perfect .. and apparently they thought so too, as they were the reason I now have the incredible floral arrangement you see at the top of this post sittin' on my diningroom table. Totally unexpected, but received with a great big smile! The piece is one of those designer arrangements ... Todd Oldman has tacked his name on it and called it Houndstooth Baking Dish (it arrived unharmed via FedEx in a cardboard container that must've been an award winner in engineering). Yellows, greens, a little white and those splashes of little red berries .. wow. I love flowers, but I especially like things out of the ordinary; and this little number is not your usual stickin'-out-of-a-vase flower arrangment!! Thanks guys! Ya shouldn't have, but I truly appreciate that you did : )

... Though I'm wondering if the "Baking Dish" theme means I should offer a hot meal next time?!? ; )

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