Turning Wood into Art: The Jane and Arthur Mason Collection

By Suzanne Ramljak; Michael W. Monroe et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

Jane S. Mason

The works of turned wood in our collection are part of our lives and identities. When we walk into our home we see Mark Lindquist powerful Chieftain's Bowl in the front hall. As we sit down at the dining-room table, we see Hap Sakwa De Chirico Bowl, used as a centerpiece, whimsically greeting us at every meal. Children play with Hans Weissflög Broken Through Ball Box like a puzzle, taking it apart and putting it together. They swivel Stephen Hogbin Walking Bowl across the coffee table so it looks as if it really is walking. Friends marvel at the shadows cast by Bill Hunter Kinetic Rhythms #1277. They like to hold a bowl by Stocksdale, each a small treasure, or to feel the incredible smooth quality of an Ed Moulthrop vessel. They can hardly believe that David Ellsworth's bowls weigh so little. It is difficult to realize that these artworks, whose aesthetics and individuality are integral to our lives, will no longer be in our house.

However, there was the question of what to do with our collection in the future. We began by giving a few pieces each to the Renwick Gallery, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Fine Arts Museum of the South, and the American Craft Museum. But we liked what Mark Lindquist said after seeing our collection the first time: we must keep our vision together. He suggested we give it all to one museum and have an exhibition and a book authenticating our vision. "Individually the pieces are beautiful; together they make a strong statement about the intensity and diversity of serious wood turning as it emerged into an art form in the last fifteen years of the twentieth century."

Therefore, we looked for a museum large enough to show and store a collection of more than one hundred pieces of wood art, many quite large. Among other museum directors and curators, we had met and become friendly with Mark Leach, the dynamic curator of twentieth-century art at the Mint Museum. When Mark called us in 1996 to tell us that NationsBank (now Bank of America) was supporting a new Mint Museum of Craft + Design in downtown Charlotte, and that he would be the director, we knew that our collection should go to North Carolina.

We attended the 1999 opening of the Mint Museum of Craft + Design. We were thrilled with the museum, the incredible staff with all its energy and vision, and with the warm and enthusiastic people of Charlotte. We knew we had made the right choice.

Much as we covet the pieces in our wood collection, we want to expose others to their beauty and variety, and to the spirit that motivated us to collect each piece. These works have given us unlimited and deepening pleasure; now we send them out to speak with their simple, yet deep, sincerity to a greater audience.

Mark Lindquist. Chieftain's Bowl. 1988. (See plate 60)

-9-

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