This was my second visit to this really over-the-top museum and only makes me want to a) become a member and b) go more often!

The two exhibits in which I was interested are “Slash: Paper Under the Knife” and “Read My Pins: The Madeleine Albright Collection”. But first, I took the elevator up to the fifth floor to the “artist in residence” or “working studios” area. Well, it was my lucky day! I met Sarah Abramson, one of the also very lucky artists who is there working, one day a week, while also talking about and showing her “wearable art”collection. Sarah’s work will be shown at Gallery Loupe in Montclair, N.J. beginning next week; you can reach her at sarah@sarahabramson.us

Here is Sarah, working:  She starts by doing abstract ink drawings:

MAD 4 


Then she makes paper models:


And here are actual pieces,cut with a jewelers saw: 


Her end use is a brooch/pin, but they could easily be used as pendants.


Can you tell which is the paper model?


Back to the Exhibitions at the museum… 

Slash: Paper Under the Knife “explores the use of paper as an independent medium. Many of these artists used paper as preliminary means of expression, but now use it as the end medium”.  I particularly liked some of the on-site specific installations of Fran Siegel , Mia Pearlman, and Beatrice Coron (who used cut tyvek material). The detail in these “cut paper” works is incredible: they convey a lightness both in form and density that is amazing. You can watch a short video describing this entire exhibit here. 

Next to see was the Madeleine Albright collection of “Read My Pins”. Lots and lots of pins! Well, it seems she collected pins from an early age: a round pin from high school was, I think, the earliest. Her husband’s fraternity pin was next. But then, the categories of pins was extraordinary! Here are a few: Wild Animals, Jazz, Sealife, Spiders, Butterflires, Hearts, Birds. One noteworthy pin was called  “The Katrina Pin”. This pin was given to her (handed to her in the street) just after Hurrican Katrina when she went to New Orleans. The young man who gave it to her said his father had given it to his mother on their fiftieth wedding anniversary. His mother had loved pins and his father (now a widower) wanted Mrs. Albright to have it, as another pin collector. It was a very personal story for such a “worldly” person. 


So, on to the Cooper Hewitt Museum to hear Maria Pinto talk about creativity, how she came to be where she is, and the “design process”. I loved it! The interviewer was Mary Tomer, founder of the Mrs.-O.org website. 

“Timing is all” says Maria! She worked in her family’s Italian restaurant in Chicago until, when she turned 30, she decided it was time to see what else was out there for her! So off she went to art school, which then led to an apprenticeship with Geoffrey Beene, where she learned execution, discipline, precision and the New York fashion scene. For more than twenty years (with a two year hiatus) she has been designing women’s ready to wear.

But it is the creative process that was interesting to hear about. “Where does your inspiration come from?” Mary asked. Everywhere and all the time! There is so much out there, she said, it’s a matter of sifting through it all….again, organizing with discipline and precision, those tools she learned early in her trade. But once you decide, you go with it all the way.

First comes the research, then the inspirtion, then the manipulation. So, is this true for all the arts? What about surface design? Isn’t it true that first, yes, there is the inspiration or idea, then the “manipulation” or the execution and formatting of those ideas? It’s fascinating how the creative process is so connected within all the art disciplines. Ok, so give us an example of a theme, asked Mary. “Tango” was the answer! It originated with a trip to Brazil, rested in that vast creative never-never-land that is part of Maria, and then surfaced when the time was right. This collection uses lots of embellishment, the continuous curve, and movement, just as in dancing the tango.

This same process is true for the newest collection for Fall 2010: Ducati Motorcycles! She’s working on this right now and must have the entire collection ready by the end of January. Oh the leathers, she said! To die for! So, stay tuned and take a look next fall at what is sure to be another stunning collection from Maria Pinto.

It was a day to inspire anyone!