Tag Archives: RISD

Making It In America at the RISD Museum

Making It In America at the RISD Museum
RISD_Museum-Making_It_in_America1 copy

Photo credit RISD Museum


“To tell a great story about American art is a particularly RISD story”-John W. Smith Museum Director

As the leaves turn to bright colors in New England, and the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, the air chills and  the American history that surrounds us is subtly evoked.  Our children study our early history in school this time of year and the RISD Museum in Providence Rhode Island has joined the conversation with their retrospective exhibit entitled Making It In America. Rhode Island School of Design is known for its focus on the making of art, and with this recently opened exhibit, the Museum of RISD outlines how the works of our past remain relevant, and revelatory to the makers of today.

IMG_9622There was a tandem progression of American development and mastery of design that took place early on as settlers and then influences from varying cultures staggered into the country. The craftsmanship and personality of objects seen in furniture styles, and portraiture tell the story with a perspective on how we portray ourselves within the context of the American Dream.

Co-Curators Elizabeth Williams of arts and design and Maureen O’Brien of painting and sculpture collaborated by pulling together pieces from the RISD collection. Together their selections narrate the way in which our American identity evolved through the objects both functional and decorative that were crafted and displayed between the early 1700s and the early 1900s.  The curators then brought in the celebrated decorator and decorative arts historian Thomas Jayne  to really make the objects pop.


Thomas Jayne

Thomas Jayne used his understanding of how important color and pattern were to American design as a context for the geometry of the objects in the space. A number of portraits are mounted on replicas of early American wallpapers that coupled with Rococo frames, as Thomas Jayne put it “makes the Copley’s sing in a way white walls never would”. Thus exhibiting the 18th century paintings in a uniquely pop culture look.

In an exhibit that is as much about opportunity in America as it is the art that came out of those opportunities; the varied experiences are on display, a wood spindle chair remade out of a spinning wheel, set nearby an ornate silver serving piece.  A cabinet by a Finnish immigrant  highlights the varied styles that merged as the cultures did to become a uniquely American style.

Artist Unknown, ca.1700

Artist Unknown, ca.1700

The making of art in America merges with American ambition, but as you walk through the collection you realize the story begins and ends with the Native Americans.  One of the first pieces upon entering the gallery is the Painting entitled Native American Sachem and one of the last is the Paul Manship tabletop bronze pair of sculptures created nearly 200 years later, the Indian and Pronghorn Antelope atop a Frank Lloyd Wright table. The modern architecture of the Chase Center Galleries serves as the canvas for this collection of more than 100 outstanding works of painting sculpture and decorative arts made in between. The exhibit opened on October 11th and will run through February 9th.

Paul Manship, 1885-1966

Paul Manship, 1885-1966

The RISD Museum was established in 1877 “American art has played a central role at the RISD Museum since it’s earliest days, and we celebrate this legacy with Making It In America.- Museum Director John W. Smith

To stay up to date with all RISD Museum happenings Like RISD Museum on Facebook & Follow them on Twitter

Mindful Giving Guide: Gifts That Give Back

Mindful Giving Guide: Gifts That Give Back


10 Gifts That Give Back:

1.FashionABLE  Scarves: The scarf pictured here was exclusively made for ONE by fashionABLE out of 100% light weight African cotton. The Feleku scarf was created when the ONEMoms (Including my amazing sister-in-law Jeannine Harvey) were on their recent trip to Ethiopia. ONE has partnered with FashionABLE, a company that works to create economic opportunities for women in Ethiopia by creating handmade scarves.  Each style is named after the woman that designed it and includes a tag describing what she is able to do as a result of having a job. This scarf is named after Feleku, who is now ABLE to face new challenges.

2.Lollie Beads Bracelets are created from fair trade recycled glass beads made in Uganda. So they are not only gorgeous (the glass beads look and feel like sea glass) but they are good for the environment AND help support sustainable livings in a developing country.



3.I first heard of The Anchal Project at the Rhode Island School of Design Student and Alumni Art sale where I bought a small moleskin notebook to support it.  Since then they have branched out into an incredible array of crafts including these beautiful quilts to support  their mission: “Anchal merges design, business, and education to empower marginalized and exploited women living in India.”-Anchal Mission Statement

4.These Tom’s wedges are at the top of my teenage daughter’s wish list, so you know they are cool! Tom’s keeps its designs fresh while still managing to provide shoes and glasses to those who need them. I know I’ve said this before, but I love their One for One business model (and pledge to support it with as many shoes as I can get away with!)

5.Whenever I carry my FEED bag I get compliments and inquiries about it, and I love promoting their wonderful program.  Products from

FEED Project make perfect gifts that give back, each product tells you how many kids you are feeding by purchasing it, and you can choose the product based on what efforts you wish to support.  This season I’m lusting after the DKNY collaboration Survival Tote and  NYC  hoodie sweatshirt that supports relief efforts for hurricane sandy victims.

6.Sari Bari  Sari Bari is a safe place of employment where women who have been exploited in the sex trade or who are vulnerable to trafficking can experience a new life in the making. Gorgeous Indian textiles are woven into clothing, accessories and home goods. Tee-shirts, bags and jewelry all help these women live free lives of restoration and hope.


Alex & Ani jewelry is a favorite gift of mine to give, not only is it made from recycled materials, locally owned and founded by a woman, but has a Charity By Design division where a percentage of proceeds from each Charity By Design bracelet goes to a specific cause.You can also customize your gift to the recipients personality or interests with their amazing selection of charm bracelets and charm necklaces.



7.1000 ShillingsUgandan Paper bead necklaces.  The women artisans earn capital for their own small businesses by making limited-edition products for 1000 Shillings. Each product sold through 1000 Shillings helps a woman establish a small business, which enables her to support her family. We also aim to tell the in-depth story behind each artisan.  The company works with six single mothers in the Namatala slum, Uganda.


A Gift As A Gesture:

Sometimes it is hard to find the perfect gift for someone who has every material thing they desire.  Still you want to give something as a token of your appreciation to them and the below gifts are the perfect solution that everyone can feel good about.

Photo by Elizabeth Atalay

8. Heifer International :

“Heifer International’s mission is to work with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the Earth.  It all started with a cow.  Moved by the plight of orphans and refugees of the Spanish Civil War as he ladled out meager rations of powdered milk, Dan West, an Indiana farmer, volunteer relief worker and Church of the Brethren member, grasped that the people needed “a cow, not a cup”—cows that could produce milk so families would not have to depend on temporary aid. From that simple idea, Heifer International was born.” – From the Heifer International Website

9. Save A Life This Christmas with Maternity Worldwide :  “No mother should die while giving birth. By ordering a Safe Birth Certificate you will enable a mother in a developing country to safely give birth to her baby.  Long after the bubble bath has been used and the Christmas hampers have been eaten you will have given a lasting gift which will save a mother’s life and enable her baby to grow up with their mum.”- From the Maternity Worldwide Website

10. UNICEF Child survival Food Pack: “One amazing gift, that does it all. The Child Survival Food Pack has everything needed to save a severely malnourished child, from the time they are brought into an emergency feeding center on the brink of death, till when they are healthy again.  Therapeutic Milk and Therapeutic Food are the miracle supplies that treat severe acute malnutrition. Water Purification Tablets provide clean and safe water and prevent water-borne diseases. Multiple Micronutrient Powder and High-Energy Biscuits give a child the vitamins and minerals needed to stay healthy.  Your precious gift can bring a child back from the brink of malnutrition, with enough supplies to nurture them to good health for several months.”- UNICEFUSA.org


I am a proud member of The Global Team of 200, a highly specialized group of members of Mom Bloggers for Social Good that concentrates on issues involving women and girls, children, world hunger and maternal health. Some of the suggestions for this post came from the Global Team of 200.   Our Motto: Individually we are all powerful. Together we can change the world. We believe in the power of collective action to help others and believe in ourselves to make this world a better place for our children and the world’s children.  Follow along with us here on Tumblr, on TwitterPinterest, and Facebook for the latest Global Team of 200 news.