Friday, October 28, 2011

Modern Indigenous Shellac Harvesting and Processing

On Thursday, November 3rd, my friend, Juliane Derry (MCI Conservation Intern) will be giving a presentation at the MCI Theater at the Museum Support Center in Suitland, MD of her trips to India documenting modern day shellac processing. I saw this presentation at the Virginia Restorer's Conference I attended in August. It was enlightening to say the least. I highly recommend the presentation to all interested.

This Museum Conservation Lecture is titled: "Modern Indigenous Shellac Harvesting and Processing"

The official write up relates:
"Over the past three years Ms. Derry has embarked on two trips to India
to research the local commerce in shellac, including the cultivation
and harvesting of the raw resin, trade, and traditional and mechanized
processing. This lecture will recap her experiences and observations
from these trips."

For more information, visit

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pride in All Our Weaving

"It is exhilarating to be part of the crafts of antiquity and it is apparent that the weaving of natural materials is almost as ancient as man himself. Cane is the hard outer bark of the rattan palm. Harvested from manifold locales, this material has been used in everything from the utilitarian country style to the elegant Victorian. The beauty of a cane seat is the balance of simplicity and intricacy. And as one of the most comfortable seats we know, we take pride in all our weaving, knowing with each pull of the rattan that the seeds of satisfaction are sown."

- From "Services" on

Friday, October 14, 2011

How Do You See It?

“When we “see” things, we see by means of light. Select any object such as a book cover, table top, or a flat sheet of pink paper. Look at any single point or uniform area of the object. Now let your eye wander across the whole object. Notice how the aspects of lights you see vary over the surface from one place to another. Note also how your brain interprets that variation. Through such evaluations of patterns of light distribution made over and over again during the course of each day we make most of our judgments concerning things we see. Patterns of light entering the eye are the stimuli on which appearance judgments are based.”

-Richard S Hunter and Richard W. Harold, The Measurement of Appearance

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Living History 1790's Style

I spent the weekend at Leonard's Mills Forest and Logging Museum in Bradley, Maine for their Living History Days. This is a weekend long reenactment of what it was like living in the 1790's. We all had period dress and worked on traditional crafts of the time. I have spent the past few years running the water-powered up-and-down sash mill. It can be seen at the Leonard's Mills Website here >

It is virtually identical to the one in this video...

The Living History Days happens twice a year: once in summer and once in fall. It really is worth coming out for a visit. There is a horse carriage ride, blacksmith, potter, axe throwing, candle making, hide tanning, traditional fire cooking, beehive oven, traditional woodworking, and tons more. Check it out next time around!