Fine Arts at Strathmore Mansion 12-06-08

Today my girl Hila and I went to Strathmore Mansion in North Bethesda, MD to see the fine art galleries. I noticed in their newsletter that they have a textile artist showing until January 3rd so naturally my love for all aspects of fashion drew me to the exhibit.

For those that have never been to Strathmore Mansion or the adjacent Music Center I would say to take the short trip from the beltway to see it. This time of the year is the best because the Mansion is decorated for the holidays as you can see from mine and Hila’s pictures.

The Strathmore Mansion and Music Center are truly one of Bethesda’s amazingly beautiful architectural landmarks:

The current exhibitions are:

I. Jane Brashares – handmade paper and mixed media
This incredible artist gave the small Invitational Gallery real presence; the unusual mediums of the artist completely draws you in. Hila and I had fun reading the titles of the pieces and getting a real sense of the artists intent of each piece. The titles were what gave the piece purpose but the use of sea glass, stones, wood, wire and handmade paper made you fall in love.


1. Just Hanging
2. The Dancer (and not just because I was one)

3. Cascade 4. Happy Birthday (piece on the top right)

5. The Owl5. Dock of the Bay

II. Alice Hui – pottery
Also located in the meek Invitational Gallery are these sculptural pottery works that are both wheel thrown and slab built. For those that know me they know I love unusual, vibrant, colored works. When a color defies the choosen medium, that’s when my heart skips a beat. The splashes of blood red Alice uses in her Flambe pieces were the true stand outs of the collection. She also picked a gold speckled glaze that she called “dust” to create beautiful contrasting patterns in her functional pieces. As with Jane Brashares collection the prices of this collection were not only fair but reasonable.


1. The Gala Flambe Figured Vase (set of 4)

2. Oribe Bowl

3. Flambe Pour Bowl

4. Chun’s Blue with Dust

6. Chun’s Blue Altered Vase (modeled by the lovely Hila)

7. Tea Dust Plate

III. 75th Annual International Exhibition of Fine Art in Miniature – Diamond Anniversary

I would way that the name says it all, but far from it. The Miniature Painter, Sculptors, and Gravers Society of Washington, DC’s (1931-2008) master works of art was a complete wonder.

I am always humbled by great art but to see paintings with details that compare to the great masters of all time in miniature was increble to see; [the details] made you forget about the size of the piece.

The vibrancy of the colors, the subjects, the frames all made me want to stay there forever examining every brush stroke and pondering, “How’d they do that?”

No painting was over 25 square inches and the lower floor of the Mansion has works painted on piano keys.


1. Attic Treasure (this was worth the whole gallery trip for me)

2. Thorsmork, Iceland (I love that this was done on stainless steel)

3. Grey Squirrel
4. Summer Fun (Oil on Ivorine)
5. Winter Creekside (Oil on Silk)
6. Studio Chat
7. Unknown – The last piece I forgot the title of but isn’t it beautiful

IV. Nebiur Arellano: Timeless Filigree – textile artist
The Peruvian artist is what got me to go to Strathmore Mansion to begin with and I will say that she took my breath away.
Her works were displayed throughout the Mansion and I was truly captivated from wall to wall. Nebiur uses beautifully dyed silks as her canvas so that she can overlay a variety of mediums from oil paint, silk thread, gold and silver leaf as well as sand. I believe that Nebiur said it best in her bio, “Silk, a noble and strong fiber, has no boundaries.”
Her works are inspired by Pre-Columbian art and in her bio she mentions the masters Klimt, Miro, Mondrain, and Klee (which she pays homage to – see below in FIERECABULOUS PICKS).
It’s artist like Nebiur that allow me to show people the art in fashion and textiles. I believe that textiles are the greatest mediums for art but then again I am biased.
This collection gave me a real inspirational charge and I am thrilled to have had the opportunity to see these works as closely and intimately as I did.
Hila and I had gone through the entire Mansion, and were ready for some food; we went back to the 1st floor because we missed the piano key miniatures. As we were walking out of that part of the gallery we heard that Nebiur Arellano was there and I asked her if she wouldn’t mind posing next to one of her pieces (see below).


1. Daydreaming

2. Lollipops Garden in Gold and Silver
3. Chan-Chan Town on sand and silk (this is the close up of this piece)

4. Family Tree (this is the close up of this piece)

5. Homage to Klee
6. Taino figures on sand and silk (this is a picture with the artist and a close-up) – although muted tones are not my thing, this was by far one of my favorite pieces of the collection

My gallery day with Hila was just the inspiration I needed this week. The Mansion was open for families to come and take photos with Santa (which baffled Hila, an Israeli Jew) and they were also holding a high tea (they have weekly high tea events for a very reasonable price, if you are interested visit the Strathmore Mansion website:

Stay Fashionable!

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