Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Museum of Contemporary Craft: A True Learning Environment

The Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland is hosting a Betty Feves retrospective exhibition through July 28.   Her sculptures and pottery offer a glimpse into a parallel history of making in the mid-20th century, from a female perspective.   I had not heard of Feves before seeing the exhibit, but during my 90 minute exploration, I was able to gain a pretty good understanding of the modernist sculptor/potter's background and processes.  

What makes the Museum of Contemporary Craft so enjoyable is that is is a true learning environment.  The 4500 sq foot space is airy, with giant windows and tall ceilings.  The modular pedestals are pared-down, utilizing plywood construction.  The exhibit includes ample quotations, printed on simple cardstock, giving the viewer a glimpse into Feves’ thought processes from her own words.  Viewers can scroll through digital pages of Feves’ sketchbook.  On the second level, a special display about Feves’ techniques included her meticulous glaze notations, test tiles and some of her tools and brushes.  The interactive lab allows museum visitors to engage in the direct process of making, using pebbles and stones, modeling clay, cork and wood.  Visitors can jot down a few words about their making experience, as well as place their creations amidst the other creations made during the exhibit.  
Sculpture by Betty Feves

View of the 1st floor gallery space
Interactive sketchbook
Display of Feves' process
CraftLAB displays museum-goer's creations
The Museum of Contemporary Craft


724 NW Davis Street
Portland, Oregon 97209
tel. 503 223 2654


Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am–6 pm
First Thursdays, 11 am–8 pm

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