Hopped a plane, like a routine jet setter, to the Burbank Airport in Southern California. 6.7 miles from the airport is the Autry National Center situated in Griffith Park, across from the Zoo.
Actually a breakfast stop was required, at which time I discovered a foodie’s hole in one, called Porto’s–a Cuban bakery restaurant with pastries, cakes, cookies extraordinaire with plenty of space for sit down customers. Drive just 3 miles in the wrong direction from the Burbank Airport to reach Porto’s (3614 W Magnolia Blvd)–wrong if you are headed directly for the National Autry Center.
At the Autry’s exhibit, A Living Tradition The Art of Native American Basketry, stop at the electronic kiosks to examine some baskets in the enlarge mode. Your eyes will “feel” basket fibers, due to the intense magnification. Then plan to spend about an hour reading plaques and staring at baskets from every region in the United States, including Alaska.
Know what baleen is conceptionally? Here at the museum, you are invited to stroke a section of baleen with your hand. Hands-on-learning cements information into your memory.
Another bonus is reading whether the basketry form you are oogling was made for the maker’s use or for tourist consumption.
There are brief videos of current basket weavers talking about how they chose to make baskets, who influenced their work and what it is like just locating the raw materials before actually weaving a basket.
You come away with a deep appreciation of an art form simply called basketry.
Something fun in their gift shop is a basketmaking kit. It allows you to fashion a basket of your own, without having to wander in fields to locate the raw materials. Cost is about $20.
This exhibit will close May 30, 2010, which means you have 7 months left to travel to Southern California to experience this impressive exhibit!
Corinne Cain of www.SavvyCollector.com