Saturday, September 29, 2012

Textiles Day 3

First impressions of Washington: People are very helpful. I noticed this earlier having received emails from staff at the Smithsonian but, well, it can be easy to convey kindness, thoughtfulness, friendliness and helpfulness from emails. More importantly, I found it to be true in person. Doormen, security guards, hotel clerks, curators. They are all friendly, relaxed and helpful. Even in the National Museum of the American Indian cafeteria where there was a lineup of people desperate for coffee and food, a potentially stressful situation for the workers, but no, they took it all in stride. The were relaxed and just kept producing and serving all the while with a calm smile on their faces. This was also true of the corner Starbucks downtown, where the lineup went out the door. People seemed happy.
Second impression. Washington DC is a professional, urban city. Lots happening, lots of culture, lots of government buildings, lots of suits and ties, lots of slim working women and a ton of tourists who just may learn something from the locals.
[Photo: National Museum of the
American Indian]
I rented a bike from one of those bike stations scattered about the city. This is the way to see Washington! Although, I also saw groups of people both young and old, scooting around on Segways, those two wheeled stand-up vertical scooters.
I biked over to the National Museum of the American Indian which is a stunning building. Designed by the same architect that designed the Canadian Museum of Civilization. See my blog post about that building here.  
Built into the wall of the atriums' 4 story high lobby are prisms aligned perfectly to cast their rainbows into the bulls-eye centre of the floor at summer and winter solstice.
[Photo:Salish spindle whorls]
While there, a drummer sang and beat his drum in the centre of the atrium. It was a powerful performance with the beat of the drum going right through your being.

And it was wonderful to see, right in the entrance of the atrium, four Salish spindle whorls from home, three old ones, and a new modern glass one 'Sacred Circle' by Susan Point. One of the wooden whorls is from Snuneymuxw (top right)1840-1900, the others are from Cowichan one whorl with salmon and raven carved onto it and the other with a double-headed serpent design both from 1800-1860.

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