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14 Things to do at home

Part 2 of 2

#8: Bird-watching. And/or nature photography.

Here in Virginia, the sun is out, the sky is clear... time to grab your vintage Leica M3 with Leitz Wetzlar 1:4/135mm Lens and shoot some spring pictures.

Founded in 1869 in Germany by Ernst Leitz, Leica produced a variety of lenses, from this camera lens to lenses used in rifle scopes and ophthalmology. This particular camera model dates from the 1960's, and comes with a neat vintage carrying case. The company still produces cameras today - although modern models are more likely to rely on digital than manual systems.

While you snap pictures of cherry blossoms and birds, remember to maintain the proper social distancing between yourself and others on the trail!

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#9: Find a new summer beverage - and a fancy bowl to put it in.

After watching a Facebook video published by Preservation Virginia about homemade Norfolk Punch served up in an antique, Chinese export ware bowl, we've been inspired to share some quite nice antique Chinese bowls which could have served a similar purpose at one time. 

Using antique porcelain bowls as punch bowls today is not strongly recommended - besides the fact that they're, well, antique, it is always possible that the older glazes contained impurities not permitted in commercial dishware now. 

As for which beverage might have merited such vessels... we leave it to you to decide.

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#10: Call your mother (or other family members).

This time of year is rich in religious holidays - whether that's EasterPassoverRamadan, or even Beltane - for which families and friends are meant to gather together.

Things are a little different this year, as we strive to observe social distancing and keep our communities healthy. It's all the more important, therefore, to stay in touch with loved ones - like your mother.

This poignant example of maternal love is a 17th-18th century Peruvian painting of a Lactating Madonna, by an artist in the Cusco School of Peruvian painters. While drawing on European painterly traditions and techniques, by the 17th century, the Cusco School was also known for references to local flora and fauna in its imagery and themes which mixed colonial, Roman-Catholic images with influences from native Quechua and mestizo art and culture.

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#11. Quilting.

Defined as ‘joining together layers of fabric with lines of stitching,’ quilting and creating quilted blankets has been part of American culture since colonial times. Its appeal, today and in the past, lies in its “international, diverse history, rooted in necessity (need for bed covers, and warmth), economy (reusing scraps and discarded fabric), and ultimately the need for human self expression,” according to the Textile Arts Center.

One quintessential quality to American quilts beginning in the 19th century is the predominance of patching or piecing - joining scraps or carefully cut pieces of fabric together into patterns and plays of color and form. Patterns like the Double Wedding Ring, Friendship Star, and Jacob’s Ladder became both standardised and constantly improvised with variations in color, the number of pieces used in a block, and the overall arrangement of the pieced blocks.

Once the piecing of a block quilt is finished, the quilter - independently or with a Sewing Bee style group - adds additional layers, like batting and a quilt back, before stitching through all layers. This ‘quilting’ not only adds warmth and weight to the final product, but also decorates the quilt with elaborate patterns in relief.

While the modern quilter has a wide array of machines to support both piecing and quilting, older quilts like this Vintage Barn Quilt in our upcoming May Art, Antiques & Collectibles auction were often sewn entirely by hand. The investment in time and creativity elevates the quilt from a useful domestic product to a work of art and cultural expression.


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#12: Plan your next trip.

These antique and vintage maps of the Washington, DC area offer a vicarious way to travel the region as well as inspiration for things to do once the need to stay at home abates.

Maps have long been a collector's item - as Glen McLaughlin puts it in his 2012 article "Maps: What I Collect and Why," maps are "visually stunning, historically significant, while chronicling discoveries and portraying mystical places created in the mind of man." Often large and colorful, they make useful wall decorations and educational tools. More importantly, though, they excite the imagination.

Different eras have different ways of creating and using maps. Medieval travelers consulted maps not only as topographical guides but also ways of navigating cultural and mystical spaces - for example, placing the Holy City of Jerusalem at the center of the world or pointing out where be dragons.

Today's maps, with their technological enhancements, reveal some of our shifting cultural priorities, helping us to find the nearest coffee shop or gas station and keeping us, as the map user, always at the center.

Maps help to orient us in time, space, and community. At a time when our physical movements are curtailed, collecting and (or) reading maps can help us to go abroad while still looking out for the safety of our friends and families.

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About the Author

Katharina Biermann joined Oakridge Auction Gallery in the beginning of 2019, having completed her Master of Letters at the University of Glasgow in the History of Art with a specialization in Dress and Textile Histories. Ms. Biermann developed hands-on expertise of European arts and culture while interning in internationally renowned institutions including the National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, NY. She remains particularly interested in medieval and 19th-20th century visual and material culture.


Fri, Apr 17, 2020 2:11 PM

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