“the invisible value of sewing” 1958

I was quite tickled when I came across this little invitation to a needlepoint exhibition and a tea in the faculty club to meet the artist. What, I thought, could possibly be sweeter, or more old fashioned?

Knowing Mrs. Owen, though, I should have thought twice. I certainly did not see needlepoints of steel mill blast furnaces coming:

A wonderful article about Mrs. Johnstone and these needlepoints in particular can be found here. It’s quite a story.

I once again find myself admiring the willingness of the Rice community and especially Fondren to embrace an ambitious, curious, and forward-looking program of cultural exhibitions during the middle decades of the century. Once we had the new library building in place they used that Lecture Lounge hard.

Bonus: I don’t know what this is about. The statue was cleaned and refinished not that long ago, just before the centennial if I recall correctly.



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4 Responses to “the invisible value of sewing” 1958

  1. Sandy Havens says:

    As the final production of my first year as director of Rice Players we chose Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale. The then Dean of Women approached me and suggested that it would be a fine thing to display in the upper lobby of Hamman Hall an exhibition of one of her friend’s sculptures of Shakespeare’s female characters to accompany our production. Sure. Sounds like a fine idea. So I agreed and the exhibit arrived and was installed under the supervision of the artist. At the conclusion of the production and the removal of the exhibition I was presented with an invoice for the shipping, installation, and insurance costs of the exhibition. It was several thousand dollars and Rice Players had no such funds in our minimal budget. I appealed to the Dean of Women. Subsequently I was called into the office of the then Chancellor of the university and chastised for being an irresponsible artist type. Silly me.

    • Melissa Kean says:

      Hahahahaha! I can almost hear it! I need to tell you about some Alan Chapman/Franz Brotzen correspondence regarding the then Chancellor of the university.

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" Pratt, Rice Institute 1956 says:

      Sandy, I kept trying to tell you back then that “How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is
      to have a thankless Chancellor!”

  2. grungy1973 says:

    The cleanup was apparently an effort so he would look his nicest for his birthday.

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