Latest News

Lauren Reynolds and John Malloch III

Lauren Reynolds and John Malloch, III, both of Birmingham celebrated their wedding with a reception at the Museum on June 22, 2013.  Lauren and John had a perfect reception thanks to the amazing wedding planning team at Mariee Ami.  The Museum was decorated with beautiful flowers and décor by Buffy Hargett and Mariee Ami.   Guests dined on delicious food from A Social Affair, and enjoyed cake from Barb’s Cakes.   Lauren, John, and all of their guests danced the night away with music from The Tip Tops.  At the end of the night, Lauren and John made their way through confetti as they left the reception.  The entire evening was beautifully captured by A Bryan Photo.  We wish Lauren and John a lifetime of happiness!  

Event Spotlight

Lauren Reynolds and John Malloch III

reynolds featureJune 22, 2013

Lauren Reynolds and John Malloch III, both of Birmingham celebrated their wedding with a reception at the Museum on June 22, 2013.  Lauren and John had a perfect reception thanks to the amazing wedding planning team at Mariee Ami.  The Museum was decorated with beautiful flowers and décor by Buffy Hargett and Mariee Ami.   Guests dined on delicious food from A Social Affair, and enjoyed cake from Barb’s Cakes.   Lauren, John, and all of their guests danced the night away with music from The Tip Tops.  At the end of the night, Lauren and John made their way through confetti as they left the reception.  The entire evening was beautifully captured by A Bryan Photo.  We wish Lauren and John a lifetime of happiness!

Spotlight on the Collection

June 2013: Portland Vase copy

Portland Vase Copy. Wedgwood, about 1790. Stoneware (jasperware). The Dwight and Lucille Beeson Wedgwood Collection.

Portland Vase Copy. Wedgwood, about 1790. Stoneware (jasperware). The Dwight and Lucille Beeson Wedgwood Collection.

Portland Vase Copy, Josiah Wedgwood, 1789

A Roman artist carved the Portland Vase from cameo glass around the 1st century AD. Unearthed in the late 16th or early 17th century, it came into the collection of Margaret Bentinck, 2nd Duchess of Portland, in 1783. Since then, it has borne the name of her family’s seat; they donated it permanently to the British Museum, where it has been a cornerstone of its antiquities collection since 1810.

Sculptor John Flaxman suggested that potter Josiah Wedgwood study the Portland Vase and make copies. Instead of cameo glass, Wedgwood used jasperware, a material he developed from barium sulfate. It took him four years to complete the first copy to his satisfaction, which he then put into production.

Several detailed figures form a frieze around the vase. Although many scholars identify one as Cupid, god of love, the other figures are more ambiguous. Some scholars believe that figures are mythological, suggesting that the couple holding hands are the hero Peleus and his sea-nymph wife, Thetis. Others believe these scenes contain both historic and mythological figures, such as the Roman emperor Augustus, his mother, the sun god Apollo (as a snake), and the sea god Neptune. On the opposite side, some scholars identify the handsome Trojan mortal Paris, his mother Hecuba, and Venus, the goddess of beauty.

The Birmingham Museum of Art’s Wedgwood collection includes two first-edition copies of the Portland Vase. When removing them from the kiln, Wedgwood hand-numbered each copy on the inside; the Museum’s black copy is number 12. Sir Joshua Reynolds, painter, wrote about number 12, stating that it was so accurate to the original Portland Vase that Wedgwood thought it his best copy. A year later, he made a few copies in slate blue; the Museum houses one of only five copies known in this color.

 —Katherine Ladd, education – visitor engagement intern spring 2013

Join the Conversation!

Josiah Wedgwood created a number of copies of the Portland Vase. Museums and private collectors around the world collect these copies, as well as other types of multiple artworks like photographs, prints, and cast-metal sculptures. Do you think that copies of the Portland Vase are as important as the Roman original? Why or why not? How does the number of artworks in an edition affect their “authenticity” or value?

Check out these articles, and join the conversation!

“Ruling on Artistic Authenticity: The Market vs. the Law,” New York Times, August 5, 2012

“Statement on Standards for the Production and Reproduction of Sculpture,” College Art Association

“Prints,” International Fine Prints Dealers Association

Portland Vase Iconography

BBC, Josiah Wedgewood (1730-1795)

Spotlight on the Collection

May 2013: School of Beauty, School of Culture

School of Beauty, School of Culture. Kerry James Marshall, 2012. Acrylic and glitter on unstretched canvas. Museum purchase with funds provided by Elizabeth (Bibby) Smith, the Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art, Jane Comer, the Sankofa Society, and general acquisition funds, 2012.57. © Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy of Kerry James Marshall and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.

School of Beauty, School of Culture. Kerry James Marshall, 2012. Acrylic and glitter on unstretched canvas. Museum purchase with funds provided by Elizabeth (Bibby) Smith, the Collectors Circle for Contemporary Art, Jane Comer, the Sankofa Society, and general acquisition funds, 2012.57. © Kerry James Marshall. Courtesy of Kerry James Marshall and Jack Shainman Gallery, NY.

School of Beauty, School of Culture, Kerry James Marshall, 2012

For many African American artists born during the Civil Rights Movement, turbulent events they witnessed or experienced growing up during that time affect their later work. Kerry James Marshall, who was born in Birmingham in 1955 and grew up in South Central Los Angeles, experienced two hotbeds of national change firsthand. His body of work responds directly to the Civil Rights Movement, its legacy, and evolving, complicated notions of African American identity.

In School of Beauty, School of Culture, Marshall invites the viewer into a beauty school filled with black female and male figures. As the title suggests, the scene is more than just a beauty salon; this setting, familiar to most African Americans, not only teaches a trade but also educates its clientele about African American culture through fellowship.

Throughout the painting, Marshall strategically places cultural signifiers, such as the poster for Lauryn Hill’s Grammy-award winning album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998). Deeply personal, the album chronicles Hill’s struggles with interpersonal turmoil, love, and God, and continue to resonate today.

The clock reflected in the mirror at right reads “Nation Time,” the title of a song by African American tenor-saxophonist Joe McPhee. Mostly instrumental, the question “What time is it?” becomes a constant refrain, to which a crowd responds “Nation time!,” a direct reference to the black power and black nationalism movements of the 1970s.

Also reflected is the title of the painting written on a wall, suggesting that School of Beauty, School of Culture may also be the name of the salon/beauty school. The words sit atop a red, black, and green border, better recognizable as the Pan-African (or Afro-American) flag, a symbol of the black power movement. Each color in the flag has meaning: red represents the blood connection between all Africans; black, the general skin color; and green, the African land.

Besides these cultural references, Marshall further alludes to art history, perhaps to connect African Americans with Western artistic traditions. Seen in skewed perspective, the blond-haired, blue-eyed head of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty recalls the anamorphic skull in Hans Holbein’s The Ambassadors (1533). The presence of the head here comments that, to many Americans, the ideal of beauty is a fair-haired white girl; in this environment, though, that image is both literally and figuratively out of place.

Finally, the figures at right, who watch intently as a stylist washes her client’s hair, could refer to Rembrandt van Rijn’s The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp (1632). Similarly to how Rembrandt doctor instructs student’s about human musculature, the salon client reclines as the stylist gives instructions about her hair. Both environments are places of learning.

In an interview with Ron Platt, the Museum’s curator of modern and contemporary art, Marshall said, “My whole orientation as an artist is towards showing people things that they wouldn’t be able to see if I didn’t put them in a picture.” He intentionally leaves some ambiguity in the painting to encourage viewers with questions and find connections – or disconnections – for themselves.

—Katherine Ladd, education – visitor engagement intern, spring 2013

Join the Conversation!

Kerry James Marshall’s life experiences inform his artworks. In an Interview with Public Broadcasting Service’s Art 21, Marshall says “You can’t be born in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1955 and grow up in South Central [Los Angeles] near the Black Panthers headquarters, and not feel like you’ve got some kind of social responsibility.” What do you think that “social responsibility” is, and how does he achieve it? What is your social responsibility?

Take a look at these other works by Marshall, and join the conversation!

De Style,  1993

Better Homes, Better Gardens, 1994

Souvenir II, 1997

“Kerry James Marshall at Secession,” Contemporary Art Daily, November 20, 2012

Art 21: Interview with Kerry James Marshall

Spotlight on the Collection

April 2013: Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain

Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain. Zapotec Culture, Mexico, about AD 450. Fired clay. 21 × 12 × 11 inches. Museum purchase, 1965.33.

Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain. Zapotec Culture, Mexico, about AD 450. Fired clay. 21 × 12 × 11 inches. Museum purchase, 1965.33.

Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain, Zapotec culture, Mexico, about AD 450

You can’t take it with you – or can you?

The saying “you can’t take it with you” encourages people to enjoy life to the fullest since worldly goods and wealth remain behind after death. However, not all cultures agree with this idea, as evidenced by the wealth of objects discovered in ancient tombs from across the globe. Even in contemporary society, people deposit personal mementos, family heirlooms, or other significant items into the caskets and urns of loved ones they have lost.

The Zapotecs, whose culture thrived from 200 BC to AD 750 in what is now the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, placed objects such as Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain in their tombs. The artist made Cosijo – whose name means “lightning” – recognizable by his characteristic facial features. According to Emily Hanna, the Museum’s curator of the arts of Africa and the Americas, “his eyebrows depict the heavens, his lower lids represent clouds, while the forked serpent’s tongue represents a bolt of lightning.” His mouth’s feline qualities associate him with the earth-jaguar, while the snake-like elements on his headdress connect him with the sky-serpent. The seated deity’s ornate decorations also include large ear spools, a beaded necklace, and a fringed costume.

Archaeologists disagree whether the Zapotecs used  urns like Cosijo, the God of Rain prior to burial or created them specifically for funerary use. The Zapotecs buried similar urns depicting this deity in many tombs – often multiples in the same tomb. They associated Cosijo with rainfall, a life-giving force in a rugged and arid landscape that required irrigation and dependable rainfall to sustain human, animal, and plant life. The annual process of renewal and growth through farming connected to broader beliefs about the cyclical nature of life and death. They surrounded deceased members of their society with objects such as Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain as a way to signal that death was but one phase in the ongoing circle of life.

—Samantha Kelly, curator of education

Read on!

For more information about Cosijo and Zapotec culture, take a look at these links.

“New Pyramid Found With Vivid Murals, Stacked Tombs,” National Geographic Daily News, August 17, 2012

Mont Albán,” “Monte Albán: Sacred Architecture,” and “Monte Albán: Stone Sculpture,” Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History, Metropolitan Museum of Art

Join the conversation!

What are some of the many different ways that cultures conceive of death? If you could take something with you when your life ends, what would it be and why?

Take a look at these works at the BMA and beyond, and join the conversation!

Allegory of Charles I of England and Henrietta of France in a Vanitas Still Life, Carstian Luyckx, about 1669

Tomb guardian, Chinese, about 300 BC

“Handsets Get Taken to the Grave,” BBC News, March 29, 2006

Spotlight on the Collection

March 2013: Shiva and Parvati

Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Mahesvara). India, Halebid region, Karnataka, 12th-13th centuries. Chloritic schist. Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1990 Museum Dinner and Ball, 1990.109.

Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Mahesvara). India, Halebid region, Karnataka, 12th-13th centuries. Chloritic schist. Museum purchase with funds provided by the 1990 Museum Dinner and Ball, 1990.109.

Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Mahesvara), Indian, about 1150

Shiva and Parvati (Uma-Mahesvara) once adorned a temple in Halebid, India. This sculpture depicts the Hindu gods Shiva, his wife Parvati, and their two sons: the elephant-headed god Ganesha on their right, and the peacock god Karttikeya on their left. The Sanskrit term Uma-Mahesvara refers to images of this divine couple.

Shiva and Parvati likely graced the outside wall of a temple dedicated to Shiva. The god’s knee is particularly shiny, most likely as a result of the temple’s visitors rubbing it in passing for good luck.

Sculpture has decorated houses of worship for thousands of years, from the façades of ancient Greek temples, interiors of Renaissance cathedrals, to modern-day mega-churches. Much like the faithful in the Western world, Hindus portray their gods, goddesses, and other important religious figures in sculpture.

Halebid (Halebidu), a city in the Karnataka region of southern India, served as the Hoysala Empire’s capital from about the 10th to the 14th centuries. This empire supported the construction of temples and the arts.

One of Shiva and Parvati’s most striking features is the contrast between the smooth bodies and the ornate carvings that surround them. Hoysala artists are known for their deep, precise, and intricate carving, unique to this period of Indian art history. The combination of the carvings, dark stone, and natural light created dramatic and intense shadows around the sculpture.

 —Leta Woller, education – visitor engagement intern 2012-2013

Join the Conversation!

How artists depict religious figures varies from religion to religion. Some might show a deity as powerful or wrathful, while another artist might depict the same figure as peaceful or contemplative. What words do you use to describe a higher power that you cannot see? How would you choose  to illustrate that figure?

Take a look at these works at the BMA and beyond, and join the conversation!

The Ascetic Sakyamuni, China, Yuan dynasty, about 1300

Madonna and Christ Child with a Bishop Saint, Saint John the Baptist, Saint Michael and an Unidentified Saint, Goodhart-Ducciesque Master, about 1310/1320

Urn Representing Cosijo, the God of Rain, Zapotec culture, Mexico, about 450 AD

“Fighting over God’s Image,” New York Times, September 27, 2012

 “True Colors,” Smithsonian magazine, July 2008

Spotlight on the Collection

February 2013: Power Figure (Nkishi)

Power Figure (Nkishi). Songye people, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lubao Territory, early 20th century. Wood, hide, horn, metal, fiber, glass beads. 35 × 7 1/2 × 8 inches. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Birmingham City Council through the Birmingham Arts Commission, and the Endowed Fund for Acquisitions, 1989.64.

Power Figure (Nkishi). Songye people, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lubao Territory, early 20th century. Wood, hide, horn, metal, fiber, glass beads. 35 × 7 1/2 × 8 inches. Museum purchase with funds provided by the Birmingham City Council through the Birmingham Arts Commission, and the Endowed Fund for Acquisitions, 1989.64.

Power Figure (Nkishi), Songye People

Every culture has idea about power and how to represent it. Some may define power as physical strength; others may conceive of it as the ability to change and influence people; still others may describe it as a spiritual quality. For the Songye people of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the latter idea of power was an essential part of their culture. The Songye – as well as other peoples in the Southern Savannah region of Africa – used minkishi (singular nkishi) to capture that power for the benefit of the tribe, such as protecting the village from illness or outside aggression.

The Songye understood negative power in two ways. The first, buci, was a power much like witchcraft with which an individual was born, transmitted from mother to child. They believe it to reside in an individual’s heart or stomach, and he or she could control it internally. An individual gained the second form of negative power, masende, from ancestors or other deceased members of the tribe. Benevolent nkishi figures helped protect the Songye from both of these forces.

To make a nkishi, an artist first carved the wooden exterior form into poses meant to appear threatening or aggressive to malevolent spirits. The sculptor then turned it over to a nganga, or ritual specialist, who adorned it with decorative objects made of natural minerals and animal or vegetable parts. Finally, to formulate its powers, the nganga concealed bishima, or spiritually meaningful ingredients, somewhere inside the figure – usually in the stomach or a horn affixed to the figure’s head.

The significance of nkishi resided in their mystical qualities and the purpose they served an individual or the community. The potential of a nkishi depends on objects the nganga distributed throughout. These materials transform it from an idle figure to a powerful spiritual tool. The decorative objects on the exterior are practical rather than aesthetic. For example, the nails piercing many minkishi represent and extend their magical forces.

Smaller minkishi typically belonged to individual households for private use, while larger ones usually protected the community as a whole. The community usually kept the latter hidden from view, allowing only Songye priestesses to access them. The protective power emitted by these figures represent both the safety and the benevolent protection of Songye society.

—Leta Woller, education – visitor engagement intern 2012-2013

Join the Conversation!

How do you define power? Power can be understood in different ways, and people may go to extremes to achieve it. Consider rulers that have taken power through upheaval, such as Fidel Castro and Joseph Stalin; compare and contrast with leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., who promoted power through nonviolence. Also take into account objects like minkishi that possessed spiritual power over evil forces.

Take a look at these works from the BMA and beyond and join the conversation!

Grand Canyon, Yellowstone River, Wyoming, William Louis Sonntag, Sr., 1886

Last Judgement, Leandro dal Ponte, called Leandro Bassano (about 1595/6-1605)

“Morsy using ‘language of a dictator’: President Morsy’s new decree allows him to wield more power than Mubarak, says Egypt opposition leader Mohammad ElBaradei”, CNN, November 23, 2012

“Martin Luther King, Jr.-Influence of Ghandi and Nonviolence,” YouTube

“Gandhi- The Philosophy of Nonviolence,” YouTube

Spotlight on the Collection

January 2013: The Sorceress

L’envoûteuse (The Sorceress). Georges Merle, 1883. Oil on canvas. 57 1/2 × 45 inches. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by Children of the Vann Family: William O. Vann, Sally V. Worthen, Robert D. Vann, in memory of Suzanne Oliver Vann, AFI2.2009.

L’envoûteuse (The Sorceress). Georges Merle, 1883. Oil on canvas. 57 1/2 × 45 inches. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Purchase with funds provided by Children of the Vann Family: William O. Vann, Sally V. Worthen, Robert D. Vann, in memory of Suzanne Oliver Vann, AFI2.2009.

L’envoûteuse (The Sorceress), Georges Merle

The worldview of Europeans in the 19th century expanded far beyond their own borders. While Napoleon’s military campaigns exposed the French to Moorish culture in Spain and North Africa, the Industrial Revolution introduced the railroad, which made distant lands, cultures, and peoples more accessible. Artists interested in the Middle and Far East – called Orientalists – traveled to the Ottoman Empire, North Africa, the Holy Lands, and occasionally East Asia to portray the people and monuments there firsthand.

To Europeans, the “other” proved both captivating and mysterious. Orientalist art allowed Europeans to project their desires and fears onto real or imagined cultures entirely different from their own while leaving themselves ostensibly unchanged. They found the rich colors, lush textiles, and distinctive architecture of the East particularly attractive.

Even if they had not traveled to the East, Europeans based their ideas of “exotic” cultures on descriptions provided by artists and writers. While some of these images reflected reality in some way, they often exaggerated what Europeans would find shocking or desirable – nude harem women, turban-clad men, and mysterious interiors – rather than truly representing everyday life in the Orient. Artists and writers often saw what they wanted to see; or, rather, they produced what the European public wanted to consume.

The Sorceress portrays one such Eastern woman. Her clothing, surroundings, and implements – a voodoo doll, upside-down crucifix, and pentagram with Arabic inscriptions – all indicate that she is in the midst of a magical spell. When The Sorceress debuted at the annual Salon exhibition in 1883, it fit well with other academic art due to Merles’s subject matter, careful choice of details, jewel-like colors, and exacting brushstrokes – typical of the popular style of the day.

—Leta Woller, education – visitor engagement intern 2012-2013

Join the conversation!

Just as 19th-century European artists glamorized the East, many people today continue to stereotype cultures different from their own. Whether on film or in the media, it is often difficult to see a culture outside of that stereotype or not to project the acts of a small group onto the beliefs of a population as a whole. When do stereotypes evolve into prejudice?

Take a look at these works at the BMA and beyond, and join the conversation!

L’Arabe pleurant son coursier (The Arab Lamenting the Death of his Steed), Jean-Baptiste Mauzisse

“Will ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ be banned as racist in Brooklyn?” New York Post, July 12, 2011

“Beliefs: With more than a year gone by, American Muslims debate Islam, intolerance, terrorism and the significance of Sept. 11,” New York Times, December 7, 2002

Spotlight on the Collection

December 2012: Cradleboard

Cradleboard. Kiowa or Comanche people, about 1850-1870. Animal hide, textile, glass beads, tin. Museum purchase with funds provided by the 2004 Museum Dinner and Ball and general acquisition funds, 2005.103.

Cradleboard. Kiowa or Comanche people, about 1850-1870. Animal hide, textile, glass beads, tin. Museum purchase with funds provided by the 2004 Museum Dinner and Ball and general acquisition funds, 2005.103.

Cradleboard, Kiowa or Comanche people, about 1850-1870

The Kiowa and Comanche peoples once inhabited the plains and hills of central North America. Rather than establishing permanent settlements for farming, these nomads followed herds of buffalo, an animal that provided both food and raw materials for everyday objects. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the acquisition of horses allowed them to travel faster and to transport goods more easily.

Kiowa and Comanche artists decorated objects that were both functional and beautiful, like this cradleboard. To incorporate children into society as early as possible, mothers used them to carry infants on their backs or to keep children upright when at rest. The Kiowa and Comanche often passed down cradleboards through generations, linking both familial and cultural identity.

As white settlers moved west seeking land and resources, the American government forced Native Americans to leave their ancestral homelands and to move onto reservations. In the 1860s, the government relocated the Kiowa and Comanche peoples to a small reservation in modern-day Oklahoma.

Objects like this cradleboard show how a radical change in lifestyle can affect a population. Although the Kiowa and Comanche used cradleboards for centuries, craftspeople did not usually decorate them elaborately. Settled life on the reservation differed greatly from hunter-gatherer traditions. Trade gave artists access to materials not available before – cloth, glass beads, and finished lumber – that became essential tools allowing them to work in new ways. Artists used the increased time and materials to turn everyday objects into works of art.

The reservation period only lasted for about 25 to 30 years, after which the creation of elaborately beaded objects became obsolete. Contemporary Kiowa and Comanche artists, however, are reviving artistic traditions like beaded cradleboards.

 —Leta Woller, education – visitor engagement intern 2012-2013

Join the conversation!

As war and other disasters displace many people around the world from their homelands, how do you think their cultures change? If you were forced out of the country or region where you grew up, do you think you would lose aspects of your identity? If so, how would that affect your sense of character?

Take a look at these works at the BMA and beyond, and join the conversation!

End of the Trail, James Earle Fraser

Married Woman’s Apron (Meputo), Ndebele people, South Africa

The Making of an American: An Iraqi’s Journey to Citizenship by Marwan Sadiq, Time Magazine, July 6, 2012

Life and War in Afghanistan: May 2012, The Washington Post, May 7, 2012

“Inside Mali Refugee Camp,” CNN, July 24, 2012

Mystery Object

Winter 2012-Spring 2013: Asparagus Shells

Asparagus Server. Derby porcelain manufactory, England, about 1770. Porcelain. 3 3/16 x 3 1/4 in. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Catherine H. Collins Collection, AFI194.1998.

Asparagus Server. Derby porcelain manufactory, England, about 1770. Porcelain. 3 3/16 x 3 1/4 in. Collection of the Art Fund, Inc. at the Birmingham Museum of Art; Catherine H. Collins Collection, AFI194.1998.

These small, flat receptacles are called asparagus shells. During the 18th century in England, highly decorated ceramic asparagus shells graced the elegant dining tables of the wealthiest individuals, who used them to serve bundles of long asparagus spears.

Usually about three inches long with low, vertical sides, asparagus shells were open at both ends and tapered toward one side. When placed together, a set of asparagus shells formed a circle.

Comments from the gallery

Question: “How would you use an object like this in your life?”
  • “To keep my pens from rolling across my desk.”
  • “To hold Grandpa’s false teeth.”
  • “Cell phone holder on my desk.”
  • “Put them all together to make a launch ramp for my Hot Wheels.”
  • “To separate snacks in a snack dish. A very fancy snack dish!”
  • “As an iPad holder.”
  • “Not in my life, but perhaps it was used as a pedestal for setting wigs on?”
  • “To hold something small like a sewing needle.”
  • “Pie slice separator.”
  • “I would use it for bookends.”
  • “You rest your silverware on it, so you don’t get the tablecloth dirty.”
  • “Nacho cheese scooper.”
  • “I’d give it to my aunt for brownie points!”
  • “To drain a tea bag into the teacup.”
  • “Set my utensils on while cooking or eating so they don’t get dirty.”
  • “Plate for my silver rings.”
  • “I would give it to a mouse, as a room divider.”
  • “Spoon rest while drinking afternoon tea.”
  • “As a shield when pouring tea (loose) into a container.”
  • “I would use it as a mini dressing screen for my dolls.”
  • “To hold tacos. Yum!”
  • “I would use it to scrape the last pieces of corn off my plate. I can never get them.”
  • “To hold tiny food.”
  • “To impress women.”
  • “Gotta be chopstick rests!”
  • “I’d use it to hold silverwear, tea bags, or lemon wedges.”
  • “To put in a frame and use for decoration.”
  • “I would use this object to scoop sugars into tea.”
  • “I would use it as a spoon rest or for cheeses.”
  • “To place your silverwear after using it.”
  • “A tile in the kitchen around the bottom rim of cabinets.”
  • “I would put it behind a glass partition and hang it on the wall.”
  • “To scoop sugar, flour, and corn meal.”
  • “To hold potatoes.”
  • “Knife rest.”
  • “To scoop up pencil sharpenings.”
Question: “What are the first three words that come to mind when you look at this object?”
  • “Tea time – strain – biscuits”
  • “Dutch – windmill – clogs”
  • “Wow – cool – China”
  • “Tea – tapan – garden”
  • “Fancy – expensive – caviar”
  • “Bananas – ketchup – mustard”
  • “My – grandma’s house”
  • “Luxury – elegant – food”
  • “Weird – antique – fragile”
  • “White – purposeful – sturdy”
  • “Asian – elegant – fragile”
  • “Broken – ancient – lazy (too lazy to fix it)”
  • “China – spoon – awkward”
  • “Mini – Barbie – table”
  • “A – broken – plate”