It was a little over four years ago that Jane Goss first went to Savage Mill to rent a space. And what she had in mind then was to paint -- just to paint. But, as someone once said, life is what happens to you while you're making other plans.
She went on a trip to the American Southwest and there she fell in love with American Indian art and culture. First it influenced her own work. Then her studio expanded and started looking more and more like a gallery, bursting with American Indian artworks and artifacts. Finally she gave it a name: the Earth Art Gallery.
What Ms. Goss has created here is a doorway between cultures, a shop where the works of American Indian artists (and other artists influenced by them) are on display.
There are examples of Acoma pottery, Navajo wall hangings, feather art, salt-fired pottery, wood sculptures of Indian and totem poles, and a satin star quilt by a woman of the Mandan tribe in North Dakota.
There are bola ties, turquoise jewelry and
other types of jewelry, cards with American Indian themes, incense wands, sage smudge sticks, recordings of American Indian music, plus books and videos on American Indian art and culture.
There are whimsical things, too -- soft sculpture cactus and ceramic skulls by an Albuquerque, N.M., potter.
Currently Ms. Goss is having her fourth annual Native American Arts Show, which features the drawings and paintings of Wayne Beyale, a Navajo painter from Colorado, and of Jean Bales, a painter from Oklahoma who is one of the few remaining Iowa Indians. The show runs through Nov. 21.
Ms. Goss also sponsors workshops. The next is one on shamanism on Nov. 18.
Hours at the shop are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays to Sundays. It is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays by chance or appointment.
The Earth Art Gallery is located in the Bollman Art Studios in the Old Carding Building at Historic Savage Mill, 8600 Foundry St. in Savage. The telephone number is 604-2202.
Miniatures and doll houses
First, consider the story of the rug:
A mouse had come to an early end at the home of Nancy Coates Smith. Anyone else would have cringed and gotten rid of the thing as quickly as possible. But Ms. Smith looked at the mouse and saw potential. It was little. It was cute (well, sort of). Somehow this mouse had a future.
She called in her husband who, after a little creative taxidermy, transformed the mouse into a tiny mouseskin rug. Just the thing for placing in front of the hearth in her current doll house project.
Then there's Anne Wood, an art teacher at Perryville High School, who got a pair of skeleton earrings as a gift from a student. After one disappeared she decided to build a doll house, a wizard house, around the remaining skeleton.
It seems that working on doll houses and otherwise re-creating the world in miniature has a strange effect on some people. And you can see the fruits of this at the annual Miniatures and Dollhouse Exhibit at Liriodendron Mansion.
There are over 25 doll houses, plus individual miniature rooms and other miniature displays at the show, which is sponsored by the museum committee of the Liriodendron Foundation.
The doll houses at the show range from old ones, made in the 1890s, to ones made just for this year's show.
There is a Victorian rabbit house by Pat Kazi with tiny rabbit maids wearing lace collars. There is a sheriff's office and saloon made by John McLane. Nancy Smith's mother, Margery Coates, built a "Night Before Christmas" house and a miniature motorcycle shop like one her husband used to have.
Each year at the show, the My Favorite Things Miniature Group picks themes for its display. This year the themes are the front porch, a country store and a yarn shop.
There is also a display case filled with antique miniature cars, trucks and trains.
With one exception (it will be closed on Nov. 25), the show is open on Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. through Dec. 9.
Liriodendron -- which is the restored home of Dr. Howard Kelly, one of the founders of the Johns Hopkins Hospital -- is located at 502 Gordon St. in Bel Air.
Books for winter nights
Summer doesn't really end in September when they say it ends. It dies slowly, a little bit at a time. There's Labor Day, then the first day of school, the first flock of geese flying south, the first frost, the last leaf.
But maybe the most depressing of these dozens of small deaths came last Sunday morning when the clocks went back to standard time. There's no pretending anymore when you have to drive home in the dark.
Just in time are two new books that should help you make it through the long winter's night: "Classic Crafts: A Practical Compendium of Traditional Skills" (Simon & Schuster, hardcover, $35), by Jacqui Hurst and Martina Margetts, and "Simple Gifts: 25 Authentic Shaker Craft Projects" (Storey Communications, hardcover, $22.95), by the editors of Garden Way Publishing.
"Simple Gifts" contains specific instructions (and sometimes patterns) for making such Shaker items as the oval wooden boxes, a wall shelf, a post-and-rung stool, miniature Shaker furniture, tinware including a pastry cutter and a lantern, baskets, tape-woven seats, rag carpets, woven poplar cloth plus herbal drinks and potions.
"Classic Crafts," a book written in England, has more color photographs but slightly less detailed instructions. The sections of the book open with a history of each craft.
The book includes quilting, patchwork, applique, smocking, hand block printing, knitting, ikat weaving, paper making, paper marbling, calligraphy, bookbinding, papier mache, goat cheese making, chocolate making, preserves, cider making, dried flowers, candle making, gilding, spongeware, leatherwork, stained glass and jewelry.
These books, especially "Classic Crafts," may also be interesting to the terminally unhandy who just want to know how things are made.