semi-daily musings from a sentimental fool.

now, focus.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Look right, keep left, and listen up.

Alan Morrison, Fellow at Westminster University and our lead faculty member for this JHU Graduate Seminar.
Captain, my captain...this man is our fearless leader for the next two weeks and I'm already in love.  There's a twinkle in his eye and a hop in his step that truly defies description.  There are those who tried to tell me, but I had no idea what they were trying to say.  Today was wonderful. Clear enough skies and not bad crowds...and...well, nobody was run over trying to keep up with the gent. 

We saw the influence on London architecture of John Nash and the (at times) bombastic architectural metaphor that makes so much of these places what they are.  Today conjured up some things that I know from my former studies (art & architecture), as well as my current pursuits and I really found myself wishing someone would pinch me at times.

Sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste...they were all  stimulated today.  I cannot wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Puddle Jumping

                              Mary Mikel Stump | That's The Way | 2009 | screenprint | 22 x 28 inches

I'm going to London. In fact, I'm going on a trip of a lifetime to study behind the scenes of many of the major museums in London...and two in Oxford, just in case I thought I wasn't dreaming.  As I am to write reflections each night as part of my coursework, I thought I'd do the same here.  I started this blog as really more of a journal for myself and to share with anyone who cared to read it, which may be limited to my mother and, well,  that may be it.  

That said, I haven't really shared here at all since starting my MA in Museum Studies at Johns Hopkins 3 years ago.   For me, I took the tortoise route, doing one class per semester (alongside a more than full time job) and taking summers off  from school to enjoy being a mom with my boys (still alongside a more than full time job).  Now, I find myself at the "capstone" of the Hopkins Museum Studies program.  At first, I thought I'd do the domestic Seminar. It is in Philadelphia this summer and looks to be amazing. I mean who wouldn't kill to go behind the scenes at the Mütter Museum? Okay, maybe not the best choice of words, there, but I digress.  When Hopkins' foreign seminar in Barcelona fell through and they changed it to London, all bets were off.  I talked it over with my husband, Marty, and we both agreed that I had to go. I mean, the UK is the virtual birthplace of museums, don'tcha know.  We concurred that I'd never have this opportunity again.  So, on July 4th, I will eschew my annual viewing of 1776 for a view of fireworks from a British Airways' Boeing 787 Dreamliner.  

Excited doesn't begin to cover how I'm feeling.  I'm thrilled to the point of nausea, for so many reasons. So, instead of talking about all that is obvious, I'll just move on to the class itinerary.  I'll be doing extra things, as well: I'm going to see the final performance of PunchDrunk Theater's The Drowned Man, as well as a tour of Dennis Severs' House-both of which are most definitely on my personal bucket list.  I'll also be  co-presenting at the EVA Conference (Electronic Visualisation in the Arts) on the app that I partnered to develop for The University Galleries at Texas State University.  Finally, I'll be turning (to quote Sally O'Mally) the big five-O while I'm gone.  So, this is a big trip in so many ways.  Most of all, it signals the beginning of the end for this degree, which is a long awaited completion (for all of my family and friends!). 

So, stay tuned and come along with me, if you are so inclined.  Here is "our" itinerary...

Johns Hopkins MA Museum Studies – London Onsite Seminar 2014 


Sunday 6 July

12 – 4             Meet 12.00 noon, Foyer, University of Westminster, 309 Regent Street, London W1B 2UW. Get-to-know and introductions. Brief tour of University area. West End “cultural walk”, Regent Street to Trafalgar Square.

Monday 7 July

8.30 – 10       Breakfast and formal induction programme – Boardroom, 309 Regent St. Outline main seminar themes, seminar structure, day-by-day schedule, assessment, and group work instructions. London Living issues.

10 – 11            “The Education of the Eye”: early history of the University of Westminster – the Royal Polytechnic Institution. Anna McNally and Claire Brunnen, University Archive Team.

11 – 4.30         Site Visit, British Museum. The Encyclopaedic Museum – history and contemporary mission. Viewing of selected galleries, including the Enlightenment Gallery, the Parthenon/Elgin Marbles, Living and Dying, and exhibition “Ancient Lives, New Discoveries”.

7 – 8.30         Welcome Reception. Welcome by Professor Alexandra Warwick, Head of Department of English, Linguistics and Cultural Studies.

Tuesday 8 July

7.00am          Deadline 1st journal entry

8.30                Discussion. Annotation 2 instructions. Site visit review presentation.   Introduction to the day ahead: “Collecting London”

9.30 – 10.30  World War I and the Regent Street Polytechnic. Material in the University Archives. Archive Team.

10.30 – 5.30  Site Visit, Museum of London. Exploring the collection, including London and World Wars I and II displays. Staff discussion led by Dr Cathy Ross. See appended detailed programme for this visit.

5.30 – 6.30    Tour of London’s Roman Wall.

6.30                 Pub meal.

Wednesday 9 July

8.30 – 9.30    Discussion. Site visit review presentation. Introduction to the day ahead: “The Great Exhibition and the establishment of the South Kensington Museums.”

10 – 4.30       Site Visit, Victoria & Albert Museum: Art and Design for All. Exploring the collection. Visit exhibitions “The Glamour of Italian Fashion 1945-2014” and “William Kent: Designing Georgian Britain”. Discussion with Johanna Banham, Head of Public Programmes.

6.00                JHU and University of Westminster Public Seminar: “The multi-modal museum: new initiatives on access programmes for Visually Impaired people and multisensory provision in museums”. Speakers include Marcus Dickey Horley, Curator, Access and Special Projects, Tate; Dr Alison Eardley, University of Westminster. Boardroom, 309 Regent Street.
6.00 Tea/Coffee; 6.30–8.30 Seminar; 8.30 Drinks Reception.

Thursday 10 July

8.30 – 9.30    Discussion. Site visit review presentation. Introduction to the Day Ahead: “Georgian London” High Culture and Low Life: Hogarth vs. Kent.

10 – 12.30     South Kensington Museums continued. Visit to “Wedding Dresses” exhibition at the V&A.

2 – 5               Foundling Museum. Explore collection. View exhibition “Progress”: four contemporary artists’ responses to Hogarth. Discussion with Collections Manager Alison Duke.

Evening free.

Friday 11 July

8.30 – 9.30    Discussion. Onsite review presentation. Introduction to the day ahead.

10 – 3              Site visit: National Portrait Gallery. The Pantheon concept. Representing British identity. History and contemporary celebrity culture.

3 – 5               Project work.

Evening free.

Saturday 12 July

10 – 12           The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. “The First Georgians: Art and Monarch, 1714 – 1760”.

1 – 6                Project work.

Evening free.

Sunday 13 July – Free.

Monday 14 July

8.30 – 9.30   Discussion. Final Paper topics published. Site visit review presentation. Introduction to the Day Ahead: The Two Tates: History and modernity.

10.00 – 1       Tate Modern: Explore collection and view Matisse exhibition.

1 – 2                Lunch, and Tate Boat to Tate Britain.

2 – 5                Tate Britain. Explore collection and view exhibition “Kenneth Clark: Looking for Civilization”

Evening Free.

12 midnight: Annotation 2 submission deadline.

Tuesday 15 July        Day trip to Oxford

                        Meet 8 a.m. at Victoria tube station. Further details to follow.

10 - 1              Visit to the Ashmolean Museum: “Crossing Cultures, Crossing Time”. Discussion with Dr Giovanna Vitelli, Director of the University Engagement Mellon Project.

1 – 2                Lunch at the Lamb & Flag pub.

2 – 4                Visit to the Pitt Rivers Museum. Discussion with Hannah Eastwood, Education department.

4 – 5                Visit to the Museum of the History of Science. Viewing of exhibition “Geek is Good” and discussion with staff.

5 –                   Oxford walk, dinner and return.

Wednesday 16 July

9 – 12             Discussion. Site review presentation – double session (Two Tates and Oxford). Project discussion. Museum policy seminar.

12 – 5              Visit to Horniman Museum and gardens. Explore collection. Staff discussion in the Handling Collection base, led by Abigail Hinton, Schools Liaison Officer.

Thursday 17 July

8.30 – 9.30   Discussion. Site review presentation. Outline of Day Ahead

10 – 12.30     Florence Nightingale Museum. Explore collection and exhibition “The Hospital in the Oatfield – the Art of Nursing in the First World War”, new exhibition to honour nurses in the First World War; and discussion with exhibition curator Holly Carter-Chappell.

p.m.                Project

Friday 18 July

7 a.m.              Last Journal Entry deadline

9 – 2                Project Presentations (with breaks!)

2.30 – 4          Final seminar review

7.30                 Seminar dinner, Portrait Restaurant, National Portrait Gallery.

Saturday/Sunday...explore on my own
Monday, July 21 HOMEWARD BOUND

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

fill your cup.

"Let yourselves be emptied and transformed in order to fill the cup of your heart to its fullest, then you in turn will be able to give in abundance."  -Mother Teresa

Cups are interesting things, really. They can be as earnest as simply putting your two hands together or they can be as lavish as hand painted china with gold leaf.  They can carry the sentiments of grandchildren or they can campaign for a local politician. They are, whatever their form, ultimately meant to hold that which sustains us and can't be filled unless they are emptied from time to time.

When I was a new mother, I read the most meaningful book of my young parenthood titled, "Are We Having Fun Yet? The 16 Secrets of Happy Parenting" by Kay Willis and Maryann Bucknum Brinley.  In it, these two wise women talk about the importance for parents (and moms, specifically) to fill their cup once in a while.  This comes from putting yourself first and doing something that is related to your personal needs, desires, and interests.

This was transforming to me as a parent and as an individual.  I had never thought about it that way, but now it's part of my parenting practice and my boys are better for it. In so doing, I've modeled for them that it's important to allow and encourage that in their relationships.  

And, as an aside, yes...we are definitely having fun. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

permission granted.

Mary Mikel Stump
Marcosini's Tally

found object, alkyd enamel, gold leaf, antique
lace, map pins, graphite
20 x 22 x 2 inches

This is a long drawn out tale of things discarded, tallies kept and the sentimental response to both.

I ask for your patience.

I first heard of "Baaaaalzac" in a reference to "dirty books" in this musical number from The Music Man [click here]. I think I was about 8 years old and from that point on, I kept my distance from that ever-so-randy Honore'...until last year when I was given a small book of stories written by none other than Honore' de Balzac. This short novella, The Unknown Masterpiece, is a story that has inspired Cezanne and Picasso alike.

I will say that it inspired me too, but the real treat was the added story, Gambara, which is included alongside TUM in this particular print edition. Gambara is not for the faint of heart. It is a story of obsession, lust, battling one's demons and ultimately failing at all of that.

And so the story goes:
A Milanese nobleman, Count Andrea Marcosini, spies in a crowd the extraordinary face of a woman with fiery eyes. She escapes him, but not before he chases her as far as a sordid alley behind the Palais-Royal where she disappears. If he is "attached to the step of a woman whose costume announced a deep, radical, ancient, inveterate misery, who was no fairer than so many others he saw each night at the Opéra", it was his eye that was literally spellbound. Marcosini investigates and finds that her name is Mariana and that she is married to Gambara, a composer, performer, instrument-maker and expert on music theory. Gambara's genius is his curse, as it is only when he is drunk that he's able to make beautiful music. Mariana works in humble jobs to pay for Gambara's practice, for she strongly believes in her husband's misunderstood genius. Seeing Gambara's support as a means to gain access to his desired Mariana, Marcosini supplies Gambara with money as well as drink to encourage his success. Finally, the count takes the beautiful Mariana from her husband but once conquered, soon abandons her for a dancer. Crushed by her abandonment, Mariana then goes back to her husband, more miserable than ever and so ends the tragic tale.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch...

It's been over a year since I took a workshop on Assemblage with artist Beverly Mangum. The ever-gracious queen of the Eye of the Dog Art Center led us all to a magical room filled with found objects from which we could select anything we liked. In the corner was a dirt-dobber filled dusty contraption with a broken leather handle that was used for I don't know what, but it seemed to be that its life had been in the realm of counting things. I grabbed it - not sure why - but it just seemed like something I should have: it had all the required elements of wood, old leather and a certain amount of degradation. I didn't use it for that day's workshop, but Beverly let me take it anyway. After a year of living with this wonderful object, I was ready to do something with it. Inspired by the story of Mariana and the way in which she had been added to Marcosini's tally of women desired and conquered, I set out to abstractly illustrate this story by the use of a "count"ing apparatus, numbering, lace and map pins.

So, things are not always as they appear. A work of art that would - from its use of found objects and antique lace - seem sentimental is really a sordid story of lust and conquest. I was reluctant to use materials of this nature because I have often run from the "s" word that so often finds itself attached to my work. However, I learned a valuable lesson with this one - which is the ultimate point of this circuitous post. A cherished friend who is also a highly respected artist told me that when he makes work and has to make decisions about such things, he always goes for the most emotionally impactful punch.

There it was: Permission Granted.

It was a date that I noted in my calendar because it was the date that I moved away from the worry of the sentimental label and fully embraced it. Afterall, if art is a reflection of the one who makes it, then it would stand to reason that everything that comes from my hand will have some sort of lace in it...even it if it's simply implied.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

dilettante, devotee, amateur.

I make art not because I am a degreed artist nor because I am a curator. I make art because I have a love and admiration of it and - by the word's pure definition - I am an amateur.

hese photos are of bits and pieces of a work in progress. This work, tentatively called Weft/Warp is made from the comb like parts of old looms which, originally, are wood with metal tines and are used with the open side facing down. However, once they enter my realm, they quickly abandon their original function; they are turned on end and meant to be seen as the independent objects that I saw when I first laid eyes on them. What struck me about these things as objects were the regimental way in which their individual parts could be seen as a whole if viewed from the proper angle. I continued that exploration by painting each of the tines a bright "fashion color" - a topic about which I am very curious. Once assigned a color, the individuals stand out when viewed from front on, but when looked at from an increasingly oblique angle, they "fall in" to their line and quickly are read as one solid form, as the spaces between are foreshortened and therefore become imperceptible. This implied whole made of individuals separated by color is an obvious metaphorical response to so many issues in our world today. I don't have to be didactic here for you to perhaps get what I'm implying. In fact, for once, the inference is of no interest to me. I hope it's clear, but if not, that's okay. This work functions on a lot of levels and for that I'm happy. Ultimately, I like the resulting form and the colors please me. I used to criticize such a shallow response to art. No longer.

I get it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

let's start at the very beginning...

So, it all started here.

Well, actually, it started when Maria von Trapp sold her story to a German publisher for $9,000 and signed away all rights to it. Her story, which varied greatly from the eventual musical, was made into a film in Germany in 1956 which, in turn, was dubbed in English here in the United States. It was this film that caught Mary Martin's eye and that led her to bring the story to musical theater through the music of Rogers and Hamerstein. From that stage show, came what we now know as the Sound of Music. Interesting how similar this film seems to the mega-hit we know today.

Monday, September 6, 2010

my favorite things.

movie still from The Sound of Music, 1964

album cover from the RCA Victor original soundtrack of
The Sound of Music,

I am about to reveal one of the biggest pet peeves of my childhood. Although it wasn't big to anyone else, it sheds light on the kinds of things that I spent my time thinking about and just exactly what kind of adult I would become. It has to do with this album cover and what I saw as the dishonesty of the graphic representation of the characters portrayed there.

The Sound of Music. I was obsessed with it. I listened to it repeatedly on the "Hi-Fi" in our downstairs family room. I portrayed the entire story in puppets (which was no easy matter when it came to the puppet show portion of the story...think puppets doing puppets...I only have two hands). I knew every single word by heart. I still do.

So, imagine the heartbreak I felt when I realized that the marketing department of RCA Victor had desecrated my beloved Maria, the Captain and those 7 dahhhling children for a sexier, more modern color palette on the original soundtrack album cover. Hello? Maria never wore a pink dress. The Captain would have never worn a khaki jacket with offset lapels, let alone contrasting trousers. And the children, oh, the children. Well, suffice it to say that those drapes from which their play clothes were made were not, I repeat, not a color that might have been called "Banan-appeal"...what was this, the Sound of Music Vegas Revue?

This was, however, my first introduction to creative license and the steps that companies will take to make things more attractive to the buying public - not that that musical needed it. I suppose that in 1964, when the film was made, it might have seemed too sentimental or traditional for some record buyers. I can just hear the discussion in the meeting right now:

First Record Executive: "So, let me get this straight. We're going to have this chick on the cover running up a hill with 7 children behind her?"
Graphic Artist: "uh...Yes, that's right."
Second Record Executive: "Hmmm...and you say she's holding a guitar?"
Graphic Artist: "Yes, in one hand a carpet bag in the other."
First Record Executive: "A carpet bag? You've got to be kidding. A carpet bag and a guitar, isn't that a little 'folksy'? Where'd she come from, a nunnery? Is the chick at least a looker? I mean, does she have nice legs...anything we can work with, here?"
Graphic Artist: "Well, you don't really see her legs in the movie, so I don't know, but I suppose we could..."
Third Record Executive: "Nevermind about that for now. What about the guy? Where's the guy in the picture?"
Graphic Artist: "Well, he's sort of over off to the side...looking stern."
Second Record Executive: "Stern? People don't want stern. People want happy. This is really not good. um...What are they wearing?"
Graphic Artist: "Well, the girl is wearing a brown jumper, the man is wearing a grey Austrian suit with loden green lapels and the're gonna love this...the children are wearing play clothes that the governess girl - you know the one with the guitar? - made out of green and white patterned drapes! Isn't that just too much?"
First Record Executive: "It's not too fact, it's not enough."
Second Record Executive: "He's right...this is definitely NOT groovy enough for our time. People want something hip, something sexy. They don't want children dressed in upholstery."
Third Record Executive: "'s what we're going to do. Make the chick's dress bright pink and try to accentuate her curves. And raise the hem on her dress. Let's see a little leg."
First Record Executive: "I like it. And the guy...well, let's give him a bit of style, too. Something...I don't know...think 'Elvis'. But that still leaves the kids. What to do about the kids?"
Second Record Executive: "Well, the oldest is a beauty and has a great little figure. Let's put all of the other kids downhill from her, put her front and center with her arms back so we see...well, so that she's the one we see. And, PLEASE, don't use the patterned curtains on the clothes - even if that is how the costumer designed them. Let's change the color. Let's change it to...hmmm...I know - change it to the color of the sun...people are really diggin' the sun these days."
Graphic Artist: "But, excuse's not the way the movie looks and this IS, afterall, the soundtrack for the movie, isn't it?"
First Record Executive: "Don't get wrapped up in the details, kid. People will never notice. Well, most people won't...unless you're some third grade girl in Texas who becomes obsessed with the movie...but how many of those could there be?"
[everybody laughs]

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Mary Mikel Stump
wood, gesso, graphite, acrylic paint, plumb-bob, string, branch, metal tubing

enter. (verb)
1. to go in.
2. to be admitted into a school, competition, etc.
3. to make a beginning.
4. to move upon the stage (as in stage directions.)

Well, there you have it.
ENTER. The word itself implies moving through some sort of portal, be it real or metaphor. That one little word is my own personal battle cry for this, my 46th year on the earth. As an artist who practices in quasi-obscurity, it's hard to not seek solace in the saying, "...if you build it, they will come." Guess what? It just isn't so.

After subtle encouragement from the universe, I have promised myself that I would make efforts to show more often and respond to more Call for Entries. Whether the work is accepted or not is insignificant. This is about setting goals and carrying through. This is about doing the things that it will take to encourage myself to continue to grow as an artist. This is about looking at the work through a critical eye - either mine or the eye of the critic or curator who accepts or denies it. This, ultimately, is about what Robert Henri called The Art Spirit. Henri (1865 - 1929), who led the Ashcan School movement in art, and attracted a large, intensely personal group of followers, would not relate directly to his students while they were working; instead he would return to the classroom when it was empty, observe the various works of his students, and leave them notes to encourage and give direction to their work. Mostly these notes were poetic, metaphorical, oblique to the actual work. That is what we cannot give ourselves when we try to be our own critics. So instead, I have set forth on a course that I hope will give me small "notes" by which I can navigate my creative practice.

I decided to start by entering the work pictured here, post/lintel, which is by far the most formal of the body of work from which it comes. It refers to the most basic of structural relationships in architecture - and metaphorically, the most basic of human relationships in society. The post and lintel system is one in which two upright members, the posts, hold up a third member, the lintel, laid horizontally across their top surfaces. The lintel must bear loads that rest on it as well as its own load without deforming or breaking. It also refers to our ever changing relationship to the natural world, as we change our perceptions of nature by the ways in which we increasingly view it through our manipulation of the world, manifested in the built form. I could go on and on about what the work means - illuminating each little detail. I could talk about how the use of white obscures the detail of the built form and reduces it to a mere series of subtly changing values. I could talk about the colors selected and the way they layer upon each other on a basic tool of construction like the plumb-bob speaks to the thickening of our influence based on the next "trend in building." I could talk about the relationship between that plumb-bob that exists in the "interior" space of the work and it's physical connection to the "exterior" in the way it "pours" out the back of the sculptural structure. However, when it is all said and done, my descriptions, explanations and justifications matter not if those things are not apparent to the viewer.

And so it experiment to put myself...uh, I mean my work...out there to see what is resonant and what is not. It's an exciting practice.
I can't wait to see what comes of it.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Know Thyself.

Mary Mikel Stump
Corsicana Home for Widows & Orphans

wood, glass, thread, wooden spools, wire, found photographs


"Know thyself'? If I knew myself, I'd run away!"
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

My grandmother was an orphan. Having lost their parents at a young age, she and her sister grew up in a home for widows and orphans in a small east Texas town. This work is about them.

She used to speak of blowing bubbles out of wooden spools as a source of entertainment, as toys were scarce there and when I found these photos from a girls' school in San Antonio, it made me think of how odd it is that these photographs - tangible residue of memorable experiences - were then abandoned and left to decay on the shelf of a junk store.
Memories are like that, really. They are held dearly, then let go - as ephemeral and fragile as the bubble in which they reside.

It is through the practice of art-making that I come the closest to knowing myself. Not the "self" that I want others to see, but the honest bits of self to which even I don't have access. Is it the fact that we are not self conscious during the creative practice or that we are so distracted by the task that we don't notice it coming out?
Either way, I'm grateful for the portal in and the time and inclination to go through it.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

hallowed halls.

hall by any other name would be:

entrance hall, lobby, reception,
and my personal favorite [*she plants tongue in cheek here*] - foyer (especially when it's pronounced,

The word foyer came into vogue circa 1855 and it referred to the use of the fireplace or hearth in the anterooms of theaters where patrons would go in between acts to get/stay warm. Charming.

One of the things I love the most about our antique house is its central hall - or foyer, if you will. This space, which will from this point on be referred to as the Entry Hall (because I just can't do the "F" word), is literally the backbone of our house.
In their day, not only did these halls provide for the circulation of people that would be separate from the formal living spaces, so as to not interrupt the social gathering taking place in parlors and dining rooms, they were once "central" in the ventilation of these old homes. In today's homes, the large central hall might seem like an extraneous or even extravagant "waste" of precious square feet, but historically they were designed as an open corridor from the front of the house to the back, aligning with a central front and rear door that provided increased air flow and ventilation in the hot and humid Southern climate.

I recently finished reading
The Bucolic Plague, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell about his transplanted "Best Life" in Sharon Springs, New York. The Beekman Mansion, which he and his partner purchased in 2007, was built in 1802 and the author goes into great detail about the life they are living there. I have to say I was disappointed he didn't describe, in detail, the house itself. Kilmer-Purcell's brevity aside, he did provide copious details about the Entry and the cross axis of the central that runs North & South and one that runs East & West. That's when it hit me. What originally sold me on our house - built over 100 years after the Beekman - was the dynamic energy provided by the Entry Hall and stairwell. It is still one of my favorite "rooms" and it isn't even a room. It is precisely this type of space in these vintage homes that provide a graciousness that doesn't happen in the architecture of suburbia now. For example, if our cone of vision is between 40 and 60 degrees, that means that we are not really experiencing a space until we are 5 feet into it, as we cannot see the things in our peripheral vision. What that really means to us is that a tiny little entry area that is only 5 feet long might as well not even be there, since as soon as we come through the door we are already in the next space, visually speaking.

When we look at these spaces through our "21st century, air-conditioned and heated modern- convenienced glasses", we judge these spaces as expendable. However, if we look at them as they were intended to function through "new-fangled pursuit of sustainability glasses", what we see is that the sometimes-architects-but-more-often-carpenters who built these homes knew exactly what they were doing - that everything had a purpose and was deliberately placed...either for social or operational mechanisms.
They just got it.

Each morning while I'm having my coffee in our northeast facing breakfast room, I think to myself how lovely the light is. The cleverness of the Fourqurean family and J.W. McBride, the carpenter who built this place for them in 1921, is not lost on me 89 years later.