The truth in tableware
"Definitive" barely begins to describe the new book "China and Glass in America 1880-1980: From Tabletop to TV Tray" (Harry Abrams, 2000, $49.50), based on an exhibition organized by the Dallas Museum of Art. Just as archaeologists use pottery shards to extrapolate the lifestyle and living conditions of cultures of the past, this book, by Charles L. Venable with Ellen P. Denker, Katherine C. Grier and Stephen G. Harrison, uses tableware to explore the manners and mores of a nation emerging into a major power.
The scholarly text -- offering the sociology behind the patterns and the marketing of tableware -- offers fascinating reading, but the real highlight is the pictures, which are simply stunning. Anyone who loves to set a beautiful table will be enthralled. The exhibition itself can be seen at the Newark Museum in New Jersey until June 18; it moves to Dallas in July and runs through Jan. 7, 2001.
Pets strike a pose
Baltimorean Siiri Poldmae has a knack with watercolors, discovered on her own while she was studying printmaking at art school in Philadelphia. She also has an uncanny knack for painting pet portraits that capture the creature's personality.
Prices start at $225 for a 14-inch-by-20-inch individual portrait. Poldmae works from photographs. She likes to take her own but will work from yours, if necessary.
She also has an interest in architecture and will do a portrait of your dwelling. "I like to paint houses, too," she says.
And if that's not enough, she also has her own frame workshop in her home and can frame her paintings or anything you have that needs framing. She will make house calls, so you can see framing choices in their future settings.
The paintings take two to three weeks to complete. For more information, call 410-426-0951.
Preppie, outdoorsy home design
L.L. Bean, noted for its sturdy, preppie, outdoorsy clothing, is venturing into the home-design field with a new line of indoor and outdoor furniture, bathroom and bedroom accouterments, and decorative objects.
The line, in a new catalog called L.L. Home, ranges from brightly painted wooden camp and kitchen chairs ($109 each), to oak computer work stations ($799 for the set), to quilts ($225 for Mimi's Garden in full/queen), to a wreath of garden perennials with hydrangea, statice and yarrow ($39.95).
For a copy of the catalog, call 800-809-7057.
* Develop your artistic abilities while learning about plant and animal anatomy in a series of six workshops at the Irvine Natural Science Center at St. Timothy's School, 8400 Greenspring Ave. in Stevenson. The workshops, from 7:30 to 9 p.m., begin Wednesday and run through May 24. They are taught by Mary Allen Didion of the Media Art & Design Studio at the center. The cost of the Naturalist Sketchbook sessions is $135 for members, $150 for non-members. To register, call 410-484-2413.
* Hundreds of daffodils, horticulture classes and more will be on hand at the Maryland Daffodil Society Show, which runs from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Three Arts Club of Homeland, 4 Wyndhurst Ave. Admission is free. For more information, call 410-433-1765.
Home Front welcomes interesting home and garden news. Please send suggestions to Karol V. Menzie, Home Front, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278, or fax to 410-783-2519. Information must be received at least four weeks in advance to be considered.