MFAM Week 4: China Doll

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Week four is finally here! Sorry I’m a little late this time around, but it’s been a long week. Let’s blame it on my turtle jacket, my car which was in the shop, and my finicky router and non-existent internet connection.

This week we’re exploring part of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s Asian art collection. The Nelson is home to one of the greatest collections of Chinese art in the U.S., including this very concerned horse.

concerned horse“I don’t think this is a good idea guys… Guys?”

The collection includes a large variety of ceramics, sculptures, funerary objects, bronzes, and pieces of jade. In walking through the galleries you’ll also notice a variety of floral designs.

You’ll find flowers in the architectural details…


… in the furniture…

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… and, of course, in the art…


Seriously, it’s everywhere in the art…

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This motif is also found in one of my favorite pieces from the Chinese collection.

basket of flowers - c. 1736-1795Basket of Flowers, ca. 1736-1795
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

Like the Greek earrings featured in last week’s post, the delicacy and detail in this small (less than 3 inches in diameter!) biscuit porcelain piece has always impressed me. The artist who created this piece must have been incredibly patient and completely dedicated to their craft.

Teeny tiny petals and intricate lacy details.

This week’s project isn’t quite as delicate or lovely as Basket of Flowers, but it has a similar floral design. I found this oddly proportioned shirt at one of my favorite thrift stores in town. The cut wasn’t very flattering, it was missing a button, and the sleeves were all kinds of awkward, but it was only $1, so I brought it home.

Since the sleeves were so wide where they met the rest of the shirt, I figured I’d turn this top into a short cape.

before copyI think there’s more fabric in the sleeves than the rest of the top.

I got to work using my seam ripper to undo the seams in the sides and the sleeves, leaving the front and the back of the shirt hanging open. I had originally thought I’d alter the shape of the top to make a circular cape, but when I laid it out on the floor I found that I liked the hexagonal shape the shirt already had.

IMG_4585bSix sides of funky floral fabric.

Instead of altering the shape, I just finished the raw edges that were once the sleeves and sides. Then, I sewed a new button onto the collar, choosing one from my jar of buttons that was similar to the jewel detail on one of the Nelson’s ceramic pieces.


I wasn’t sure what to wear my new cape with, so I went with my old stand-by – black pants, black shirt, and black shoes. It’s not terribly creative, but it usually works.

after 3 copyMFAM Week 4: Chinese Art

Here’s hoping next week is a little easier. Don’t forget to tune in next week for the next MFAM installment, and remember, please don’t touch the art.

Image credits:
Basket of FlowersThe Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

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