Beloved: Artwork by Kristin Diener

Exhibition dates:
July 17- August 22, 2010

This special exhibition features handcrafted personal adornment and whimsical rolling toys by Kristin Diener of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Diener notes, “Many pieces refer directly to my Amish and Mennonite heritage, some incorporating family objects.” Diener is the granddaughter of Louella and Tilman R. Smith—who was president of Hesston College in Hesston, Kansas, from 1959 to 1968.

Diener’s work is sometimes referred to as memory jewelry. Diener said, “I incorporate objects collected as I go, some bought, some found, some searched for, some given to me. I am greatly influenced by historical as well as contemporary objects, artworks, books, popular culture, politics and the natural world. I am from an Amish and Mennonite background that greatly influences who I am, how I perceive the world, and what I create.”

Diener’s artwork “combines what is perceived to be precious with what is discarded,” she says. “I think of it as elevating the ordinary to the sacred, and often the objects created allude to reliquaries. The relics may be mouse bones, a small plastic wrench, photographs, smashed bottle caps, Georgia dirt or a bit of cotton from Cottonplant, Ark.

“Combined with precious metals and stones, lavished with attention and metalworking techniques, the pieces I create are most often jewelry or adornment. Though not always easily wearable, they come to life in their relationship to the body.”

The traveling exhibition is organized and supported by the Illinois Amish Interpretive Center, Arcola, Illinois.

Public Programs

Saturday, July 17, from 2-4 p.m., “Bimbamboom Ring Mini-Workshop.”

In just 10 minutes, each participant and Diener will craft a ring. Learn metalworking techniques to shape and polish a ring while the artist wields the propane torch and nippers. The $10 workshop fee covers admission to the museum. Participants must be five years of age or older. Enrollment is limited, including first-come-first-served for choice of time.

Sunday, August 1, 3:30 p.m., Sunday-Afternoon-at-the-Museum. Ellen Awe will share “A Year of Mennonite Cooking: Experiences in Eating and Blogging.” The audience is invited to share recipes and memories of The Mennonite Community Cookbook.

316•283•1612   kauffman@bethelks.edu
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