Wednesday, March 29, 2017

SOL #29: The Art of the Brick

This March writing challenge is organized by Two Writing Teachers

For a variety of reasons, it's somewhat rare for all four of us in my family to leave the house and do something together.  There was a period of about 16 months when the only place we went as a family was to extended-family events, and even then, we were likely to take two cars.  But some of the issues have calmed down, and some compromises have been made, new habits formed, and today we all piled into the car to drive across town to OMSI.

OMSI is the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and if you don't have something similar near you, then I am deeply sorry.  It is full of hand-on building and experimenting and playing and learning.  It is also a SUPER popular rainy-spring-break activity, and the line was humungous, but it moved quickly and we got inside before anyone completely melted down (though I was pretty close, to be honest).  We were meeting friends there, because we got a membership last summer when a bunch of the Winemaker's relatives were in town, and we wanted to take full advantage of our membership, which lets you bring guests.  They have five kids, so we definitely felt like we got our money's worth!

OMSI is currently hosting a "Brick Art" exhibit.  This is what you and I call Legos, but apparently legally if you are not Lego Company, you have to call them bricks.  Remember when my son sold a bunch of his Legos?  He did so at a Brick store.

I went in expecting something like Legoland, which I've only seen pictures of.  Structures built out of Legos. What I didn't realize is that the creator, Nathan Sawaya, actually makes art, with bricks as his medium.

 The first few rooms featured reproductions of famous works of art.

I liked how even the reproductions of paintings had a 3D aspect to them.  There were "paintings" hung on the wall that had a textured surface, there were sculptures, and then my favorites were the ones like the American Gothic and Whistler's Mother pictures above--where a sculpture and a flatter surface worked together to recreate the painting with depth.

Then we got into his own art.

I didn't take a lot of pictures here, not because it wasn't good, but because it's hard to get the nuance of brick and shadow in dramatic museum lighting on a phone camera.  This piece represents his worst nightmare--losing his hands, his tools of creativity.

Some pieces were whimsical, some thoughtful, and some both, such as this one:

I neglected to get ANY pictures of a section that had these hyper-realistic photos of people posed in weirdly flat American Southwest landscapes with one item in the picture made out of Legos--a cloud, a dress, an umbrella.  It's hard to explain, but they were sure fascinating to look at.  

The exhibit ended with a huge dinosaur-fossil sculpture and a take on the classic PDX carpet, something that has become a pop culture icon locally.  

The rest of the visit to OMSI was as usual--loud and overstimulating, but stuffed to the gills with interesting things to look at and try.  I get overwhelmed pretty quickly, but luckily it's not a place that needs a ton of adult intervention unless you're all about making sure the kids get the EDUCATIONAL side of what's going on.  I just let them play with stuff.  Even the 12 year old, who was huffily blasé about our plan for the day, had a great time--and even said so!  So we're calling this a successful spring break outing.

Now we all need a nap.  


  1. That brick art is so cool! It makes me wish I was talented at something. :)

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. These look fabulous. Our own science and nature museum is between where I live and one granddaughter's school. I pick her up after school and we go for a couple of hours nearly every week. She's in kdg & so curious, loves gong. I think I've seen more of the museum because of her than ever before. Thanks for sharing this wonderful exhibit. Perhaps we'll have a taste of it some day?


Please share your thoughts. Comments are almost as sweet as chocolate!