As those who follow my blog know, I have been spending time thinking of the importance of size recently. Large quilts whose size encompasses the viewer and adds to the expression of the piece.
The intricacy of my small pillows where it is the detail that sends the message. The play between the two. You can read some thoughts here.
Luckily for me my DH has his own fascination with trains. Today after set up for the Baltimore show it was a no-brainer that we would walk over to the B & O Railroad Museum just past Camden Yards. We had been there before and I remembered how large the trains seemed. You can walk beside them and feel absolutely dwarfed. Wheels taller than I am. Locomotives that stretch so high my camera can barely encompass them in the view. Even the smells are right of steel and grease. The industrialization of America--might and strength. In some ways a different world and yet at the museum we could still hear the constant whistle of trains actually arriving and leaving. Have you ever been there? They advertise it is the most important American railroad collection in the world and it is part of the Smithsonian. For more info http://www.borail.org
Oh there was so much to see and do there. The main building is a huge roundhouse which had been used for repairing passenger cars. Just look at the size of this structure. Isn't it a gorgeous? Yes, of course it was the biggest round building for industrial use in the world--or some other claim to fame. The facts were coming right and left and I just wanted to absorb the feeling if you know what I mean.
I had not realized that the roof had collapsed in a major snowstorm some eight years ago. I was doing the show during that storm--but that is another story and I digress. They had to take down the entire roof and rebuild it--an amazing feat. A volunteer told us all the metal is original. They scraped off eight layers of paint and discovered that the inside had been painted white and black. Just look at the detail. The volunteer added they have archives they haven't even read yet--apparently B & O kept track of everything. Oh there was so much to hear. I couldn't absorb it all.
Inside here are some gorgeous early trains. A few you can walk inside with great sound effects. Others you can stand beside and admire. Look at the care that went into the design and painting of these engines. Wow.
This train is huge and spotless. There was a car that had been retrofitted to drive on the rails so the executives could check out the rail lines. Very early passenger cars that looked like fairy tale coaches for Cinderella with leather straps for shock absorbers. A Conestoga wagon.
In another barn they have the Allegheny-- a locomotive with 389 tons of power and mass. Hard to capture in a picture. There are only two of these engines left. They let you sit where the engineer would sit and run the train--so many valves and switches. The auger that fed the coal into the engine to provide the power. We were so far back from the front of the engine we sure couldn't figure out how they saw what was ahead on the tracks. No computers back then. I know this picture does not capture it--I think you have to see it.
There was a sleek engine with almost Art Deco styling that seemed to stretch up forever. I loved the simplicity of the lines and the boldness of the color.
But then just when you get absolutely overwhelmed by the size and mass there is the model train. Now this model takes up an entire passenger car. It was built to portray the progress of the train from Baltimore out to the coal mines, farms and logging forests that relied on the train. It took a professional builder 13 months to create. Just look at the detail. There is a scene of a car getting towed. So many tiny scenes. So many trains running on there tracks. While we were there, they were even polishing the tracks under one train which the docent said didn't sound quite right.
That scene is two trains passing on the tracks. I couldn't resist. Then alas--reality set in. Our feet ached. I remembered that tomorrow the show will be open to the public. This show is the largest juried indoor craft show in the country. So it was time to escape the magic of the train whistle. The power of these locomotives and head back to my reality. The reality of a person who makes quilts in 21st century America.
I am not sure how to make a quilt that capture the magic of that train whistle. Not even sure if I need to. But it is still important. Do you ever think of trains? Do you ever think of those distant horizons or that power? Have you been to the museum?