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Common objects impart uncommon stories

Thursday, November 4th, 2010


The First Person Arts Festival begins next week. It’s a series of autobiographical performances and films from local storytellers and documentarians. The festival will kick off with an exhibit of common objects.

A heavy steel pot used to make traditional stews from the Dominican Republic.

An old fishing license.

A hand-drawn map showing a lost person how to get back home.

These objects and about a dozen others make up the Memoir Museum, on display at the Painted Bride Art Center. Each one has a story behind it.

Beth Pannell donated half of a blue, knitted sock, which she describes as “scary.” The sock was being knitted by her friend Amy, but Amy died before she could finish it. Pannell will finish what her friend started, but the stitch is very complicated and she doesn’t want to mess it up.

“I don’t know how to do a yarn-over, and Amy’s sock is very intimidating to me. It’s a challenge – to keep doing projects that are scary. That sock is going to stand as a symbol for me,” said Pannell.

The half-sock and other objects are displayed under glass, next to their written stories. It gives a museum-style treatment to common objects.

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