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Tag Archives: Eleanor
My brother Peter Dickinson visited briefly this afternoon. We enjoyed lunch with friends and family and transferred 2021 Christmas presents that have been waiting for the opportunity. Pete and I also made our every-ten-year swap of the Headhunter‘s Bowl our mother gave us. I think every family has its odd traditions and this is one of ours.
When Pete and I were little kids, our mother (Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson) bought special Christmas present for our father (Wade Dickinson). We were so curious that she said if we could guess what it was without unwrapping the package, we could have it. Because it was such an odd thing, she was sure we could not guess and gave us unlimited questions. Eventually, we did guess that it was a very old wooden headhunter‘s serving bowl from the Solomon Islands. (I remember we had to get out a global atlas and narrow down the location by global quadrants and then ask many questions about what the Solomon Islands were historically famous for.) Ever since we were old enough to have our own homes, Pete and I have been trading our strange bowl back and forth. It is now Pete’s turn to play host.
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We have four old family clocks, two of which work and one of which chimes. The sound of the two ticks and the chimes fills our downstairs with small comforting noises, even when everyone is silently interacting with their computing devices. The clocks keep time but not with each other. It is somewhat like how Terry Pratchett describes the clocks in his fictional city of Ankh-Morpork on the Discworld,
“Noon in Ankh-Morpork took some time, since twelve o’clock was established by consensus. Generally, the first bell to start was that one in the Teachers’ Guild, in response to the universal prayers of its members. Then the water clock on the Temple of Small Gods would trigger the big bronze gong. The black bell in the Temple of Fate struck once, unexpectedly, but by then the silver pedal-driven carillon in the Fools’ Guild would be tinkling, the gongs, bells and chimes of all the Guilds and temples would be in full swing, and it was impossible to tell them apart, except for the tongueless and magical octiron bell of Old Tom in the Unseen University clock tower, whose twelve measured silences temporarily overruled the din. And finally, several strokes behind all the others, was the bell of the Assassin’s Guild, which was always last.” (Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms, 1993).
The Junghans chiming mantle clock was a wedding present in 2000 from John’s parents. It was purchased by John’s great-grandfather Johannes Plocher in Holzhauzen, Germany. Joannes and his wife Anna gave it to their son (John’s grandfather), Karl on his wedding Adelia, in 1930. I love the art deco design on the clockworks inside the case.
I bought the Gilbert wall clock in 2008 as a birthday present for John. The clock itself is from about 1915. The Western Pacific glass is not original but is one of the reasons we like it, since we own WP668, a Western Pacific caboose. John winds up his Junghans and Gilbert clocks every week.
The two clocks which have stopped working are from my family. One is a gilt metal Rococo style clock that my father’s mother, Gladys Grace Oakes Dickinson, loved. The other is an ornate horseman clock that my mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, had since I was young. Surprisingly, even though they are from different parts of my family, both were made by the New Haven Clock Company, probably over a hundred years ago.
Update: I have been looking for more information about the New Haven Clock with the ornate warrior horseman figure. I found that a version of this clock with the exact same horse but no rider is relatively common. All of the versions I have found on the web have a top piece above the clock that is missing on ours. Sometimes the horse is on the right and sometimes on the left of the clock on the pedestal. I still have not found an exact match. My Aunt Louise Creekmore Senatore read my blog and wrote that her father (my grandfather), Robert Elmond Creekmore, was once its owner in Knoxville, Tennessee, “the Ornate Horseman clock was on my Dad’s bureau for years when I was a child. It traveled with us to Windgate (1964), stayed on his bureau, and Eleanor asked Mom for it when Dad passed away (1976).”
I found this tiny, blurry thumbnail photo on the web of a gilded variant of our clock but it is on a dead website. Still hunting for more information!
(None of these clocks is for sale – please do not ask.)
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Updated 20 Oct 2020
Thanks to my daughter, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, for updating my mother’s website, eleanordickinsonart.com. We put up the website after Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson died in 2017 as a way of keeping information about her and her remarkable art and legacy in circulation. Unfortunately, Jessica just had to remove all of the e-commerce features of the site because it attracted bad behavior rather than buyers. At least once a month for two years, I was contacted by someone through the site who purported to want to purchase an artwork but really wanted to use us for money laundering. It seems that the web is not a good place to sell high-end fine art. This site redesign still makes information available but asks buyers to contact us in email. I hope the site maintains communication but reduces the fraudulent contacts.
My brothers and I are trustees of the Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson Charitable Art Trust. During the last three years, my brother Pete Dickinson and I have been working with Natalie Piazza to inventory and properly archive my mother’s art collection. During this Corona Virus lock down, I have asked Natalie to work from home preparing a selection of photos and descriptions of Eleanor Dickinson’s art for display on eleanordickinsonart.com. This site redesign will make that expansion of materials much easier – thanks, Jessica!
More about the eleanordickinsonart.com website:
Eleanor Dickinson Art contains selections of original creations from the archives of Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, a remarkable American artist who was actively creating, teaching, and exhibiting fine art for over 75 years. Her work has been exhibited at many dozens of galleries and museums around the world, and is collected by a wide variety of individuals, universities, museums and other major institutions, including:
- Archive of Folk Culture, American Folklife Center, Library of Congress
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA)
- Smithsonian Archives of American Art
- Tennessee State Museum
- The Oakland Museum
- University of Tennessee Libraries, Special Collections
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Images Copyright 1971-2005 by Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson.
I just passed my theological Spanish translation class at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley where I am a Master of Arts student. Our Spanish class was held in a room next to the Doug Adams Gallery at the GTU. As a result of a serendipitous conversation, the gallery will include two of my mother‘s art works in the exhibit that opens next month, “Beyond Words: Art Inspired by Sacred Texts.”
My mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson (1931-2017), was interested in art and religion all of her life. An early exhibit was the 1967 Old Testament figures show at the Temple Gallery, Congregation Emanu-El of San Francisco. The figures were life size, free standing, line drawings on paper inspired by Bible stories. Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden are two of the figures from the Temple show. Another famous series she created was called “Revival!” presenting fundamentalist Christian worship in the American South. “Revival!” was exhibited in a variety of locations from 1970 to 1981, has two books about it, and can be seen in part in the collections of the Oakland Museum, Library of Congress, Smithsonian Archives of American Art, and Tennessee State Museum. Eleanor Dickinson was a powerful artist, beloved Professor Emerita at California College of the Arts, feminist and art activist. She was involved in drawing the emotional expressions of people in all aspects of life, often in a religious context. My brothers Mark and Peter and I are Trustees for the Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson Charitable Art Trust, created in 2014 to provide donations of art works to charitable organizations or institutions.
I am also the Manager for my son Paul Dickinson Goodman‘s art business. Paul is a ceramicist, wood worker, and metal worker who was graduated from the San Jose State University – Spatial Art program in 2018. He is actively exhibiting his work at galleries and art sales in the San Francisco Bay Area. I am proud to have two accomplished artists in our family!
Thanks to my husband, John Plocher*, for reassembling and restoring one of the fumed oak chairs carved by my Great-Grandmother, Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder. We found the chair in pieces in the attic of 2125 Broderick Street, my parents’ home in San Francisco, when we were clearing out the house for sale in 2012. I have several other pieces carved by my Great-Grandmother – including another of her chairs. I am delighted to have one more.
Ella Rachel Bolli Van Gilder was a remarkable woman who early in her life worked with Jane Addams at Hull House – a settlement house for European immigrants in Chicago. She later returned to Knoxville, Tennessee, where she married Walter Van Gilder. They were both were enthusiastic craft workers (in the Arts and Crafts style) and gardeners, in addition to his founding and managing Van Gilder Glass Company. My mother, Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, grew up in their house at 1007 Circle Park Drive in Knoxville.
* with help from John Gibbs – Workshop (Campbell, CA)
This is what the chair pieces looked like when we pulled them out of the attic:
Here is the chair today, after much effort by John:
1911 portrait of Ella Bolli Van Gilder:
1007 Circle Park Drive in Knoxville: photo taken by Eleanor Creekmore when she was 10 years old, in 1941:
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Images Copyright 1941 by Eleanor Creekmore Dickinson, and 2016-2018 by Katy Dickinson.
I was part of the TechWomen Delegation to Kyrgyzstan from 23 February – 4 March 2017 in Central Asia. We spent a week giving talks and making presentations to women, girls, technical startups and the STEM community. 35 participated in the Delegation – from the USA, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and of course Kyrgyzstan. In addition to the mentors from the Silicon Valley and San Francisco Bay Area and the Fellows from Central Asia, our Delegation included staff from the Institute of International Education and the US State Department.
Three of us had an accidental tour of Istanbul getting to Kyrgyzstan since our flight connections didn’t. We hired a driver during our day of waiting for the next Bishkek flight and saw Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and other remarkable locations in that beautiful and cosmopolitan city. Since there is a Travel Warning for Turkey, we avoided crowded areas.
Each Delegation member had the opportunity to give several professional presentations. In addition to general mentoring sessions, my presentation topics included: Successful Mentorship (at the Kyrgyz State Agrarian Academy), Crowd Funding (part of the “Silicon Valley Experts Symposium” hosted by the US Ambassador, Sheila Gwaltney and the Kyrgyzstan Information Technology State Committee), Women in Tech: Challenges and Opportunities (at StartUp Tuesday), Social Media Marketing and Professional Networking (at the Kyrgyz-Turkish Manas University), and Challenges and Opportunities in STEM Careers (in the American Corner, for high school students). After the presentations were over, a small group of us rented a bus and drove to see the remarkable 9th century minaret called the Burana Tower near Tokmok.
The day I arrived in Bishkek was when my mother died. I knew when I left that this was a possibility even though I thought (and hoped) she would be with us much longer. I had made all of the preparations in advance and both of my brothers were with her when she died. I saw continuing my participation in the Delegation as a tribute to the woman my mother raised me to be – but it was hard to be away from home at such a time.
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Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson