It's Fab but Not Faberge: The Best of Mine to Him

A funny thing happened at the Faberge Revealed exhibit members' Preview at the Peabody Essex Museum...

I was, of course, thrilled when they chose my tea infuser and strainer, Darling, lotus have some tea...* as one of two images for their flyer of opening day activities, including curator, Geza von Habsburg's talk and my day long demo of Faberge era metalsmithing techniques.  The other image on the flyer was Faberge's Leuchtenberg Tiara.**  In the members magazine was a similar spread with my tea infuser and strainer prominently placed between the same tiara and The Imperial Pelican Egg.  I do so love the company I keep.

But first, a little context: In a workshop with John Cogswell years ago, John told the story of the Japanese Raku Master whose apprentice came running in one day in a panic.

"Master, a disaster!  Another artist has opened up a studio just down the road from you, and he's copying your work to sell!"

"It's ok," replied the master calmly.

"How can you say that it's ok?  This is terrible for you!" returned the distraught apprentice.

"It is ok, because one day when we are both gone, the best of his work will be attributed to me, and the worst of mine to him."

I spent an hour gawping at some of the most exquisite objects ever created by humans and hoping that drooling on cases doesn't set off museum alarms (ok, I didn't actually drool on them, but I did hover close enough to fog the cases several times in my endless desire to see how metal object d'arts were made). Afterwards I made my way downstairs to grab a bite and cope with art overload then watched a film on the patron relationship between Peter Karl Faberge and the Romanovs that led to the amazing eggs.  

Toward the end of the film, I realized almost in a panic that somehow I had missed seeing the Leuchtenberg Tiara.  How on earth did I miss it, and what else might I have not seen?!?  As soon as the film was over I ran back to the third floor and asked a guard where it was displayed.  He referred me to the guys in charge of the audio tour equipment.

I asked one of them, who looked to his colleague  The other man shook his head.

He said, "It's not here.  And neither is that tea infuser!" as if anticipating a frequently asked question of which he'd already tired of answering.

"That's because the tea infuser is mine.  It's in my safe," I volunteered.

They gave me the most piteous long look as if to say, "Sure, lady, sure it is."

The best of mine to him... I could do a hell of a lot worse.

* Darling, lotus have some tea... along with Passion Made Visible will soon be on view at 100 at 100, a juried exhibit of 100 alumnae of the Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design at Georgia State University.

** After doing a little research, I found that the Leuchtenberg Tiara was part of the VFMA's exhbit but did not travel to Salem.  The show is so amazing, however, that the lack of the tiara is hardly a negative.  There are over 100 Faberge objects of exquisite beauty and workmanship, many of which have rarely been exhibited.

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