Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Berlin for Doktormuttertag!

Hey y'all!  So I'm still in the process of getting caught up on here, and today I'd like to tell you all about my latest trip to Berlin.  On Sunday, May 8 (Mother's Day) I went to Berlin and stayed with Corine until Thursday, May 12 to visit her and go to a couple appointments with conservators.

The German word for doctoral adviser/mentor/supervisor is Doktormutter, meaning "doctor mother," (or Doktorvater if you have a "doctor father").  So Corine is my Doktormutter.  I prefer this term over any of the English equivalents because it does a better job conveying exactly how much Corine does for me.  Since I arrived in Berlin on Muttertag (Mother's Day), I thought it was quite fitting to take my Doktormutter flowers!  I always enjoy our time together, and it was great to have her along for these appointments in Berlin!

I also sent flowers to my Mother Bird, Pammie Pooker!  I ordered them online and had them delivered to her work.  I'm so sneaky!! Was sad I couldn't be in Lubbock to celebrate Mother's Day with Pam, but we were able to Skype and the flowers were a fun surprise!

Pam's 1-800-FLOWERS Campanula Rose!
The American Academy is beautiful in spring!  The flowers were blooming, the lake is lovely, and we had perfect weather!

The Wannsee from the American Academy
Gary the American Academy Cat

On Monday we met with Christina Dill-Friedrich, a conservator in Spandau for the Märkisches Museum.  I reached out to her after my last trip to Berlin when Corine and I saw an exhibit in the Märkisches about a fifteenth-century chasuble (a type of clerical vestment) they had restored and analyzed.  They had only restored the front of the chasuble, and that is what was on display.  But the back side is still in the conservation workshop, so I was able to see it up close and take photographs!  We spent a few hours there talking with the conservator while I took my photos.

Later that evening we took a ferry across the Wannsee back to the Academy!  I realized I had never actually been on a ferry, and it was exciting to take this one and see how it is used as normal, practical transportation around there!  Of course, the fact it was a perfect day sure helped...

View of the American Academy from across the Wannsee 
Swan at the ferry dock!
Doktormutter Corine taking in the lilacs on our walk home from the dock.  She's the best.

There were a couple special events at the Academy while I was there, so I was able to tag along.  One of the other fellows presented about the research he had worked on during his time in Berlin, and that was accompanied by a very nice dinner, then there was a special farewell lunch because the fellows' time at the Academy was drawing to a close.

We also managed to hit a couple other museums during the week.  I had been to the Berlin Kunstgewerbemuseum (applied arts museum) and Gemaeldegalerie (painting gallery) when Jeremy was here, but Corine and I made a return visit.  Then we headed out to the Jagdschloss (hunting palace) by the Grunewaldsee (lake) to check out their collection of paintings by Lucas Cranach (the Elder and the Younger).  Corine and I were both surprised and impressed at their collection!  It is sort of an unassuming building tucked away in the forest by a lake, but it houses a super collection of very well-known paintings!  We barely made it in before they closed, and I was so into the paintings, that I managed to forget to take photos.  So you'll have to use your imagination a little bit...

Photo of the Jagdschloss from across Grunewaldsee (from TripAdvisor)
Lucas Cranach the Elder, Lucretia, 1535 (from Jagdschloss' website)
Our last appointment was on Thursday May 12 at the Brandenburg (an der Havel) Cathedral's conservation workshop.  They have a super exhibition (link here) up right now with loads of textiles, and they do a great job explaining the different techniques and materials (including the different ways to make golden threads, velvet, various couching/stitching techniques).  One room had all kinds of images and examples of the types of restoration work that takes place in their workshop.  There was even a station set up that had a microscope pointed at a textile so visitors could really see the details of what they were talking about.  Totally cool!  The exhibition is called "Märkisches Drahtzieher: Textilgeschichte trifft Landesgeschichte," meaning "Märkisches Masterminds: Textile History Meets Regional History."  The word Drahtzieher can also mean a puppet-master, and they liked that play on words because most of the textiles in the exhibition are by the same patron and were meant to publicly display his wealth and authority-- as in, "see whose pulling the strings."

Brandenburg Cathedral
After looking through the exhibition, we went around the corner to meet with the conservators, Geertje Gerhold and Eva Düllo, in their workshop.  It was so cool to see their current projects!  Such fine, detailed, patient work!  We talked with two women there about the exhibition, the making of metal threads, the use of such valuable materials in textiles, all of the types and styles of textiles we have seen so far, and even compared photos from our various research enterprises.  They were so friendly, encouraging, enthusiastic, and open!  We had tea and cookies, and talked research, and it was a perfect afternoon!

In the evening, I went back to Wolfenbüttel because I was leaving the next morning to go back to Lüneburg and Kloster Lüne!  Stay tuned for a write-up about that adventure soon!!

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