House, Dreaming

“During October, 2010, the public was welcome to view the Ragdale House in Lake Forest, Illinois, in a new way—as the site of its first installation by multiple artists, entitled “House, Dreaming.” 

Ragdale alumni were invited to interact with a space in the historic summer home of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, now one of the largest artists’ communies in the United States. 

“Exhibiting artists were selected for their connection to Ragdale as well as their ability to create art that transforms a place. Whether through sound, paper and fiber, or video, the artists converted each room so that the viewers were able to see the space in a new way. Because the installations were set in rooms of an historic home and not a traditional gallery, the experience was atypical.”*

I chose the workroom of Alice’s suite for my installation.  It is the smallest, most humble room in the house, and I believe it has always been a work room or study. Its windows face fifty acres of virgin prairie that was preserved by Howard Van Doren Shaw (and now by Lake Forest Open Lands).  I thought of all the work I have done and seen and read that originated at Ragdale, and how the prairie invariably creeps into everyone's work in some way. This room is dreaming of bringing that bounty to its residents, and of all the work that has been done and will continue to be made here. It’s dreaming of how Shaw’s grand-daughter Alice Ryerson Hayes, who founded the Ragdale Foundation and whose room this was, shared it and the prairie with us all.

___________________________ *from the Ragdale Foundation’s exhibition announcement

Click on any image to begin a slideshow or view larger images HERE.

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© Melissa Jay Craig 2015