Monday, April 1, 2013

A Tapestry of life

My sister-in-law Nancy modeling her nuno felted shawl and coordinating necklace.

A few months ago my brother Alan and sister-in-law Nancy took a trip back east to see their son Josh, my nephew, perform in his last Rutgers University play before graduating with his MFA in May 2013(hopefully he'll soon land an awesome paid acting gig). 

While exploring NYC they came across the Neue Galerie, a museum devoted to early 20th century German and Austrian art.   As they wandered through the museum, Nancy noticed an attractive elderly woman studying her.  Finally the woman came up to Nancy inquiring about and complimenting her shawl. Nancy said that I had made it by hand and explained a bit about the nuno felting process.  The woman called her husband over to take a look and soon Alan and Nancy were in conversation with Denise and Eric Kandel.

Dr. Kandel is a neuropsychiatrist at Columbia University and was the recipient of the 2000 Nobel prize in Physiology/Medicine. My brother Alan is also a psychiatrist and his youngest son Gabe is currently studying neuroscience at Oberlin. Last summer Gabe assisted on a research project at Columbia University under a doctor who turns out was the protege of Dr. Kandel. Dr. Kandel is Jewish, as are we, and was born in Vienna in the 20's.  He and his family were forced to leave Austria after the country had been annexed by Germany in 1938.  He is the author of the brilliant book "The Age of Insight" which takes the reader back to the Vienna of 1900.

It amazes me that this shawl was instrumental in the interweaving of lives. The metaphors of fabric “weaving story lines” and “spinning tales” are so real.  If not for this shawl, these two couples would have passed each other in the museum with no one the wiser but because of the shawl, a another rich tapestry was created. 

Alan and Nancy bought Dr. Kandel's book, "The Art of Insight" at the Museum shop and had him autograph it.

Dr. Alan Marx (my brother) and Dr. Kandel at the Neue Galerie, Manhattan. 

This shawl is made out of repurposed men's ties, silk scraps, vintage sari ribbons and merino wool.  It can been worn with the ties on the inside or the outside. 

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