October 2012 Issue
October 2012 Digest
A real spider man, a Nancy Drew scavenger hunt, an award-winning fiber artist, our new guide to Ohio collectibles.
Enough with the spiders already! After receiving thousands of specimens for the past 18 years from volunteer collectors, Richard Bradley, recently retired associate professor at Ohio State University’s Marion campus, says he’s no longer accepting the eight-legged arachnids.
During the collection phase of the Ohio Spider Survey, scientists and the public were encouraged to send spiders to Bradley for preservation. Some specimens, recalls Bradley, arrived carefully wrapped “like mummies.” Others were “smears inside a flat envelope.” But the professor didn’t mind because, he explains, “those posed a great identification challenge.”
Bradley’s database now includes information about 39,762 individual spiders, and he is remaining at OSU to complete and summarize his research. Before
Bradley began exploring the topic, much of what was known about Ohio spiders came from a study published in 1919. That research identified 306 different kinds of spiders. Bradley’s count is up to 635. The new research provides an updated look at spider diversity, important for keeping down insect pests. He also enjoyed the survey because “it got kids, nature centers and parks involved in spider activities.”
Over the years, Bradley’s mail contained many surprises, including a bolas spider, the rare Mastophora phrynosoma. (The female doesn’t spin a web, but hunts her prey by sending out a line with a sticky blob at the end. A male moth in pursuit of a romantic date is attracted because the spider also sends out a seductive pheromone.) Also in the collection is Tapinocyba emertoni, a spider that lives in Hocking Hills State Park but remains unknown everywhere else in the world.
Poisonous spiders in Ohio include the northern and southern black widow, which has a nasty bite. Also, the venomous brown recluse, although not native
to Ohio, is transported to the state in cardboard boxes and furniture.
“There are two kinds of people in the world,” muses Bradley, whose new book, Common Spiders of North America,
will be published by the University of California Press next spring. “Those who think spiders are cool and those who either dismiss them or are terrified of them.
“I’ve never been bitten by a spider, and I’ve handled thousands of them,” he adds. “I think they are fascinating.” — Jill Sell
Generations of young readers have helped her discover The Secret of the Old Clock
, unmask The Ghost of Blackwood Hall a
nd decode The Witch Tree Symbol
Now the world’s most beloved girl sleuth is cracking her latest case in the main branch of the Cleveland Public Library. Beginning this month, The Nancy Drew Scavenger Hunt will help patrons further explore the iconic downtown landmark.
“The library is renowned for its special collections and volume of books,” says Steven Capuozzo, the subject department librarian in the Literature Department. “We want to celebrate the fact that it’s becoming not only a center of activity fit for the 21st century, but also a tourist destination.”
Built in 1925, the building is a study in magnificence — from the 1934 Donald Bayard mural depicting Cleveland’s waterfront in 1835 gracing the second-floor lobby, to “Clio and the Death of Hyacinthus,” Mark Howard’s contemporary take on Greek mythology showcased on the sixth floor of the Louis Stokes Wing.
The scavenger hunt is designed to lead visitors to treasures they may have overlooked. The fun starts in the Literature Department, where they’re invited to complete a seven-word “mystery sentence” by following a series of clues ready to be deciphered in departments throughout the building. Those who solve the mystery receive an Official Nancy Drew Sleuth button.
The search will also honor a litany of Ohio authors — including Nancy Drew’s original creator, Mildred Wirt Benson, who penned 23 of the original 30 mystery stories under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. For 58 years — until her death in 2002 at age 96 — Benson wore a more public persona as a newspaper reporter for The Toledo Blade. — Linda Feagler
For more information, call 216/623-2881 or visit ohiocenterforthebook.org.
Kate Gorman delights in the beauty of all birds. And that includes one most of us shun.
“I like crows,” admits the fiber artist. “They are very common, very Midwestern, very smart and really very lovely. Maybe the carrion part is not so great — they eat dead things — but they do clean up. I use a lot of crows in my work.
“The birds,” she adds, “represent where I am in life.”
An image of a flying crow against birch trees on an art quilt titled “Migration” helped Gorman secure this year’s $1,000 Challenge Award for Excellence, the top prize at the Ohio Designer Craftsmen’s Best of 2012 competition.
“My husband and I are always talking about where we will go when we retire, where we will migrate,” says the Westerville resident. “Some of this quilt is about that. There is also a little window at the side in the piece — looking into the next opportunity.”
It helps to know a bit about mythology and poetry when viewing Gorman’s work. An avid reader, she sometimes turns to literature for inspiration when designing her contemporary art quilts.
Over the past five years, birds have been a frequent theme for the artist. But she’s moving in a new direction: Using family photos and stories as sources, Gorman is now creating “more personal quilts.” She’s also experimenting with hemp/linen blends and wool, concentrating not so much on color as texture and line.
“I am enjoying this new [challenge]. I’m trying not to put any pressure on myself in the creative process, but that’s impossible,” confesses Gorman, who works part time at the Goodwill Art Studio and Gallery in Columbus, creating art with adults with disabilities. — JS
For more information about Gorman’s work, visit kategorman.net.
Drawn to History
At first glance, it’s a simple drawing of the old family farm. Your grandparents sentimentally tucked it away in the attic, occasionally bringing it out to reminisce, fascinated by the details and comparing it to the way the farm looks today. But what to do with it now?
The search is on for these early pencil drawings by 19th-century Swiss immigrant Ferdinand Brader, whose works will be the focus of a 2014 exhibit at the Canton Museum of Art. Brader gained local fame when, in 1895, word came that a sizable family fortune in Switzerland was awaiting this inhabitant of a Canton poorhouse. But Brader disappeared, and Swiss courts declared him “lost” in 1901. The inheritance was never claimed. More than 100 years later, Brader is famous again, this time as an enigmatic character whose work as an itinerant artist created a wonderful documentation of life in early Ohio. Visit braderexhibit.com to learn more. — Amelia and Jeff Jeffers
“Ohio Finds” features fascinating objects brought to the attention of Amelia and Jeff Jeffers, co-owners of Garth’s Auctioneers & Appraisers, an international firm located outside Columbus.