Relics of a Different Age
January 2011 Issue
Ankh-Takelot, a high priest at the temple of the god Amun-Ra in ancient Egypt, died in approximately 837 B.C. The young man’s body was mummified and placed in a coffin adorned with his name, as well as with prayers and spells to aid his passage to the afterlife. Today, the intricately painted mummy case has a permanent home in southwestern Ohio. It’s just one of 60 authentic Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Etruscan artifacts displayed at the Ancient Sculpture Museum at Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton.
Museum founder Harry Wilks collected the urns, sculptures and mosaics over decades. When he first spotted the mummy coffin at Sotheby’s international auction house in New York City eight years ago, he recognized what an asset it would be to the collection.
“I liked his face,” Wilks recalls. “I liked the paint. There’s worldwide bidding on these items, and they’re very hard to get.”
Designed in Pompeiian style, the museum, which opened two years ago, features an inner courtyard, cloistered walkway and stone columns.
“When I first saw the museum, it wasn’t finished yet, and the sculptures were scattered on the floor,” says Stephen Tuck, a Miami University associate professor of classics. “It’s hard to describe what a thrill it was to find this material in this designated museum in Hamilton, Ohio.”
The Ancient Sculpture Museum at Pyramid Hill is located at 1763 Hamilton-Cleves Road, Hamilton, 45013. For additional information, visit ancientsculpturepark.org
or call 513/868-8336. — Karen Holcomb
From the Inside Out
One of Kelly Sheehan’s favorite paintbrushes looks like something a caveman might have used: It’s a simple wooden stick with a few bristles sticking out at a 90-degree angle. The rest of the brushes in her Toledo studio are either bent or held together with duct tape. Each reflects her lifelong passion for painting.
Eight years ago, Sheehan decided to try her hand at the intricate art of glassblowing. The result: She discovered a talent she never knew she had.
Sheehan’s studio, Kellfire Glass, displays hundreds of her blown-glass pieces, most of which she decorated using reverse painting — a process in which paint is applied on the opposite side from which it will be viewed — from the inside out, in the case of her vases. She uses her contorted brushes to decorate the interior of her glassworks to create owls, cardinals, cats, trees, rabbits, fairies and what she calls “Moneggs” — egg-shaped ovals that display scenery in the style of impressionist painter Claude Monet.
“There are limitless possibilities as to how you can apply imagery to glass,” Sheehan explains. “Reverse painting opened up a whole new world to me. You start with the details and work backward.”
But reverse painting, she’s quick to add, comes with a set of challenges all its own. The biggest: Painted glass requires up to seven firings to get colors to become pronounced. With each additional firing, Sheehan risks cracking a piece in the kiln.
Yet, she adds, the payoff is worth the hazards.
“It’s amazing to me when the imagery reveals itself,” Sheehan says with a laugh. “Sometimes I think it’s painting itself.” — Colleen Kennedy
Kellfire Glass, 2620 Centennial Rd. Suite W, Toledo 43617, 888/268-5557. kellfireglass.com
Bridal Boot Camp
Shortly after saying yes, most newly engaged women make a resolution similar to one many Americans make each New Year’s Day: to get in better shape. Only, in addition to health and appearance factors, many also have a white dress to motivate them.
Personal trainer Jen Borman has teamed with Columbus bridal shop Big Rock Little Rooster to help brides-to-be accomplish their goal in an unusual setting. Beginning Jan. 5 and each Wednesday thereafter, future brides will have the opportunity to work out amid designer gowns.
“You’ll be able to sweat all over Vera Wang,” Borman, owner of Personal Training by Jen, jokes.
The boutique, located in the Short North Arts District, will push back the satin, lace and tulle to make room for 15 female participants. Dubbed the Rock Hard Girls Club, each hourlong class will feature a boot-camp-style circuit-training regimen targeted at improving physique. Those in attendance will learn exercises that use minimal equipment and individual body weight in place of barbells.
“There’s something about being in a roomful of girls,” Borman explains. “It’s so motivating to look around and know that we’re all in the same boat. Come in your ratty gym clothes without makeup. It will be a no-pressure, no-judgment zone.”
Cost is $15 per class or $50 a month. Advance registration is required. For more information, call 614/920-0441. — CK