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Pomo baskets and portraits at Ukiah's Sun House.

Pomo baskets and portraits at Ukiah's Sun House

The Pomo population had already dwindled by the 1890s, whenethnologist Dr. John Hudson and his wife, artist Grace Carpenter Hudson, began studying the culture of these northern California Indians. The Hudsons spent the rest of their lives at work in Ukiah, trying to capture some of the beauty and power of this peaceably inclined society.

Over some 40 years, they amassed an impressive collection ofbaskets and other artifacts, and Grace Hudson painted hundreds of oil portraits of the Pomo people. In 1977, their former home was opened to display a small part of the collection; a recently completed companion building, the Grace Hudson Museum, now provides more room. Its exhibits focus on the history and anthropology of this part of Mendocino County.

Now through May in the Hudson building, "ContemporaryPortraits' shows works by area artists alongside some of Grace Hudson's best work. Though certain modern critics decry her romantic treatment of some of her Pomo subjects, these sympathetic paintings brought public attention, in her day, to a disappearing way of life.

Pomo baskets are among the finest in California, and theHudsons sent hundreds of them, with detailed accounts of construction techniques, to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. An impressive collection is on display here, tightly twined or coiled and intricately ornamented with woody materials, beads, or feathers. You'll also see open-twined traps and weirs, closely knit wood-carrying and food-storage baskets, and woven cradles.

The six rooms of the Hudsons' 1911 redwood home give you aninsight into the life style (considered Bohemian at the time) of these early-day anthropologists. Outside, their garden is planted with grasses, shrubs, and flowering plants used by the Pomos in their intricate basketry. You can picnic here or in the nearby 4 1/2-acre Hudson-Carpenter Park at Clay and Main streets.

The Sun House and Hudson museum complex is at 431 S. MainStreet in Ukiah, about 125 miles north of San Francisco via U.S. 101. Hours are 10 to 4 Wednesdays through Saturdays, noon to 4:30 Sundays. A $2 donation is requested ($5 per family).

Photo: Catching her eye, fluteplayingboy illustrates early Pomo myth of how music came to the world

Photo: Willow storage basket dates fromlate 1800s; intricate design and tight weave distinguish Pomo work

Photo: Raven and frog top weathered early 1900stotem pole at entry of Sun House Museum. Redwood exterior is newly refinished
COPYRIGHT 1987 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1987 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Grace Hudson Museum
Date:Apr 1, 1987
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