My Material Life

House of Cards

Are you familiar with the Eames House of Cards?  I was playing with these around Valentine’s Day while experimenting with another project that didn’t work out, and then I actually got a chance to see one of the original decks last week when I attended the Ray Eames exhibit at the California Museum in Sacramento.  Today is the last day of the exhibit.  It’s been running for the past year, but I just learned about it from my sister and luckily, we were able to sneak a peek at it on the way to her house, just before the museum closed this past Thursday.

IMG_2145cRay was Charles’ wife and business partner.  She was a Sacramento native who studied painting and met Charles Eames at the Cranbrook Academy where she worked with both Eames and Eero Saarinen.  What a time to be at Cranbrook!  My sister read somewhere that Ray made paper dolls; she was hoping to see some when she visited the exhibit, but you can see more of Ray’s paper dolls by searching for them online.  Some of her fashion illustration was on display, but only a few paper dolls and most of those from when she was a very young child.  But look at these other toys below.  I would love to play with any of them today, even at my advanced age.  The paper elephant was a hands-on project the museum set up for kids.  It’s based on the Eames plywood elephant that you can now purchase in plastic.

Even though the Eames exhibit is going away, the museum is still worth a visit.  I loved the display of California’s Remarkable Women and was especially impressed by The Art of Gaman, an exhibit of arts and crafts made by Japanese Americans uprooted into internment camps during World War II.  The items in the case shown below were made from painted shells found on dry lake beds at two of the internment camp sites.  The work and the beauty that was produced under circumstances that are hard to even fathom is remarkable.  This exhibit runs through May 11, 2014.

My own online searching into Ray’s paper dolls led me to the fashion images from the Library of Congress that you can see in the slideshow below.  You’ll have to visit the Library of Congress to see the doll that goes with these clothes (she’s a nude).  My 9-year-old censor didn’t want me to post that one.

If you’d like to purchase your own House of Cards deck like the one shown at the top of this post, visit the MoMA store here.  Looks like they have them in stock.  Various other sites have different sizes or variations or are out of stock, but have fun searching for them anyway.


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