Senackerib examined and assessed
the condition of more than 112 of
Fetherston’s paintings housed in the
museum. “She tended to focus on
flowers because of her interest in
gardening,” Senackerib says. “The
objects she collected also inspired the
Asian and Native American imagery
her works depict.”
Adams’ role was to hand pick objects
she felt reflected why Fetherston had
such a keen interest in collecting and
founding the Packwood House in the
late-1930s, when she and her husband,
John, a successful engineer and executive,
retired to Lewisburg. They purchased
her childhood home, as well as a hotel
and tavern next door, and reconfigured
them into a single structure, which they
named after the Fetherstons’ ancestral
home in England. She gave tours of her
collection and garden, and both she and
John left provisions for the museum,
which opened in 1976, in their wills.
“As I went through her collection, I
created a range of topics and headings:
women and gardening, decorative arts,
Asian art and women collecting in
general,” Adams says. “Together, we
worked to take the information in the
archives and create a new story of who
Edith Fetherston was in a more personal
narrative than had existed before.”
Some of that narrative is represented
through the postcards Fetherston
collected as well as postcards her friends
sent from their own travels. “As you
read [the messages on the cards], you
learn more about the value she placed
on traveling and her appreciation for
the world’s cultures,” says Reeve, who
organized the postcard collection.
Phase I of a digital archive for this
ongoing project will be available this
fall at packwood.omeka.bucknell.edu/
omeka. It includes catalogs of Fetherston’s paintings and postcards and a
digital exhibition on women and nature.
Mann extolled the opportunity
the project provided for firsthand
experience. “Students could dig into
the letters and look at the paintings.
At the same time, we got to help one
of our town’s resources.”
Gamelan Dharma Swara, a professional group
from New York City, plays at the inaugural
concert for the new instruments in February.
“It’s not official until the gong is hung,” an old Javanese phrase says, grounding
the importance of the Indonesian gamelan orchestra in an arc of ceremonies
ranging from weddings to religious rites.
For more than 10 years, Bucknell’s music department has introduced
students and the surrounding community to gamelan — a versatile word that
refers to a style of Indonesian music; the ensemble of people playing it; and
a set of forged-bronze percussion instruments that includes gongs, bamboo
flutes, drums and metallophones (similar to xylophones).
A more than 20-member group of players welcomes students, faculty and
staff to join. Many learn about the ensemble by hearing it during the Arts First
preorientation, through the Arts Residential College or at one of its concerts.
The popularity continues to grow.
Last year, a custom-built set of instruments from the Indonesian island of Bali
arrived. Designed for Bucknell by Balinese craftsmen, it’s the most complete
semara dana-style gamelan in the U.S., according to Professor Bethany Collier,
music. Collier spent three weeks in Bali last summer with Chloe D’Addio ’17,
Calvin Chang ’18 and Julia Lasyone ’17 taking part in the malaspas, a ceremony
that unites a gamelan with its community.
“The instruments were built more than a year before, but gamelan tuning
shifts for at least a year, so the final touches were being made when we were
there,” says Collier.
Collier returned to Bali in November to help with shipping, and the gamelan
arrived on campus in January.
Collier and her students were happily surprised at how many people arrived
before the February inaugural concert to participate in a second malaspas ceremony.
“It was really moving,” says Collier. “In Bali, the community rallies around you
when you have a ceremony like this and supports you by joining together in this
way. It was really lovely to see people from all around the region come together
to celebrate this event.”
This year, the ensemble will perform each semester with the new gamelan,
expanding its repertoire to bring even more Indonesian culture to Bucknell.
— Paula Cogan Myers
A Sound Investment
New Indonesian gamelan expands