Through June 1, Maryhill Museum is exhibiting chess sets created by school children from throughout Oregon and Washington. The sets were created by all grade levels from kindergarten to high school seniors.
The title of the exhibit, Candy, Clay and Crayons, refers to the playfulness of the designs as well as to the unusual materials used. This uninhibited approach can be seen in the set made of costume jewelry and in a set fashioned from bottle corks. The themes chosen for each set are equally adventurous. They range from "night vs. day" to "Nike vs. Adidas".
Teams of students joined forces to create some sets while others show the unmistakable hand of an individual.
"World cultures and individuals from such diverse art movements as Dada, Surrealism and Bauhaus Internationalism have interpreted chess pieces according to their own aesthetic concepts," said Colleen Schafroth, executive director. "These students are helping to keep the tradition going." These unique and fanciful sets complement the Museum's renowned and extensive international chess set collection.
The newly published book The Art of Chess by Schafroth is available in the Museum's store. Comprised of over 175 pages, it presents the facinating history of the game of chess and features full color plates of sets from all over the world.
Included in the museum's permanent display of over 100 chess sets is "Chessodontia", a chess set created by retired dentist John Neufeld of Yakima. Each chess character in this oversized set of cast bronze is modeled after human teeth. The kings are upper bicuspids, queens are lateral incisors. For bishops, Neufeld chose the "eyeteeth - the teeth, like hats worn by bishops, are pointed," he observed.
Saturday, April 27, is Family Fun Day at the Museum. Visitors can watch or join in the Northwest Action Chess Championship competition or learn how to make a chess set.