Handwork and jewelry at the California missions January 10, 2007

This week has been so fun — I really love it here on the central coast! I can hardly believe that later today I’ll be in San Francisco (yay!) and seeing the sights there, too.

Yesterday we went into San Luis Obispo and visited the mission, which was absolutely beautiful. I’ve always been interested in the missions, but in two years in California I hadn’t managed to see even one, so I grabbed a little guide to all 21 at the bookstore in LA and figured out where we’d overlap with them along El Camino Real (aka the 101) this week.

The mission in San Luis Obispo

The building is lovely, and the park all around is really inviting too. We wandered all around and checked out the museum, which was a little dark and dim but had some cool things to see… including some antique shell and bone beads and jewelry made by the Chumash Indians.

Beads and jewelry at the San Luis Obispo Mission

There was also some delicate sewing and tatting on display, and two antique sewing machines, all in the “Women’s Handwork” section.

Antique sewing machine in the Mission

I really wanted to take a picture of the other one (it was so old that I never would have been able to tell it was a sewing machine, it looked like some sort of clunky blacksmithed press to me) but unfortunately it was black and the display case was dim and shadowy, so absolutely nothing came out. It was labeled “Howe’s original patent 1840, 320 stitches per minute.”

So, one mission down, just twenty to go! I’ve added this book to my wish list, and I’m hoping to visit #2 in San Francisco this week, too. I wonder if there’s anything crafty there…

If you go:

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolusa
751 Palm St., SLO, CA
free and open to the public ($2 suggested donation to visit the museum)

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