Mind’s Eye, the historic home of Caymanian visionary artist Gladwyn “Miss Lassie” Bush, is currently undergoing some maintenance, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation (CNCF) has advised. Specifically, the wooden windows and doors of the main house have been temporarily removed for re-colouring and are expected to be back in place later this month where they will once again showcase the brilliance of Miss Lassie’s work, or ‘markings’, as she called them.
Miss Lassie’s House is an authentic turn of the century Caymanian wattle and daub structure located at the intersection of Walkers and South Sound Roads. It was built by her father and grandfather, who started to work on it in 1878. During the artist’s lifetime, because of the seaside location of the property and the vagaries of weather, her “markings” on the wooden windows would fade after a time and she would often touch them up or repaint them as inspiration stirred her. When CNCF took possession of the property a few years after her death, the original windows were stored away for conservation and safekeeping, but the Foundation had Ms. Lassie’s creations on the windows and doors reproduced by local artist Sue Howe in 2013. Ms. Howe has once again been commissioned and is in the process of recolouring those reproductions so that they retain their uniquely striking appearance. The openings have been shuttered in the meantime for protection in the event of a storm.
“As Miss Lassie said many years before her passing, “The weather plays havoc with my markings””, explained Henry Muttoo, CNCF Artistic Director. “When she was alive, she was able, when the necessity arose or her vision changed, to repaint or alter the images on her windows. This added new lustre and longer life to her paintings and also helped preserve the wood. Now that Miss Lassie is no longer with us in the flesh, the images she left must be preserved as faithfully as possible. That is why CNCF has engaged Sue to copy Miss Lassie’s original window and door images onto the newly built ones, before the weather takes further toll and flaking begins. Sue did a terrific job on the replacement windows when the house was first conserved and opened to the public and, because she is so familiar with the construction of the images, she has been invited to repaint the images a second time.”
“It is a great honour to once again be working on Miss Lassie’s historical house,” said Ms. Howe. “I’m very excited to able to revisit the original pieces with new eyes and stay as close to her work style and subtle colour variation as possible, and to capture still more depth of colour and detail of the shaping of her markings. I want to bring these replicas a further richness and detail, and just really celebrate how much complexity even the most seemingly simplest of designs holds.”
She continued, “It’s amazing the number of new things that appeared to me this time around. I do love how familiar the pieces feel to me, like visiting a friend you haven’t seen for a long time. It is a wonderful and magical location to be in, and I really appreciate the opportunity to be able to work where she lived. That really adds something for me.”
Ms. Howe thanked Henry and Marcia Muttoo, and the CNCF Board, management and staff for their support and confidence in her as well as Steve Hawley and the Phoenix Group for their body of work over the years, and for their continued support and interest in the project.
CNCF offers guided tours of Mind’s Eye – The Visionary World of Miss Lassie for the general public and for students by appointment only. Although suspended due to COVID-19, tours are expected to resume soon.
For more information about Mind’s Eye – Miss Lassie’s House, visit https://www.artscayman.org/minds-eye/, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 949.5477.