Thursday, February 2, 2012

A chance to view and study Kerr historic decorative arts

I received this news release from my long-time friend John Sniffen at Mo-Ranch, and because I thought it might interest the readers of this blog since it touches on both history and design, I decided to publish it here:
Entry to chapel
HUNT, Texas—Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly houses a living tribute to early 20th-century American decorative artwork. Handmade tiles from San Antonio, highly decorated furniture from California and exceptional ironwork by one of the Hill Country’s finest artisans abound in and around distinctive structures built of limestone, cedar and oilfield pipe during the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s.
To celebrate this collection and share the fascinating story behind the art, Mo-Ranch is hosting a Decorative Arts conference on Feb. 15-17, featuring presenters with extensive knowledge of the art forms and the ranch’s history.
Carole Coates, co-author of California Revival and an authority on Monterey furnishings, will speak on the unique, hand-crafted furniture which oilmen Odie Seagraves, Daniel Moran and Ernest Nicklos purchased for homes and guest facilities on the ranch, which once included 6,000 acres in west Kerr County.
Susan Toomey Frost, author of Colors on Clay, a definitive study of San Antonio’s San Jose Tile workshops, will tell the story behind the colorful, hand-painted tiles, of which Mo-Ranch has one of the largest and most varied collections.
Candace Leslie and Diane Hopkins-Hughs, author and photographer, respectively, of Forge and Anvil—Erich Riesel, Hill Country Ironworker, will talk about the life and work of the master craftsman.
David Jordan, a historian who recently retired as Mo-Ranch president, will return to describe the ranch’s early days and how Seagraves, Moran and Nicklos built estates overlooking the North Fork of the Guadalupe. Jordan’s research has turned up many little-known facts about the ranch and its owners during the glory days of the Texas oil industry.
Dan Moran on tile
Cost is $230 for tuition, double occupancy in a hotel room for two nights, and five meals in the King Dining Hall starting with dinner on Wednesday. Single occupancy in a hotel room is available for $311.
The cost is $134 for those wishing to attend as commuters, including dinners on Wednesday and Thursday, and lunch on Thursday. 
Mo-Ranch is located 11 miles west of Hunt on FM 1340.
For more information check the Mo-Ranch website ( or phone 830-238-4455.
Presbyterian Mo-Ranch Assembly, a church-related conference and camp center since 1949, is affiliated by covenant with the Synod of the Sun, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).

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