Sunday, October 26, 2008


It is that time of year. At the nursery, on a mission to buy pansies, I was completely overcome by the convocation of pumpkins. Squads, platoons, battalions of pumpkins. Pumpkins from every pumpkin tribe. Large and small, smooth and bumpy, orange, green, white, striped, mottled, netted. Sitting at attention in such careful rows and groups, the differences between each group jumped out at me. The longer I looked, the more each individual pumpkin began to take on a distinct personality. It is a reminder that whenever we gather a group of similar items the differences between them become more distinct. This is an easy design tool to use, whether your artistic medium is buttons, quilt blocks in the same colors but differing prints, or....pumpkins.
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Sunday, October 19, 2008


What do you do with a cliche? At the Kinderdijk near Rotterdam, nineteen windmills survive within view of each other. They are a reminder of the ongoing battle between the residents of the Netherlands and the relentless sea. Standing in the golden light of late afternoon, with cows grazing to my right and ducks bobbing in the canal to my left, it felt as if I was in the middle of a 17th century Dutch painting. In the quiet, I thought about how and why something important and iconic becomes a cliche. Perhaps it is because something can be such a part of life (or the landscape) that it is not really "seen" any more. I made my photo and captured what may seem like a cliche. But for me it also represents a perfect moment.
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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beach Leaves

The leaves are changing, well into their last glorious display before we are left with the tracery of bare branches. That is a sure sign that winter will be here soon. We associate certain colors with autumn. I found that same autumnal palette in an unlikely place: a shrub growing on the sand dunes edging a beach on Florida's gulf coast. I love the curved edges and the way that the veins are the last part of the leaf to lose their grip on the green. Sun shining through leaves, making a stained glass show worthy of any cathedral. One more small miracle for which we can be thankful.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Drainpipe, Brussels

Walking down the street with me, in a neighborhood built around 1900, can be as slow as a walk with an easily-distracted toddler. There's a whole wonderful world to discover and scrutinize. In Brussels, interlacing lines carved on a wall fan out just above the sidewalk to announce the existence of a drainpipe. A plain, metal pipe jutting out of the wall would not do. This was an age when designers felt that it was their duty to imbue useful objects with beauty and possibly even nobility. I hope that the craftsperson who made this was pleased with having transformed something mundane into an elegant ornament.