Sunday, April 24, 2011

New Pots

At the garden center, way in the back, past the pansies and hyacinths, past the green landscape of oregano, parsley and tender basil that should not yet be set out in the ground, you arrive at the corner where the pots are stored. It's a terra cotta landscape of birdbaths, window boxes and basic pots in every size. Look at all the curves! Sunlight plays off the rims. The drainage holes form a pattern of polka dots. They are so similar and so perfect right now. Soon they will go to their new homes where they will become smeared with dirt, develop a white efflorescence, get chipped, or take on a fine growth of moss. They will each acquire a personality.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Coral Reef

A most unusual exhibit is at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef is the work of a host of fiber artists from around the world. This whimsical tour de force illustrates hyperbolic geometry, a mathematical concept in which lines bend on a curved plane and can meet themselves. I cannot truly grasp this, but I do understand the curvy beauty of a lettuce leaf or the ruffled edges of coral. The natural world is full of examples of hyperbolic geometry. Chunky yarns, delicate yarns, furry yarns that waft gently in the air currents---a huge variety of fibers have been used to create the coral branches and fans. Crocheted sea kale, jellyfish, starfish and sea urchins inhabit the reef. Some of the artists replicated harder, shinier surfaces by crocheting strips of plastic bags. How appropriate, and also ironic, considering the amount of plastic collecting in our oceans.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Moonrise, Air Force Memorial

Our most recent full moon was unusually large. Looking for a special place to watch it rise, we went down to the Air Force Memorial. Dozens of people were already there. Some had cameras on tripods, others leaned over the railings and looked out past the Pentagon, across the river to the monuments and the Capitol. The sky grew dark. We waited. "Whoahhhhh....!!" everyone exclaimed in unison as a large red ball crested over the skyline. It rose quickly, changing from red to orange to yellow. And there it hung, twice the usual size. I am starting my fourth year of weekly photos just like the previous three: by offering you a picture of the Air Force Memorial. Usually I look up at its swooping lines. This time I looked straight ahead, appreciating itsmassive bases, perfectly framing that lovely moon.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Red and Whites

Last week, for five days, 651 red and white quilts hung in the Park Avenue Armory in New York City. Fans, lone stars, flying geese and appliqued flowers rose in rings, columns and spirals four stories into the air. The exhibit's title, "Infinite Variety," said it all. Although limited in color, the patterns seemed endless. I spent hours there last Sunday and came back with fresh eyes on Monday. Most of the quilts have no signatures, no labels, no documentation. It was an art show created by an army of unknown women, armed only with needles and two colors of fabric. I was in awe. This may have been the quilter's equivalent of Woodstock: a gathering of people come to witness an art form---an ephemeral "happening." Who knows what ripples of creativity it will have. Thank you, Mrs. Joanna Rose for sharing your quilts with us.