Sunday, November 25, 2012

Paper Dress

Isabelle de Borchgrave's paper dresses are nothing like the pop art shifts of the 1960's. "Pret  A Papier" at the Hillwood Museum in Washington, DC presents dresses, hats, bags and shoes spanning two centuries of fashion. Some were created in response to paintings or historic costumes in the Hillwood collection. Ms. De Borchgrave translated everything into a different medium. She had to make choices. How close does one hew to each fabric's drape and texture? What about embroidery, buttons, beading? The change from fabric to paper is transformative.  At first glance, they look like the real thing, but I never totally forgot that these fashions are paper. Pearlescent paint evokes satin. Twisted papers stand in for silk cording. This is a detail of an 18th century confection. It is historically correct, down to the pleated trim and "bargello needlework" shoes. The remaining "paperness" added to my enjoyment. These marvels of engineering and problem-solving will be on exhibit until December 30. Go see them if you can! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey On a Stick

At the November quilt guild meeting, a flock of turkeys huddled on the table reserved for snacks. We'd all seen similar treats in magazines, but their appearance was as much of a sensation as if we'd sited a mythical golden tailed phoenix in the wild. Determined to capture this special event, I lined up a few turkeys but had to fend off hungry people who kept grabbing one from my line of posing turkeys instead of choosing one from the remaining flock. A guild member made these. It was a fine activity to share with her children and her sister. Creative pursuits come in endless forms. I admire and applaud a well-crafted donut turkey. Those kids will remember the fun and satisfaction of making them. If you can make a donut turkey, the whole world of art lies ahead.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Mackerel Sky

Before "Frankenstorm Sandy" knocked down some neighborhood trees and blew most of the leaves off the rest of them, we had a day with a mackerel sky. Never having seen a live mackerel, I must trust that the large school of cloudlets swimming in unison over my head really do look like the spotted scales of their piscine namesake. The sun illuminated the orange and yellow leaves while the pattern of white and blue moved swiftly from northwest to southeast. Paul McCartney's song "Calico Sky" played in my head. I was thankful for such a beautiful day and such a remarkable sky. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Autumn Chocolates

Chocolate is not only delicious, but also a very good artistic medium. It can be molded, sculpted, colored and embellished. Neuhaus, a Belgian chocolatier, doubled up on their inspiration, creating chocolate boxes shaped like hazelnuts, then filling them with realistically-sized hazelnut chocolates. Autumn and harvest themes are traditional for this time of year. But Halloween is catching on in many parts of Europe. The hazelnuts were forced to share the window  with Mr. Jack O Lantern. His Halloween friends were creeping up from the background, ready to take over from the chocolate nuts, fruits and leaves that used to hold pride of place. What's next? Pumpkin-shaped Peeps in Paris?