Sunday, June 29, 2014

Qiang Embroiderer

China is one of the featured countries at the 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival. Everyone watching this lady  was as fascinated by her hat as by her needlework skills. The hat's medallion-embellished fabric was folded into a peak like the roof of a house. She stitched with floss in the same bright colors as the flowers cascading down her gown. She is from Sichuan, but the style of her embroidery would seem familiar to Hungarians or Ukranians or Americans doing a "folk art" stitchery. Almost every culture has an embroidery tradition based on naive flowers and joyful colors. Unfortunately, Americans are seriously lacking in the hat department.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gooseneck Loosestrife

In my friend's garden, the gooseneck loosestrife are in bloom. They nod their heads blindly, conjuring up a shred of memory of an unfortunate encounter with a territorial goose at the age of three. What other name could this plant possibly have? The proper, orderly Latin names of plants are useful for classification, but give me a folk name with an origin lost in the mists of time. Dutchman’s britches, bleeding hearts, black-eyed susans, monkshood, beebalm, hens and chicks; each plants and its name is a perfect match.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Art Reflected

Everyone who comes to the Quilt Surface Design Symposium ends up taking several photos of the big red ART sculpture. It is the central landmark on the campus of the Columbus College of Art and Design. Walking to the auditorium, I happened to turn around just as the sun dipped behind the dorm. The mirrored ART floated in the windows, along with the clouds. But its feet were planted right in front of me, solid in the lawn. For a short time each year, we all gather as students to master new skills and reflect on our lives as artists. Today I am reflecting on how our surroundings can inspire us and induce creativity.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Down The Drain

We are now on the last day of the annual Quilt Surface Design Symposium. At the end of each session, we must clean up, clear things away and get ready for the next round of classes. Last Sunday, the remainder of the thickened dyes got dumped down the drain.  They swirled together in a psychedelic extravaganza of moving, blending colors. It looked exactly how the inside of my head felt: so full of colors, shapes and ideas. I’ve been tripping on art. Far out, man. 

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Roses and Arch

It is rose season. This is one of my favorite views of the Botanic Gardens in Oxford, England. I am a sucker for climbing roses. The twining curves of the canes echo the arch that leads to the rest of the garden. This is why so many of us dream of going to England----to see the fantasy of a perfect English garden. Those perfect gardens really do exist.