Sunday, July 26, 2015

Blackberry Bush

I've been watching these blackberries. They have grown nice and plump from all the rain and should be turning dark any day now. Then it will be a race between humans and animals, to see who gets to the ripe ones first. I tend to think in terms of sewing and embellishment, so of course the berries look like clusters of beads to me. I mentally root around in my stash and audition different colors and finishes of seed  beads. In order to accurately portray the subtle changes in the colors of the berries, a few more trips to the bead store would be necessary. So I will simply enjoy looking at the ripening blackberries and assign that idea to my ever-growing list, under "Inspired By Nature." 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

China Through the Looking Glass

My photo bears the title of the exhibit that is currently at the Metropolitan Museum. Spread out  over a multitude of galleries, it is so much more than a collection of garments. This is the most spectacularly mounted exhibit I have ever seen. Hand embroidered emperor's robes share space with couture evening gowns. Antique snuff bottles sit with 1920s perfume bottles and the Met's gallery of blue and white porcelain is filled with matching  dresses. Mirrors, panels of glass, red and black laquer-like surfaces evoke both China and the disconcerting world of Alice in Wonderland. Dozens of Buddha statues watch over  Guo Pei's golden gown, with its lotus-shaped bodice. It reminds me of a 1950s evening gown. Inspiration can flow both East to West and West to East. The exhibit has been extended to Sept 7, 2015.  Drop everything and go see it.  

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Downing's Urn and Coneflowers

Andrew Jackson Downing was an architect and landscape designer who planned out the grounds of the White House and the Capitol. Today's National Mall looks more like what was originally proposed by Pierre l'Enfant, but until the 1930s, part of it was laid out in a plan designed by Downing. Everyone who enjoys a stroll through a park owes a debt to Downing. He was an advocate for public parks and green spaces. A marble urn dedicated to Downing rises out of a circular plot behind the Smithsonian Castle. In high summer it’s surrounded by masses of coneflowers. I like to stop and pay my respects to the man who helped promote the idea that we all should have parks to enjoy.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Leader of the Pack

The feathers on the young man's headdress rose well above the cluster of children surrounding him. He went through the moves of a dance, the same fierce expression never leaving his face. The kids imitated the moves, tentatively at first, then with more confidence and a few war-like whoops. This exchange, between a Peruvian musician/dancer and the members of a local day camp, is what the Smithsonian Folklife Festival is all about. What better way is there for young people to learn about other countries and other cultures?