Sunday, January 29, 2023

MODERN Letters

 A friend returned last week from Las Vegas. She told me about her nighttime tour of the Neon Museum's Boneyard, where remnants of old casino signs spend their evenings bathed in colored lights. I’ve enjoyed that tour as well, but it’s the same Boneyard in the unforgiving light of midday that has really stayed with me. I still think about the signs' crisp patterns of neon tubing lines and light bulb dots combined with their faded and worn textures revealing the ravages of time. The allure never subsides. It’s a never-ending source of inspiration.

Sunday, January 22, 2023

Snowdrops at the Orange House

 Surely, you must admire a family with the confidence to paint their house orange. It's relentlessly cheerful all year round. In the middle of winter, when gardens are dormant, a brightly colored house brings cheer. A few mild days have encouraged their snowdrops to poke up through the mulch. The crisp while petals match the trim of the house. Even if ice or snow blows in next week, the hardy little blossoms will survive, and remind us that spring, and then summer, will be coming eventually.

Sunday, January 15, 2023

Flow Blue

 The slightly out-of-focus-pottery known as Flow Blue has gone in and out of fashion for two hundred years. Europeans tried to copy the  porcelain coming from China but lacked the formulas for both the clay and the glazes. Imagine the disappointment those first potters experienced when they saw that their crisp blue designs were hazy---a chemical reaction between the cobalt-based decorations and the chlorides in their salt-glazed pottery. Somehow, this misty look caught on, but only to a degree. The "seconds" were sent to America, where you can sometimes see the flowiest of Flow Blue, with flowers barely discernable within the fog of cobalt.

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Sari Ribbon

 A new shipment of sari ribbons had just been unpacked at Artistic Artifacts. The deliciously bright colors were the perfect antidote for a gray day. They came from a women's cooperative in India, rescued from the cutting room floors of sari manufacturers, cut into strips, randomly stitched end to end and recycled into skeins of ribbon. The rainbow of shaggy, soft strips includes jolts of vermilion, fuchsia and marigold, colors found everywhere in India. Why not unfurl a skein and begin a new project? Crochet or knit, sew them down or embroider them with a large needle. Take pleasure and inspiration from the randomness and surprise of the changing colors, and remember the ladies who turned a cast-off resource into something beautiful.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Starry Tunnel

 A moving sidewalk runs between the National Gallery of Art’s East and West Buildings. Leo Villareal's installation "Multiverse" surrounds you with 41,000 LED lights that glimmer and shift. He has created a magical high tech tunnel reminiscent of stars, planets, galaxies. As visitors move from west to east and back again, it's a perfect example of how art can be transformative, for a moment or for a lifetime.