30 April 2012

Art in Bloom at the Museum of Fine Arts

Flowers galore.

On April 29, DH and I enjoyed Members' Night at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Art in Bloom celebration. This wildly popular annual event, in its 36th year, features three days of floral-themed activities. Over fifty Garden Clubs from around New England created floral arrangements as a response to specific works of art. I think my DH and I saw all fifty arrangements; due to the crush of people - the museum was packed - it was impossible for me to note the title of each artwork and each Garden Club, so please forgive my lack of attribution. Just enjoy the colors.

Top: Fancy clock, Noh costume, console table legs. Bottom: floral interpretations.

Spikey flowers mimic cock's comb and tail feathers.

Neo-classical sculpture; calla lilies seem to be eavesdropping.
The artwork selected ranged from Pre-Columbian gold work and weaving to a portrait by Chuck Close, so we hiked all over the museum; this event is a great way to get patrons to trek to galleries they may otherwise seldom visit.

Modigliani meets palm fronds.

A perfect pairing of painting and posies.

Sometimes the response seemed limited to highlighting the colors of the artwork, but generally the arrangements addressed form and texture as well.  

Delicate roses and baby's breath, and detail of lacy sleeve of portrait subject.

Art in Bloom is an engaging form of community involvement in the arts.  Although apparently light-hearted, conceptually this event springs from a very fundamental premise - that across cultural and temporal divides, much art has been inspired by nature.  In addition, everyone likes flowers, and, moreover, by this time of year New Englanders are more than ready to leap into the vernal season.

Sideboard and bouquet.

Cheery sunflowers, in life and in wood.

Maritime painting, with white orchids recalling sails.

Not all the flowers were on pedestals.

25 April 2012

Rags and stitches

"Boro jewelry" - raw-edge cloth, sashiko, and antique buttons.
As I need many small gifts for a trip I'm taking later this spring, I've gone into mass production of these small pins. Boro, by the way, is a Japanese term that roughly translates to rags, or scraps of cloth. Cotton was at one time a luxury fabric in Japan, as it was imported, and every scrap was saved and reused. See examples of boro at this blog.

Three fabric scraps, hand-dyed pearl cotton and antique buttons.

Something every quilter has is lots of fabric scraps.  After some experimentation, I hit upon pleasing proportions for my little textile "sandwich:"

1) Bottom square, 2 1/4"
2) Middle square, 2"
3) Top square, 1 3/4"

Of course, the shapes can be irregular, and should be!  Using my trusty sashiko needle, I stitched the three layers together using sashiko thread, as well as some wonderful pearl cotton hand-dyed by Elin Noble.  It is difficult to force the needle and thread through all the layers, and I recommend loosely woven scraps as easiest to handle. Many of my pins use Kaffe Fassett's shot cotton for the top and bottom layers, with some kind of coordinating print in the middle.

Rows of stitching marked, or just "eyeball."

I spaced the rows of stitching about 7 - 8 mm apart,  a scant 3/8" or so. Next came the antique button, and finally I stitched a 1" pinback to the reverse of the "sandwich," just through the back layer. After all the stitching, I did a final trim of the thread ends.

Back and front of boro pin.

Pin on lapel.
I got the idea for these pins from this wonderful blog, which features Mai's hand-made creations: http://mairuru.blogspot.com/2008/09/my-boom-sashiko-hand-stitch.html