24 July 2015

An Apple a Day: exploring health through art

An Apple a Day: Saturday. Phoebe Ann Erb.

Recently, DH and I enjoyed a local art exhibit with the engaging title of Healthful.   Eighteen artists, all affiliated with the community arts organization Unbound Visual Arts, explored the theme of physical and mental well-being in various media, including, but not limited to, painting, quilts, and photography.

The exhibit was curated by John Quatrale.

My friend Phoebe Ann Erb presented a series of collages celebrating the folk wisdom of eating an apple a day, but with a twist - on Sunday, just rest under an apple tree! It's a palatable message (pun intended) as portrayed by Phoebe's seven engaging collages, in which she melds her gouache painting with vintage fabrics and paper.

A collage a day...work by Phoebe Ann Erb.

The work below, by Ruth Rieffanaugh, offers advice even more directly. The density of the text is reminiscent of those package inserts which accompany medications, but the warmth of the wood and informal quality of the lettering suggests the inner monologue of someone confronted with, but not conquered by, illness or other challenges.  One of my favorite lines in this work: "You can become off balance seeking stability."

Musings, Ruth Rieffanaugh.

Musings, detail.

The fascinating pen drawings in the image above were begun by Dianne (Iyan) Freeman while she recuperated from surgery.  Beauty can rise from the most unpromising of circumstances.

Reflection, a Self-Portrait, Dianne (Iyan) Freeman.

I Have Hip Dysplasia, Grace Luk.

Humor was in evidence too. We are all familiar with the Snellen eye chart; a standard, reliable method of measuring visual acuity.  In the digital print above, artist Grace Luk uses the familiar chart to communicate information about another condition which may not be so easily "seen."

Seattle Garlic Cluster, Francis Gardino.

Since this blog began with an apple, why not end with another food associated with a healthy diet and good nutrition?  Garlic was historically used both as a food and a medicine, and the plump bulbs in the photograph above, glowing in their purple net packaging, look ready for the kitchen. 

15 July 2015

Time Travel aboard the Frigate L'Hermione

Rigging of L'Hermione.

L'Hermione in port.

Just in time for Bastille Day, the Marquis de Lafayette arrived in Boston aboard the 32-gun, three-masted frigate L'Hermione. Say "The hair-MY-knee" in English, or impress your friends with your grasp of French pronunciation and say "LAIR-me-own."

All right, all right, reality must intrude. The tall ship which visited in Boston on July 11 and 12th is a replica of the original frigate which brought the young Marquis de Lafayette to Boston in 1780.  The Marquis, a great friend of General Washington, proved an invaluable asset during the Revolutionary War.  Learn more about the L'Hermione project at http://www.hermione2015.com/index.html 

A crew member, dress as the Marquis, is shown below, with one of the many helpful volunteers who assisted visitors.  L'Hermione is visiting several North American ports, including Boston and New York,  this summer, and then will "rentrez chez elle" - return to her home port - in Rochefort, France.

Marquis de Lafayette and volunteer.

So, how does this have anything to do with fiber?  Well, in addition to the acres of sail canvas, furled while she was moored in the harbor, there are literally miles of rope - more properly called lines - used in a myriad of ways on board. The lines are twined from natural fibers such as jute and, in a concession to modern requirements, polyester filament.

Originally rope was made outdoors in areas called rope walks; later extremely long, narrow buildings housed the manufacture of rope in which lengths of manila, sisal or jute filament were twisted together.

The humble rope is essential.

Exterior of the ship.

Stern of the ship.

The ship was quite a popular attraction; we arrived at Rowe's Wharf early in the morning and were able to board after just a short wait. One hundred and twenty visitors were allowed on at one time.

On deck.

The lifeboats.

Looking up.

Ship's bell, and crew member's footwear.

The co-ed crew dressed in period costumes; we chatted with the crew member in the image below, and, using Franglais, learned that the timbers for the massive masts came from Oregon, and that most of the constituent parts of the ship were made not only from traditional materials but using traditional techniques as well.

Able seaman.

In addition to the French ship and crew, a contingent of Minutemen from Lexington were part of the celebration, including the father and daughter depicted below. Their wonderful period costumes were developed and made by fashion designer Ruth Hodges, of Lincoln.

Minuteman and daughter talk the helm.

Everyone gets a turn.

04 July 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Our town puts on a great pyrotechnics show.
Our town produces a wonderful fireworks display every year, as part of traditional festivities which include carnival rides, carnival food - fried dough, anyone? - and a local band playing patriotic favorites. A good time was had by all.