Thursday, April 28, 2011

Spring Ephemerals

These plants may appear only briefly during the year, but their presence, like dear friends, reminds me of the sweetness of life and gives me a spontaneous joy upon seeing them. Especially after this long, snowy winter, the Hellebore, Trout Lillies, Marsh Marigold, Trillium, and Blood Root simultaneously blooming breathes new life and energy within me. There's a marvelous quality to each of these plants - as with any plant - but perhaps because of their timing, I am always grateful to see them again. 

Hellebore is one of my favorites. On my runs along the Potash Brook, Hellebore is one of the first glimpses of spring green to greet my eyes. There's an inspired vigor to the way its leaves muscle through the detritus of winter's floods and make their way skyward before summer's canopy becomes too dense. I find myself thinking of Hellebore when I have my own detritus to push through after an internal winter's flood....

The leaves are deeply sinused, ovate and large. To my eye, they abstractly resemble the waters of the streams they border - I've juxtaposed photos of the Hellebore and Potash Brook - only feet away from each other. This is the clearest illustration of something I've thought about often - how proxemic relationships might influence physical form, and internal modes of being. You can judge for yourself. 

Blood Root

Marsh Marigold

Trout Lilly


Potash Brook

Monday, April 25, 2011

Raised Steel Beds

The raised steel beds have arrived. Bryan our metal/wood artist did a fantastic job with details like the hoop house attachments and the rounded edges.

The rusty red of the steel compliments the highlights in the Goshen stone. Rough stones in contact with smooth steel edges create compelling tension that will be made softer with time and plants. While I am eager for the growing season and for completion of the project, I appreciate the process involved with building the terraces and the steps involved. At this stage, you can see the internal frames of the beds, and the braces necessary to hold the steel in place - even without yards of loam, manure and compost adding pressure. There's poetry to seeing the internal components that are going to be buried soon - the beauty of a good frame that supports the function of the whole without the glamor of a spotlight. 

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Twig fence

From my time working for the Smithsonian at the Sackler Gallery, the experience I reflect on most often, was watching the creation of a Tibetan Sand painting. Over the period of many days several monks created one of the most dynamic and beautiful works I have seen. Witnessing the process, the humility of the materials, the work's location and the monks changed my perspective on art, the creative process and the possibilities of art as a spiritual activity. The attention and sustained intent they lavished on making something so miraculous and sweeping it away has become a thread within my work and keeps me grounded from moment to moment, as I look for the most appropriate way to use the materials I have at hand for a project - as with the twig fence below that I just completed.