A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Festival of Flowers

The Springfield Museums' wildly popular monthly series "Culture and Cocktails" always has seasonal themes, but this month's could not have been better planned. March this year came in like a lion and went out like a lion. Winter lingered so long in Massachusetts that I seriously wondered whether spring would ever come. The last two days of March brought bitter cold, snow, sleet, and Arctic winds, and then suddenly this week it's April, the sun is out, the air is soft, and the crocuses are up. And the Museum is having a Festival of Flowers. 

Local florists and garden clubs were invited to submit floral arrangements inspired by various works in the museums. The arrangements are scattered throughout the four museums, placed near the pieces that sparked them. Patrons can pick up a diagram identifying the locations and then it's like a scavenger hunt, roaming around the Quadrangle looking for all of them.

My favorite is the arrangement by Sherry Williams of the Springfield Garden Club, interpreting a glass and bronze Tiffany Studios lamp from 1910. She's spot-on, not only with the colors and the form of the lamp, but with the overall feel of the piece. What amuses me the most is that the lamp is botanically inspired, with its base in the form of a trunk and leaves, and she's taken it back to the original plants. Plus it's pretty and I could totally picture it in my house.

The design team at Flowers, Flowers! took over the entire Blake Court in the Museum of Fine Arts, and did a bang-up job. The interpretation of Herman Herzog's "View of Niagara Falls in Moonlight" has huge cascades of white flowers, frothy moss and a beautiful palette of greys and greens. The interpretation of Joseph Whiting Stock's "The Fisherman with His Dog" is very large, like the painting itself, with a dangly exotic flower to represent the fishing rod and line, and a mirror so that you see yourself as the fisherman. Very whimsical. The interpretation of "Evening at Low Tide, Manomet" has rocks, seaweed, and tight chrysanthemums which look like some form of sea life. Gorgeous.

In the French Impressionist Gallery, Tara Northway Ostrosky had the courage to tackle the Degas, "Rehearsal Before the Ballet," with success I might add. The gorgeous pink parrot tulips, delphiniums, Queen Anne's lace, plum blossoms, combined with sage green leaves,
are the essence of spring.

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