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February 17th, 2011

Can I blog about you? The Wendy Wolf edition

We went to Earth Bread + Brewery see Wendy Wolf’s art. I know Wendy from my Alfred University days, and I think she makes the coolest necklaces and Halloween costumes and artwork. Some pieces from her “Natural Repetition” series are on display at Earth Bread + Brewery until April 3. I’ve been trying to get to one of her art shows for months, and I was so excited that she wasn’t at her studio and could join us for dinner.

Wendy Wolf's art on display at Earth Bread + Brewery in Philadelphia PA

Wendy Wolf's art on display at Earth Bread + Brewery in Philadelphia

After we finished eating, Wendy walked me through the show. I wish wish wish I’d done a video interview of Wendy talking about her work. Since I think Wendy’s own words are far more interesting than my paraphrasing, I emailed her last night and got her artist’s statement about the show.

“The series Natural Repetition began during a residency at Taliesin West (Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture) in Scottsdale, Arizona. The residency gave me the opportunity to create an outdoor installation piece. While exploring the grounds, I found an orchid tree whose leaves looked very similar to the repeated marks I had been working with in my painting and cut paper series. I processed the leaves by tracing and reproducing them in paper as I had been doing with the marks in my paintings. As soon as that first strand of leaves was installed in the courtyard, it completely changed the way people interacted with the space. Instead of walking through with their heads bent down, they stopped and looked up—seeing this beautiful tree above them—and spent time exploring and making personal associations with my paper leaves. I was thrilled to watch hundreds of people walk through the space (on daily tours) with expressions of delight. That installation has since led to a whole series of work based on different locations and the natural repetition found in various types of plants.”

You can see pictures of the earlier outdoor installations here.

The current show features works made with turkey oak leaves, ginkgo leaves, basswood, bamboo, and these really lovely box elders.

Box Elder No. 1 Wendy Wolf©2010

Box Elder No. 1 Wendy Wolf©2010

 Box Elder No. 3 Wendy Wolf©2010

Box Elder No. 3 Wendy Wolf©2010

Some of the leaf shapes in her work have insect and weather damage. Right after she told me about the art she made from her (master gardener) mother’s poor slug-damaged hostas, I asked, “Can I blog about you at work?” I love the hosta series. Yes, it’s true the slugs destroyed the plants, but Wendy said her mom finally has some of her art hanging over the sofa. Who ever knew that insect damage could be so beautiful? I love it!

Hostas No. 1 Wendy Wolf © 2009

Hostas No. 1 Wendy Wolf © 2009

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January 27th, 2011

how to see a zucchini

2010 found me shooting more photos for Organic Gardening. In the Feb/March 2011 issue, you’ll find a photo that I consider to be a personal victory.  Meet the ‘Cavili’ zucchini.

centerfold

Most of the test garden photos come very easily for me. I try to get to the garden at 6:30 or 7 once a week when the sun is low and both the plants and I are fresh and un-wilty. It’s quiet there, and (after I chatter with Brad, Josh, and Lisa) I’m quiet, too, and settle in to find my angles and frames. Kneeling in the dirt, away from in box and voice mail and office distractions, taking photos is a meditation. Moving the camera even half an inch can completely change the composition for me, and I can get lost in seeing the same thing in so many different ways.

Sometimes I get stuck.

01b

The zucchini and I were at a standoff for 3 straight days. Some would say this is because in the past, zucchini (and all squash) have rated very low on my “likeable foods” scale. I would like those people to know that thanks to the delicata and other gateway winter squashes, I’m getting over my low opinion of this vegetable. For whatever reason, I just had trouble seeing this plant. I walked around the plant and looked at it from all sides.

02 03 04

When that didn’t work, I looked to the beans and took a break to hang out with my farm-friendly Domino Cat.
domino_0021

I returned to the garden on different mornings, in different moods, and I tried. I looked at dark green zucchini varieties and pale green zucchini varieties and baby zucchinis and full-grown zucchinis and bees in blossoms.

domino_0042

Domino’s expression says it all. Clearly, I was making this harder than it needed to be.

By the third day, this was seriously turning into a case of, “Kid, shoot your vegetables.” It was 7 a.m. and no one was in the office. The sun was getting higher. When I went to my car to get screens and a giant umbrella, I found a brown paper bag. I decided to play.

05 05b 05c

After a couple of shots of “too plain, too crowded, needs something more,” I finally got the shot that was just right. Feeling victorious, I zoomed back here to the office, excited to show Gavin and Ethne my work. The zucchini didn’t beat me. And I have to confess, it tasted pretty good in a curry.

06a

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