Human Flower Project


Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed
Murrieta, CALIFORNIA USA

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Skulpcha


Art by the people, by the kilo, and for whom? John Levett considers public sculpture in and around (but mainly not about) Cambridge. Thank you, John.


imageDivided Circle (1969)

by Barbara Hepworth

Clare College, Cambridge

Photo: John Levett

By John Levett

I’m highly cynical of ‘The People’s Something or Other.’ The People’s Poet, The People’s Painter, The People’s Sculptor. Such titles are, first. patronising and second the vehicle of a corporate campaign to shift product. Patronising because the sub-text is ‘Even a thicko like you can understand this ‘cos it’s got short words, pictures to give you a clue and a pop-up of a cuddly toy.’ Corporate because the sub-text is ‘Even a thicko like you can understand this ‘cos it’s got short words, pictures to give you a clue and a pop-up of a cuddly toy.’ I exaggerate but I’m an attention-seeker most days.

Currently at Tate Britain is a retrospective of the artist Richard Long. There is a photograph of him standing outside St. Martin’s Art School in Charing Cross Road, December 1967, about to set off on ‘Cycling Sculpture.’ Ignore the revisionist histories of ‘The Sixties’—he looks like most students still looked like in Britain in 1967,  just like his dad; not like he was processing an art object. He writes: “The knowledge of my actions, in whatever form, is the art. My art is the essence of my experience, not a representation of it.” This has always seemed to me to be a revolutionary statement: an artist’s own experience of an action constitutes the art. Richard Long doesn’t make the front pages.


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Posted by Julie on 07/15 at 10:50 AM
Art & MediaCulture & SocietyGardening & LandscapePermalink

Friday, July 10, 2009

Divinity in Bud


The EarthScholars, invited to address wetland scientists in Cambodia, followed their noses to a stunning floral tradition of Theravada Buddhism.


image

Jasminum sambac buds

Photo:  Flickr

By James H. Wandersee and Renee M. Clary

EarthScholars™ Research Group

By pure serendipity, we were in Cambodia at the annual peak of jasmine picking season: June. With their pervasive “celestial” fragrance and milky petals, glistening and pure, jasmine buds are made into offerings to Buddha in this part of the world. About 14 million Cambodians (96.5%) are Buddhists, so there is steady demand for these modestly priced floral products.

Theravada Buddhism was abolished during the despotic Pol Pot regime, but today is Cambodia’s official religion, practiced also in Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. King Jayavarman VII introduced the faith nine centuries ago to Cambodia, where it came to replace Hinduism, a spiritual transition evident at the grand temple of Angkor Wat: here, Buddhist statues sit atop Hindu plinths.

Small Cambodian jasmine farms, with rows of plants trimmed to form bushes after about 4 years’ growth, provide families with basic income and employment. Farmers receive about $0.45 per pound of buds in June, the rainy season, when the jasmine is plentiful. During the cold season, December to February, those same bushes are less productive and the price for jasmine buds ascends to $11 per pound.  Buds are picked in the early hours of the day, well before the flowers open, and then taken to the marketplaces. (The unanimous definition of “a lazy person” in Cambodia is anyone who sleeps past sunrise!)


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Posted by Julie on 07/10 at 08:58 PM
Cut-Flower TradeReligious RitualsTravelPermalink

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Fruited Plain


Sometimes it takes a foreign visitor to open one’s eyes to the U.S.A. Allen Bush gets a heaping helping of Kansas and Nebraska flora, fruit, and pastry.


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Pie-appreciation center (a.k.a. a Kansas diner)

Photo: Allen Bush

By Allen Bush

A car trip across Kansas, forty years ago, was an unending landscape of wheat stubble and Stuckey’s Pecan Shoppes—unavoidable if you were on a beeline to Denver or San Francisco. “Linger longer in Kansas,” the worn-out state tourism slogan, didn’t apply.

When Georg Uebelhart, my friend and Jelitto Perennial Seed colleague, came over from Germany for a visit in late May 1997, we did linger. Slivers of prairie remnants in Kansas and Nebraska had a peculiar appeal—more interesting, now, than the bright lights of the big western cities. Between us, we’ve traveled the Alps to the Altai and Andes poking around for plants. (Uebelhart, a native of Switzerland, has a sharp eye and an encyclopedic knowledge of plants – essential gifts for the best plant hunters.) It would be a stretch to call this work, but rarely does botanic obsession take on Indiana Jones-style intrigue, either. Occasional landslides and truck drivers, passing on blind curves, with perilous drop-offs and raging rivers hundreds of feet below have scared the wits out of us in a few far-flung places, but these aren’t worries in Kansas or Nebraska (though you should be careful for a speeding plantsman around Clarkson, Nebraska). The back roads in these parts are so desolate that an occasional passing car is more curious than death- threatening.


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Posted by Julie on 07/03 at 06:24 PM
CookingGardening & LandscapeTravelPermalink
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