Thursday, August 09, 2012

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

A Lazy Day

Beautiful cool breezes blowing when we first rose this morning, -moved me after breakfast to cut the side lawn and give the bedded plants along side it a good watering.

That done nothing else really inspired me, - a lazy inspection of the flowers in the raised bed and a bit of deadheading the roses and the canterbury bells, which have now finished their second blooming.  Some musing about the weeds that have squeezed in between the raised bed and the fence which I can't reach to remove, and then I picked a small bouquet of white phlox, scarlet bergamot and yellow daisies, and went in to make coffee for mid-morning.

After which I did nothing!  Well, that's not so, - I read an essay written by Molly Peacock, -  'Passion Flowers in Winter" from the best American Essays of 2007.  And when I had read in this essay of the life of Mary Delany,  and how as a widow in the year 1771, when she was in her early seventies, she became passionate about creating what she called 'flower mosaiks' - flowers created by snipping with small embroidery scissors the most minute petals and tendrils and leaves and sepals from paper, to emulate the flowers she gathered around her, I had to go online to read about her.

Molly Peacock has written a book entitled "The Paper Garden" and excerpt from which can be found here,
in which she gives a wonderful description of the make-up of the Passion Flower.  There are also many more details of Mary Delany's life - her marriages, her place amongst the aristocracy and her friendship with Queen Charlotte and George the Third.

In addition Wikipedia has this to say about this artistic woman and the beautiful work she created.

"Her works were exceptionally detailed and botanically accurate depictions of plants.  She used tissue paper and hand colouration to produce these pieces.......from the age of 71 to 88 when her eyesight failed her.  During this time Mary made nearly 1,000 paper flowers...... which can still be seen in the Enlightenment Gallery at the British Museum".

"With the plant specimen set before her she cut minute particles of coloured paper to represent the petals, stamens, calyx, leaves, veins, stalk and other parts of the plant, and, using lighter and darker paper to form the shading, she stuck them on a black background.  By placing one piece of paper upon another she sometimes built of several layers and in a complete picture there might be hundreds of pieces to form one plant.  It is thought she first dissected each plant so that she might examine it carefully for accurate portrayal."

I found this all extremely inspiring,  and thought what a strong, admirable and sensitive woman Mary Delany must have been.  Imagine, still doing this painstaking intricate work at 88! The patience and perseverance, and the incredible imagination.

In the afternoon I had a little nap and then I followed Kim Klassen's instructions on how to create a light, painterly picture with photoshop, and sighed a bit that I had to be content with this, not having any talent for painting or creating marvelous mosaiks.....

I should at least start a pair of knitted socks, or something equally as practical and prosaic......


Riet said...

What beautiful flowers. I love them because they are so,special.

The Weaver of Grass said...

And you are telling me, after all that Hildred, that you did nothing today!?

Those flowers are so beautiful.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Your "did nothing" day makes my busy one look like nothing at all. I mean that, you put me to shame! Isn't that a lovely story about those paper flowers -- and I am sorry we didn't see them at the British Museum (a place where I wanted to live)...and could have gone back to every day, but for everything else we had to see..

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for your comment today on my post on grasses Hildred. We have a problem with coutch grass too - however hard we try we can never eradicate it. Leave a tiny speck of root in and it will grow.
Up here in North Yorkshire we call it wickens.

Barb said...

But - the impractical feeds the soul Hildred (though it won't keep our feet warm). I like your your painted photmo.