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The Botanical Glass Models of the Blaschkas

Posted on: Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, NY is currently featuring the handcrafted work of glassmakers Leopold Blaschka (1822-1895) and his son Rudolf (1857-1939) in a phenomenal exhibit entitled Botanical Wonders: The Story of the Harvard Glass Flowers. The Blaschkas were dazzling magicians in the way that they turned molten glass into organic specimens of otherworldly scientific accuracy.

The Curatorial Associate and Administrator of The Ware Collection of Glass Flowers at Harvard, Susan Rossi-Wilcox, will discuss the story behind Rudolf Blaschka's field collection expeditions and examine his beautiful reference drawings featured in the new book, Drawing Upon Nature: Studies for the Blaschkas' Glass Models (co-written with David Whitehouse, director of the Corning Museum of Glass). The discussion and book signing is at 2:00 PM this Sunday, June 3, at The Harvard Museum of Natural History in Cambridge, MA.

(I took the above images in 2005 while visiting The Ware Collection at Harvard's Museum of Natural History.)

Prehistoric Fish Found in Central Park

Posted on: Thursday, May 24, 2007

A week or so ago my Iranian artist friend, Dr. Ahmad Nadalian, visited New York City and several other US cities on an official invite for a sponsored exhibition that he was having in Washington, D.C. I met him on a bright, sunny morning in the northern woods of Central Park where he was carving several of his 'prehistoric' river art fishes. Dr. Nadalian has a long tradition of submerging his carved rocks in rivers and bodies of water where they might forever add to the spirit and environmental protection of the place. The artist also views the fish symbol as being emblematic of the human soul.

Amazingly, before tossing one of his carved rocks into a pool below a rushing waterfall, a local turtle made an appearance adjacent to the rock that was soon to be submerged. A sign perhaps that the native species of an urban park approve of this new addition to their habitat?

For more information on Dr. Nadalian's river art projects visit his website.

Pollination Series

Posted on: Friday, May 18, 2007

A new fiber forms series exploring how the temporary addition of color and texture in an environmental setting might cross-pollinate and hybridize our ideas about sensitivity to and connection with nature.

'Pollination 05' and 'Pollination 01' (2007), Abigail Doan.

Connectivity and Crafting Residency

Posted on: Monday, May 14, 2007 is a wonderful online journal and dedicated network of artists, architects, designers, and ecologists working in and for the landscape. They are currently featuring my article, Returning to and from THE LAND: Connectivity and Crafting Residency, a follow up to my September 2006 artist residency in rural New Mexico.

Design for the Other 90%

Posted on: Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Cooper Hewitt Museum has currently transformed their grounds into a mini-village of sorts showcasing innovative designs geared towards improving the lives of "the other 90%" of the world's population. It is a bit odd to view quick-to-assemble water pumps, readymade housing, and communal solar cookers in a lush, walled garden on Manhattan's affluent Upper East Side. But then again, we do live in a city of haves and have-nots and homeless individuals.

One is struck by how simple some of the proposed solutions really are, and how necessity is indeed the mother of invention. What unites many of the objects and devices with their designers and users is their potential to allow for change or improved conditions in communities that typically subsist by minimal means but with an ad-hoc sense of design and total lack of waste. This exhibit really suggests that 'shelter' is no longer strictly a structure providing protection from the elements, but rather a well-conceived design that creates community and greater ease in a world that is unaccustomed to taking the path of shared, global subsistence.

Contemporary Photography and the Garden: Deceits and Fantasies

Posted on: Friday, May 04, 2007

The Hudson River Museum in Yonkers is featuring its hauntingly exquisite exhibit on the garden and its full range of dark and light qualities - for only one more week, that is, through Sunday, May 13th. The photography exhibited is entangling and engaging, though the poetically mysterious images beg one to ask whether gardens create a dynamic and tension that is visually alluring but also dangerously seductive.

One comes away from the exhibit questioning the roots and the vegetal framework of civilization. Click on the image above for a more detailed synopsis by the museum's curator.

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