Feeds:
Posts
Comments

sunlitbutterfly

At least that’s what I decided to create in GIMP after watching sunlight shine through my water glass.

DSCN9612

throughthedrinkingglass

LambTuskegeeConcept

Today I was browsing the online archives of the Library of Congress and chanced upon this 1930s drawing by Katherine Lamb Tait. Though it is not labeled as such, I realized it was an early rendition of her design for the unique stained glass windows at Tuskegee University known as The Singing Window.

The_Evening_Independent_Fri__Aug_24__1934_

About two years ago, I wrote an article describing the story behind the windows. You can read it online here in Deep South Magazine and learn how Tait collaborated with Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee, to produce what would be a visual expression of eleven spirituals.

MotonTait

Installed in 1933, the original windows would only be in place for about twenty years before a fire destroyed the chapel where they were located. But because Tait’s final design survived …

TaitDesign

… when a new chapel was built in the 1960’s, architects were able to recreate and include the new Singing Window as well.

SingingWindow1

I hope to see it in person one day. This photo of the window can be found on the Library of Congress website courtesy of photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

sunlight on the mystic

DSCN9581[1]

telling a story in color

BurneJonesandTrees

The versatility of white: Postcards, t-shirt and ornament with details from David’s Charge to Solomon, a stained glass window by Edward Burne-Jones and William Morris paired with a silk chiffon scarf featuring swaying tree branches

It has been my pleasure over the past few years to work with Donna Stenwall, Manager of Visitor Services at Trinity Church in Boston. While I think I have a pretty good grasp of color, one of the things I continually learn from Donna is how to put those colors together to create “visual eye candy” on the shelves of the shop at Trinity. Having previously worked for Laura Ashley for 35 years, she has a command not only of color but of style. The vignettes that she puts together whether based on motif or, in these examples, on color, truly captivate the eye. As she says, “There is nothing worse than having a display that is so jarring to the eye that people don’t really know where to look!”

madonnaanddove

Warm reds, pinks and gold: Boxed note cards featuring 19th century reproduction of a 15th century painting of the Madonna and Child paired with a ceramic ornament with dove motif from The Ascension stained glass window, with just a peek at the flowers from the window The Five Wise Virgins

Visit the shop at Trinity Church and you can see these colorful vignettes for yourself.

trinityblues

Cool blues: A framed watercolor print of Trinity Church at night paired with an oval glass ornament of Jesus from the window The Resurrection by John La Farge and a blue-tinted card featuring an etching of Trinity Church by Henry Blaney

trinitychurchboston.org/visit

dried flowers

DSCN9571

change happens

DSCN9544

I photographed this tree today. It stands in an adjacent property that has been purchased for development. Given the type of development taking place around me and across Boston, I don’t think the tree is part of the developer’s plan. Its roots may be strong but the tree will be cut down and those roots dug up. Change happens.

DSCN9552Near the tree there is a wild tangle of forsythia branches. For years I’ve watched the brown turn to green and then gold when it fully flowers. A bright sign of spring. I’ve always wanted to sneak onto the property, cut some branches and place them in a vase, like bringing the sunshine indoors. I think they will have the opportunity to bloom one more time before they too are dug up and tossed away. Part of the change.

DSCN9562

I think a lot about change and how change happens. I’m not happy about the changes around me. I am at times near paralyzed by the scale of idiocy and inhumanity in the world right now and especially in my own country under what should be an insignificant presidency. I’m not always sure what to do except donate money where I can, give my time when that makes more sense, and send notes of gratitude (and occasionally of protest). One of my greatest regrets during Obama’s tenure is that I never sent a note of thank you. Not because he was a perfect president but because he was (and remains) a good man, an inspirational figure for the ages. Speaking of inspirational figures … I was looking for some words and came across a sermon by Martin Luther King Jr. that seemed relevant.

Martin_Luther_King,_Jr. (1)

In a 1965 commencement address, Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution, King spoke to Oberlin graduates about the strides that had been made in this country.  “We have come a long, long way since the Negro was first brought to this nation as a slave in 1619. In the last decade we have seen significant developments – the Supreme Court’s decision outlawing segregation in the public schools, a comprehensive Civil Rights Bill in 1964, and, in a few weeks, a new voting bill to guarantee the right to vote. All of these are significant developments, but I would be dishonest with you this morning if I gave you the impression that we have come to the point where the problem is almost solved.”

“Let nobody give you the impression that the problem of racial injustice will work itself out. Let nobody give you the impression that only time will solve the problem. That is a myth, and it is a myth because time is neutral. It can be used either constructively or destructively. And I’m absolutely convinced that the people of ill will in our nation – the extreme rightists – the forces committed to negative ends – have used time much more effectively than the people of good will. It may well be that we will have to repent in this generation, not merely for the vitriolic works and violent actions of the bad people who bomb a church in Birmingham, Alabama, or shoot down a civil rights worker in Selma, but for the appalling silence and indifference of the good people who sit around and say, “Wait on time.”

Well, I do not feel I am silent, nor do I like to wait around, but I do feel a bit stalled at this moment. Stalled and appalled.  Appalled at what is taking place in this nation with regard to immigrants. Appalled, when I can stomach it, to view the websites of anti-immigration organizations and to see on their staff and boards people who look like me. And so darned appalled at the petty political games being played with “immigration deals” that leave hundreds of thousands of people in limbo. How are people expected to live with such constant anxiety in their lives? They just do. They live. And they act.

People taking action. That is the key, isn’t?

Today even as I grappled with the overwhelming amount of bad news in the headlines, I found uplift in a little video that was heartbreaking but ultimately so inspiring because it featured two people taking action, in two very different ways, and how those actions galvanized the people around them. Its worth a view when you have the time.

 

 

reaching for the sun

DSCN9511[1]

cuban oregano

Despite my pictures of the icy landscapes that form on some of the windows in this bitter cold, the sun does shine bright through those very same windows and so my plants shake loose their night time chill and seem to thrive though I have been a vary poor caretaker of late.

DSCN9534[1]

flat leaf parsley

The geranium continues to thrive and even grow new leaves though I have it sitting in the coldest room in the house but in a spot that gets the most direct sun at a certain time of day.

DSCN9522[1]

geranium

And I learned long ago that it is best to just let the nasturtium and African violet just be. Not too much water and let them find the sun in their own way.

DSCN9514[1]

nasturtium

DSCN9533[1]

african violet

And while the branches on the oak tree are winter bare, so the sun just pours in, I see an opportunity to plant some sprouts for now and to think about what else I’d like to plant in the future.

DSCN9510[1]

sprouts planted and empty vessels waiting for seeds

This Sunday it felt good to rise from my desk … and take a break from, though not hide from, the absurdity of the news today … and put hands into soil and sort through seeds and muse upon what I’d like to grow.