Saturday, November 24, 2007

Finding Cheer

For those of us who tend to slide into gloom from December through March or April, the local situation doesn’t help much. Uncertainty and disarray in the school district, a certain clumsiness two years into the city administration and the everyday tension arising from gun violence across the East End and West End tend to make life feel more dicey than usual to the glum among us.

The antidote is finding little rays of sunshine wherever one can. I rely in part on the porch with 10 windows that is in my portion of this former one-family mansion, now sliced-and-diced into six apartments. Out there, I can fuss with my fall cuttings and coddle them until spring arrives. A few shelves of greenery go a long way to dispel the feeling that the seasons are not turning fast enough.

Another cheery thought for this weekend is that author J.M. Benjamin of Plainfield is scheduled to be the subject of a New York Times interview and video tomorrow. He used his time in prison to develop his writing skills and is now selling his books instead of drugs. I wrote two Courier News articles about his personal success as an urban fiction author as well as the growing interest in the genre itself. He told me the articles have engendered interest from other media, for which he is grateful

Me too.

And while ordering some double amaryllis for relatives, I was entranced by this White Flower Farm description of the Amaryllis “Aphrodite”: “Named for the Greek goddess of love and beauty, these fully double blooms with lightly ruffled edges are demure but magnetic. The snow-white petals with pink brushmarks and darker pink tips will draw you irresistibly closer.”

I added one for myself to the order and expect to spend many hours of anticipation and enjoyment in the next couple of months from this plant.

Winter is always a good time for a creative project. In sorting some fabric, I came across an iridescent blue-black scrap from a reverse-applique design I made several years ago. Reverse appliqué means cutting through layers of fabric to reveal the colors below, as opposed to putting a motif on top of a background fabric. It is precise work, as anyone who has seen a mola can attest. My project had been a vest that had the symbols for weather elements on the back in reverse appliqué. The changing shades of the iridescent fabric added to the symbology. I wore it to the “Weather” show of the old Tweed Art Gallery, back in the day when Plainfield had three art galleries downtown.

Grow something, make something, help somebody. And before you know it, spring will arrive.

--Bernice Paglia


Anonymous Maria said...

Ah, Bernice! "Weather in Art" at TWEED GALLERY—those were the days! That was a great show...and artists and appreciators had so much fun at the monthly openings! I hope the vest still fits you!


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