Reading in My Backyard

This summer, after the removal of a vinyl pool and redwood deck that pretty much encompassed my backyard for the last 23 years, I’ve been able to plant flowers and vegetables.  I purchased tomato plants and bell pepper plants from the nursery, and the zucchini, sunflowers and zinnias were planted by seed.  It’s been a challenge keeping the birds, squirrels, raccoons and skunks from either eating the seeds or digging the plants up looking for grubs.  As of today, I’ve been quite successful in my quest…

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Zinnias
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Zinnia and Butterfly

I enjoy the process of regeneration beginning with the planting, stages of growth and the blooming of nature.  I try to focus on flowers that attract birds, bees and butterflies.

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Orange Bell Pepper

With all the physical work that goes along with planting and maintaining a garden, I decided to reap the benefits by reading a book surrounded by the ever-changing daily beauty of my garden.

Recently, in a knitting class at A Verb for Keeping Warm in Oakland, CA I overheard a conversation about slow fashion in comparison to cheap fashion.  A few weeks ago, I came across a blog post discussing a book written by Elizabeth L. Cline, entitled “Over-Dressed The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion.”

Overdressed
Elizabeth L. Cline

I immediately ordered the book online because I wanted to know what was going on.  So far, I’ve read the first three chapters where Cline discusses the effects of global trade agreements on the garment industry beginning in the 1990s.  In today’s world it’s chic, practical and democratic to buy cheap fashion.  Cheap fashion fashionistas post their “shopping hauls” on YouTube and have thousands of followers.  It’s a quantity versus quality culture…a garment expected to only last a couple of times through the wash becomes “disposable.”  Cline mentions, “The wastefulness encouraged by buying cheap and chasing trends is obvious, but the hidden costs are even more galling. Disposable clothing is damaging the environment, the economy, and even our souls.”

I respect Elizabeth Cline’s non-judgmental discussion on the attraction of cheap fashion and its consumer, and she even admits to owning 354 pieces of cheap fashion clothing. After publishing the book in 2012, Cline owned 90 pieces of clothing.

As I progress through the book, I’m reminded why I began to sew again.  I grew impatient with the lack of quality fabric, zippers and buttons along with shoddy garment construction used in ready to wear garments.  At the time, I became increasingly aware of the relationship between ethical fashion, and the culture of “slow fashion” (which refers to sewing your own clothes with sustainable fabrics like wool and cotton).

I look forward to the reading the remaining chapters of this interesting book, while I enjoy communing with the many bees, butterflies and hummingbirds that visit my backyard.

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Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall
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Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall
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Photo credit: Mary Lou Fall

 

Nature Expressed

Upon waking the other morning, an orange glow filtered through my bedroom blinds.  I decided to investigate and was amazed at the sky outside.

Catching The Sun Rise 2013The diagonals created by  power lines and the palm tree in silhouette, along with the horizonal color of the sunrise displayed a visual narrative defined by the co-mingling  of man-made innovation and nature.

Every Spring, I sow a variety of sunflower seeds and zinnias.  The sunflower represents so many things to me, they remind me of my father and Vincent Van Gogh.  I covet a book given to me by my daughter from the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam.  Along with their smiling faces, I grow sunflowers for the future health of our bee population.  The crop this year is exceptional!

Sunflowers 2013My garden is a sanctuary for bees, butterflies and birds.  Tucked away in a corner of my yard, I captured a hummingbird enjoying nectar.

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Yesterday, Sunday, June 23, 2013, I had an opportunity to attend a class, Nature Expressed taught by mixed-media artist, JoAnnA Pierotti. We all gathered at Chateau Grenzer, hosted by Shabby Calavera, Lexi Grenzer http://lexigrenzer.blogspot.com/Wood framed canvas, venetian plaster, clear gesso and encaustic wax mixed with fiber, vintage hardware and a recent photograph I captured of a peony applied to a 3″ x 4″ wood framed canvas surrounded by moss and persimmon branches held together with rusty wire and my imagination, creates a beautiful piece of art, which celebrates what I hold near and dear to my heart…nature.

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