Odile Gova: I am mostly self taught, although I have made attempts at Art college and various workshops over the past 25 years. I am deeply passionate and committed to my art forms. I’m a stay at home mother, how lucky am I ??!! I pour concrete garden art in the Spring and early Summer . The rest of the year is devoted to knitting, crochet, sewing, embroidery and felting. My felt is made from reclaimed wool sweaters that I find at thrift stores and the like.
“Oh, Mom! What are those?”
I love it when my children get excited about things that can be grown so when my five year-old’s eyes lit up and the chatter started last week as I pulled a packet of Luffa Gourd seeds from the envelope Seven Acre Woods had lovingly tucked them in I couldn’t resist engaging her. The conversation that resulted was even more pleasing than what had spurred it because if there’s anything I love seeing my children excited about more than things that grow it’s how (and where) those things are grown. And that’s exactly where her interest turned.
“Can I grow one of those in my garden? Oh and Mom, don’t let Dad use that loud thing on mine okay? I just want a shovel and a rake.”
‘That Loud Thing’ is the rototiller and while her current interest is a bit misplaced — the decibel level of the machinery used to till land on which food is grown is of little environmental and social concern, after all — her interest in the production of food at all is encouraging; and timely.
For some the Farmer’s Markets either never ceased or have already made their grand re-opening for the 2010 growing season and even for those in colder geographies the season of local production is just around the corner — or so I keep telling myself as I stare out the window at a barren white expanse.
As we step foot back in the Farmer’s Markets this year we may know, at least for the most part, where the goods we find there were grown but do we really know how? USDA organic certification can be costly and for some small producers and those that are trying to keep consumer costs at a bare minimum in order to make healthy, local fare available to all income levels, certification can be downright out of reach — but that doesn’t mean their goods aren’t grown organically. It just means they can’t bare a USDA seal.
Without getting to know your growers; without asking how their products are grown you’ll never know if the goods you choose each Saturday and Sunday morning are meaningfully produced in the manner most important to you. As you venture back out to shop your local farmer’s market this season remember, knowing how is just as important as knowing where.
Aleta Wynn Yarrow: I am drawn to transitions in the landscape: passing clouds, twilight, autumn and spring. It is during transition that we are most vulnerable, and in our vulnerable hour our blessings are the most precious.
Landscape as a metaphor for emotional experience is the uniting thread in Aleta Wynn Yarrow’s work. Night represents intuition, mystery and enchantment. Autumn reminds us that what is beautiful does not always last. The story of Spring is that renewal sometimes happens swiftly. Yarrow’s work exists in the shadow land between technique and vision; emotion and intellect; the physical realm and the emotional one.
There is not much better than that first warm day that signals Spring, especially after a really long and snowy winter. We get days like these, here in the NorthEast, in early March, but officially Spring begins on March 21st. Spring catches me off guard every year. It seems to come out of nowhere. All of a sudden you realize that it’s 6:00pm and the sun is just setting. Or you’re waking up and the sun has already risen—it’s 6:30 am and doesn’t look like 3 in the morning. There is a slower progression in the Fall, it seems, but Spring always seems to come out of nowhere. Sunshine wall art from J Bell Design.
Along with longer, sunnier days, another indicator of Spring are the birds. You hear them chirping away, and see them filling the trees. After a chirp-free winter, the sound always sounds so happy. Like it’s a big, loud, happy family reunion—one where everyone is talking at once. (Robin’s eggs are from The Broken House)
Flowers are a big part of Spring, adding splashes of color to what has been a pretty dreary landscape. Although we don’t actually see flowers growing till April, there are signs of life everywhere. You’ll see new Spring wreaths adding color, like this one from Itz Fitz.
Another sure indicator of Spring is shedding of winter down coats, scarves, hats, and gloves. Besides cutting time-out-the-door in half, it allows us to wear new outfits and new accessories, like this fun necklace from Flora Bond.
Every March 21st, the first day of Spring, I send a quick e-mail or card, to my friend Debbie, who is an absolute Spring fanatic. I’m a firm believer that the first day of a new season should be marked with something a little bit special, or at least acknowledge. After all, it’s a whole new season—new weather, new clothes, new activities—all great reasons to celebrate. Happy Spring!