Sketch of the Week

Last weekend I went to the annual flower show in Essex Junction to escape the winter doldrums for a while. A colorful fantasy land of flowers and fragrances awaited within the Champlain Valley Exposition Center:

As always, I had my trusty sketchbook with me, and paused periodically during my botanical meanderings to draw some of the flowers.

Some tulips, as well as spinach leaves and radishes, if I remember rightly.
I thought that the magnolias were especially attractive and sculptural.

Usually I'm not this precise when I'm sketching, but my regular ballpoint pen was being temperamental, so I had to switch to my more meticulous micronpen. When that started to go, I resorted to pencil.

Recently I've been reading a lot about recycled jewelry, so I'm thinking about taking these sketches and working them into a necklace design. What do you think?


  1. I really like the idea of you making the magnolias into some form of jewelry. There's something about their lack of perfect symmetry. They're one of the things I miss about living further south- the complex materiality of their leaves, flowers, and pods.
    What materials were you thinking of using?

    1. It's funny how our varying experiences and memories can result in different associations. Magnolias remind me of London because Kensington Gardens keeps several of them in their ornamental gardens, and I used to go walking there frequently when I studied abroad.

      I'm glad to hear you're as excited about the idea as I am. Material wise I'm looking for something with sculptural qualities because magnolias do have that wonderful three-dimensional character to them (indeed, clay is an obvious choice). One option I've been considering is papier mache, since my apartment is already replete with magazines, newspapers, botched prints, etc. I'll get a better idea of what I have lying around when I do my annual spring cleaning. Do any materials leap out at you?

  2. I'm not sure the scale you'd be working on, but I think clay would be difficult, because a clay magnolia blossom would be extremely fragile, with so many edges, crinkles, and narrows. Something fairly flexible and thin, like paper, might work better. I can see papier mache around a thin metal armature, ultimately stiffened with some sort of medium. Plus, clay wouldn't be nearly as recycled (unless it were reclaim clay, and that would have poor characteristics for modeling).
    On that score, I was wondering if you had been to the exhibit at Frog Hollow? They have a bunch of recycled art, some of it wearable. It is work by high schoolers, but some of it is quite good. A woman I worked with last summer at the pop-up studio in Winooski, Anne Cummings, who's a local art teacher, works in that arena- repurposed materials for artistic ends.

    1. All good points. I was leaning toward the papier mache/armature myself already, but it's good to hear about clay from someone who knows far more about it than I do. Thanks for your input.

      I did stop by Frog Hollow the other week, partly to see the new layout (it's certainly different now). Definitely some good ideas behind some of the pieces, and perfect timing with the High Trash show at the Fleming.


Post a Comment

Questions? Comments? Speak your mind here.