Monday, March 12, 2018

Growing Violets

As a child I spent many hours with each of my grandmothers. They were both avid gardeners and they each also had houseplants that they tended and took pride in. My paternal grandmother's indoor green thumb pride showed itself heartily during the winter months when her extraordinarily huge Christmas cactus bloomed each year to welcome the season. I remember hearing (but not memorizing) the schedule of banishing the plant to a darkened closet and the prescription for forcing the plant to burst forth in it's holiday attire. Those blossoms added joy and awe to the family's Christmas celebration.

My maternal grandmother's houseplant of choice was more delicate and subtle.It is the one I have found myself recently drawn to, as I find more time to care for a few green indoor friends. The delicate and easy blossoms of the African violet currently grace my dining room with their sweet cheery faces. Having in the last several years found myself returning to creating more art, exploring photography and taking up needle and thread again, these little gems have filtered their way into my creative process. Their photogenic presence makes them a welcome addition.

In exploring the use of photography, I have found flowers to be a wonderful experimental subject matter. I have learned so much while photographing blossoms in the garden and had lovely results with a basic approach. During the winter months, however, those colorful subjects disappear. Their replacements have been the abundant ongoing blossoms of the indoor African violets. They have provided vibrant photogenic subject matter though the colorless winter of our Chicago-land location. They have even become the subject matter for new embroidery ideas and projects over the winter months.

I'll soon be returning to more outdoor pursuits in growing, crafting and image making but this winter has defiantly given me the opportunity to return to and enjoy some creative activities that have often been traditionally considered a winter past time. Busy hands are a good thing and seem to bring the sunshine back sooner.

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