Thursday, August 25, 2011

the power of begonias

Today after I finished setting up my booth for the American Craft Exposition I took a stroll outside in Evanston. What a lovely town it is--wide streets, a feeling of openness, such promise of prairies and sky. The sun pouring down on me. What lovely plantings on the street I thought--such care to add color on the sidewalk. Then I looked again.

These were wax begonias. A flower I confess I have always found hard to take seriously. Not splashy like a tuber begonia. Not powerful like goldenrod or daisies. No--just seemingly ordinary wax begonias in classic pink.  But here they looked just perfect, don't you agree?

Square after square of pinkness against the soft grey of the locust trees became a pattern. A dance between the froth of the pink and the grey locust trees. What a daring combination.

Then I started to look some more. In the central square there were impatience--another flower that I just don't grow.  Yes, I am a bit of a flower snob I guess. But here the simple color in seemingly random fashion filled the space with an unexpected lushness.

The planters overflowed with sweet potato and some dark vine I did not know. Again so rich in texture and fullness. There was something so complete here.

What does this tell me about design and the power of repetition? Why did this look so right and perfect?

I confess I don't know the answers yet. But there is something so human in the repetition and the detail. The feeling of texture. The richness of the life they show. And there is also something so wonderfully simple in the ordinariness of the flowers. Maybe these plantings remind me of quilts--I don't know. Something so simple in their humbleness that when knit together sours with a color and emotion. Or am I reading too much into them? Should I just enjoy their beauty for beauty? Does it even have to be explained?

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