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  • Flora in Winter 2006

    Garden Club and Floral Designers in the Galleries

    (Click on thumbnails for larger view)

    First Floor

    Saint Francis Receiving the Stigmata, Spanish, Elaine A. Parisi, Lexington Field and Garden Club
    As a student of Christian art, and without benefit of any history of this beautiful work of art, I turned to the life of St. Francis to conceptualize the sculptor's vision. In August 1224, Francis in semi-retirement, moved from Grecchio to LaVerna, high in the mountains, north of Arezzo where he lived in a simple cell. “It was there while in prayerful ecstasy that he received the stigmata, or marks of the wounds of Christ's passion on his hands, feet and side, which bled at times and were painful. This is the first recorded case of a phenomenon that became more common as devotion to the physical sufferings of Christ increased in popularity.” D. Knowles & D. Obolensky, The Christian Centuries.

    The Story of Potiphar's Wife, English, Robin D. Whitney, Worcester Garden Club
    I was attracted to this beautiful jewel-toned medieval panel depicting a not-so-beautiful story about Potiphar's wife from Genesis 39 because I have worked in stained glass. I admire the artistry and detail. Though having been made for an English manor, the Egyptian characters are portrayed with stark white skin! Interpreting the scene in flowers seemed an intriguing challenge.

    Feet from Statue of Asklepios, Antioch, Ulrike Lies and Arlene Sjosten, Worcester Garden Club
    Imagine having an opportunity to design a Roman sandal! This challenge presented itself with these feet. Color and shape are our expression of haute couture in the second century.

    Navagraha (Nine Planets), Central India, Minal Akkad, Framingham Garden Club
    In Hindu religion and mythology, the nine planets occupy an important role. The planet deities collectively are referred to as the navagraha , “nava” means nine and “graha” means planet. Navagraha have a significant impact on the lives of an individual and therefore a Hindu worships these planets as deities since it is believed that they bring peace and harmony in their life and avert mishaps. Being a Hindu, I visited some temples in India in July '05. Amongst them was a Navagraha temple in Nerul, Mumbai. This inspired me to do this ancient sculpture.

    Haniwa of Female Shaman (Miko), Japanese, Betty Call, Stow Garden Club
    When interpreting a work of art, I look for something significant that I can incorporate into a floral design. With this funeral figure, the direction of the sash worn provided a strong rhythmic line that would inspire the design. Researching the timeline of the Kofun period and learning about the tombs and burial mounds helped me to appreciate further the use of this Hanawa Female Shaman which were many times placed on the grass on top of the tombs. I can visualize her guarding my own garden and providing healing thoughts to me where my spirits reside.

    Seated Buddha with Attending Bodhisattva, Shenxi Province, Chinese, Sally E. Jablonski, Independent
    Color is what inspired me the most in my choice of artwork. I wanted to recreate its visual impact with tone, size and lines. As the complexion of the Seated Buddha has faded, I desired to bring its colors to life with the beauty and diversity of tropical flowers.

    Oil Flask (Lekythos): Two Women Carrying Offerings to the Dead, Attributed to the Achilles Painter, Greek, Bobbie Pavlic, Independent
    The elegance and simplicity of this vessel immediately drew me in. When I learned that it was a symbol of mourning, it made me think of the timelessness of grief, and the beauty that is inspired by sadness.

    Second Floor

    Petit Intérieur a la Table de Marbre Ronde, Palmiér et Personnage, Henri Matisse, French, Harriet Pattison/Carol Anderson, Sherborn Garden Club
    I was inspired by the feeling of relaxation in this warm, sunny room.

    Claudine Houdon, Jean-Antoine Houdon, French, Lois Frampton, The Garden Club of Harvard
    This captivating cherub greets you with her shy smile as you enter the gallery. The flower arrangement is designed to provide what the white marble cannot: the delicate color in her cheeks.

    Covered Cup, Paul Storr, British, Thelma H. Shoneman, Acton Garden Club
    I selected the Covered Cup because of my fascination with symbolism of fruits, flowers and foliages in all forms of art. This magnificent gilded-silver piece from the Victorian Era seemed filled with symbolic expression. By creating an arrangement of predominantly silver-green foliages, flowers with romantic symbolism and garlands intertwining, I hope to capture the feeling of the silversmith's message from Godmother to Godchild.

    A Village Scene in Winter with a Frozen River, Aert van der Neer, Dutch, Beverly McClure, Independent
    In interpreting this wonderful work by Van der Neer, I hope to convey the mood of his subjects, many in pairs, seemingly exchanging pleasantries on a cold, but enjoyable winter's day. Like the artist, I have included in my floral design strong verticals and long diagonals. Using botanicals in a very limited color palette and modest, simple materials, I hope to communicate how, although humble and frozen, this village is very much alive.

    View of the IJ on a Stormy Day, Jacob van Ruisdael, Dutch, Kathryn Costello, Fox Hill Garden Club
    The painting has a very dark foreboding atmosphere, yet the bright white sail seems to express hope. I like the challenge of translating the storminess to a flora medium.

    The Virgin with the Christ Child Welcoming the Cross, Maarten de Vos, Flemish, Cathy Walsh, Independent
    A modern interpretation of classic Renaissance geometry and color.

    Landscape with Saint Anthony, Flemish, Debbie Bottomley, Angle Tree Garden Club
    I was inspired to choose this piece because of its size. I felt that it would be an interesting challenge to create a small design in a museum setting.

    Lizzie B. Dewey (Mrs. Francis Henshaw Dewey II), John Singer Sargent, American, Susan B. Dewey, Worcester Garden Club
    Lizzie Bliss Dewey, my husband's great-grandmother, was a very independent, resourceful woman. For this arrangement, I chose bold, colorful flowers to capture Lizzie's flair and her dramatic dark beauty. An interesting aside: family lore has it that Lizzie was not happy with the painting, believing it made her look too strong!

    Third Floor

    Mrs. Perez Morton, Gilbert Stuart, American, Ann Hanscom/Virginia Deselms, Blackstone Valley Gardeners
    The complex expression of sorrow and thoughtfulness on Sarah Morton's face, as well as the body language contrast between the pentimento arms around her torso, and the still unfinished depiction of arms uplifted, were immediately alluring. Gilbert Stuart, whose more familiar portraits are clinically detailed and unrevealing of the persona within, displays here an unabashed involvement beyond the customary portraiture of the time. Research into Mrs. Morton's personal history uncovers a story of a Loyalist turned Patriot; a poet whose work championed the Native American, questioned slavery, and philosophized over issues of family commitment, betrayal and forgiveness, longevity and death. We hope our interpretive design addresses Sarah Morton's expressed polarity—is she veiled or unveiling, inviting intimacy or rebuffing it, mournful or joyous?

    Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his Daughter, Edith, George Peter Alexander Healy, American, Joan Moreschi, Shrewsbury Garden Club
    The first time I saw this painting, I knew I wanted to design an arrangement that would capture the look and feelings of the people and the room they were in. My aim is to bring to life the warmth that radiates between father and daughter and the quiet bliss of the library.

    Repose, Harry Siddons Mowbray, American, Kathy Michie, Worcester Garden Club
    My flower arrangement hopes to capture the same mood and movement as this painting with feminine, eastern feel. Mowbray had a fascination with the orient like many westerners during the 1880s-James McNeil Whistler and John LaFarge were among them, while Edwards Lane was translating “The Arabian Nights”. Mark Twain had named it the Gilded Age. It was a time of opulence. Mowbray's series of oriental genre paintings with their horizontal format are calming, evocative scenes from the time of Aladdin.

    Dark Release, Joan Snyder, American, Kae Collins, Independent
    Joan Snyder's “Dark Release” brings to mind the rich and vibrant colors of the dream world. I welcome the opportunity to work within this deep, jewel-toned palette, without the rigid structures of traditional forms.

    The Wonders of Radio, Norman Rockwell, American, Ken Bositis, Independent
    I selected this piece to honor the donors of this painting, Pene and Sherburne Rockwell, with gratitude for their generosity to society and for sharing a prized personal possession for others to enjoy for generations to come.

    Fourth Floor

    Portrait of Gaylord, Beauford Delaney, American, Mary Fletcher, Worcester Garden Club
    The intensity of this painting tugged at me. Delaney's use of color to infuse a quality of light is intriguing and is a challenge to interpret. The appeal for me is the energy I feel from this ‘active’ portrait.

    Urn with Human Figure, Mexico, Kim Cutler, Worcester Garden Club
    This Zapotec Urn found in a tomb most likely represents a man dressed as a god for a sacred ceremony. The arrangement plays off the strong cylindrical form of the urn, its color and the warm colors associated with central Mexico, and the formality associated with sacred ceremony. The flowers become the celebratory headdress while the cool foliage becomes the jungle vessel.