I made the red, white and blue spinnakers for a friend with a shop with a French theme. I got them back when Lulu went into temporary hibernation. These are not colors that I am normally drawn to, but what fun to trot them out for the Fourth of July and Bastille Day.
We will be going to my ex-husband and his wife’s condo on the river for BBQ and fireworks. Din (son) will be there, and Nancy (son’s wife)’s dad, who just moved to Portland…yet a new twist to the malleable family we enjoy. When I first met the “in-laws”, lo these many years ago, they were all staunch Republicans (understandably, in the age of Tom McCall, et.al.) and talk of politics was off the table if we were to get along at all. Over the years, and especially the last seven +, they have come around. Tonight, it will be safe to mention that I have high hopes, this Independence Day, for a new direction for our country.
Budding© was the first pictorial banner I made. Next to Spinnaker© it has been the most popular. One client bought one of these and then wanted three more to go with it and a series was born.
I decided to carry over some of the colors from banner to banner, and stick with the abstracted floral imagery. This one, I call FloraFly©.
Upsy Daisy© introduces yellow to the mix. I think I will also offer it with pink replacing the yellow. What do you think?
If you got here through my home page, you have already seen Pistil©, but I will include it here just in case.
When I started making banners, I did so with the intent of getting as far away as possible from the bunny and duckie genre of garden banners. The early pieces were very geometrical, with the exception of the occasional wavy edge. The sewing techniques I developed early on have been adapted here, and play a role in how the images evolve. As a gardening nut, I had a great time dreaming up flowers suggested by nature, but never found there.
So…what happens when you open your garden (for the first time, mind you) and nobody shows up?
I can hardly blame the Hardy Planters, as the day was bleak. Early in the week, we were promised a day of at least partial sunshine. The day dawned, we flipped on the TV to catch the weather guy, and were served up visions of wind, rain, hail, lightning and thunder…all of which duly put in appearances. To be honest, I appreciated the chance for a “dry run” (so to speak) to test out signage, banner placement, etc.
I had expected the cherry trees to be in full blossom, but they were running late. The only plant life really putting on a show was the Clematis armandii, a batch of daffodils, and Euphorbia wulfenii. What came off really well was the way banners can spark things up when Mother Nature refuses to cooperate.
The garden will be open one day of each month through October, so there will be plenty more opportunities for it to strut its stuff. The schedule, as listed in the HPSO Open Gardens book, is as follows: May 4, June 7, July 13, Aug 10 and Sept 7, all from 11am to 5pm, and June 9 from 4 to 9pm. If you would like directions, or to make an appointment for some other time, please call: 503 248 9670.
The Linnton Condominiums had flag poles across the roof line, left over from the days when it was a schoolhouse. When Ellie bought two Spinnakers from me to put in her front planter, she feared that the condo association would ask her to remove them for the sake of consistency. Instead, they decided to utilize the abandoned flag poles to express themselves in some way. There are pirate flags, Canadian flags…you name it. Ellie and Brad decided to commission me to design theirs. The fine old building looks out over the river toward the sunrise, and I know Ellie is fond of Color with a capital C, so I took that as my theme. Here it is, caught in motion, and below is a shot I took of it tacked up on my deck to show the full design.
I sent a banner to my cousin Shirley for Christmas. She writes, “During these stark days in the garden it’s so fun to see the bright colors and the gentle movement where everything else is dormant. Soon all the bulbs I have planted will begin to brighten the landscape. The additional high colors of the banner will be a focal point among my daffodils and primroses.”
So many folks think of the banners as strictly summertime indulgences, but it is the dark days of winter when I enjoy them the most.
An evergreen clematis is threatening to engulf the front deck. It must be a cousin to the triffid. When spring comes and it explodes with fragrant white blossoms, it is a sight to behold. Now I have found another reason to forgive its aggressive campaign to take over ever more territory. I glanced up while doing KP duty: a slight breeze was stirring the leaves, the light was just right, and I snapped this shot. Wish it was a video clip, so you could experience the kinetic effect. Sorry, but my web skills have yet to reach that level of sophistication. I think you can extrapolate, though, and appreciate my delight at having nature interacting with one of my pennants in such a delightful way.
Walking down the street in McMinnville about dinner time, what should I see but one of my Spinnakers! It was marking the entrance to a shop on Main Street. I remember selling it at Carlton’s Walk in the Park in August of ’06. As we passed by, the shopkeeper came out to take it in for the night. My companion remarked “What a great banner!” Couldn’t have planned it better if I’d hired an ad agency.
A couple came into the studio the other day talking about “feather flags”. They were planning their wedding to take place at the beach, and wanted to know if I would consider renting them some feather flags for the affair. They were young, and charming, and starting out on a shoestring. I wanted to help them out, and have always thought my banners would be great for weddings (remember the final scene in The Forty-Year-Old Virgin?). But, alas, I had no “feather flags”. Turns out they were referring to what I call Spinnakers, and yes, I can see how one could look at them and think “feathers”.
It isn’t the first time someone has suggested renting a suite of banners, but I haven’t quite figured out how that might work. We parted, all agreeing to think on it. I got zero response to a mailing targeting party planners, so I guess I would have to do it myself. The logistics seem daunting, but I am certainly open to the concept. Any ideas?
When I first started making the pot flags, I regarded them as an impulse buy, to lure in potential buyers with a lower-priced item. I bought one of the new sun-friendly coleus to put in a big pot on the porch. It was a lovely acid-green, with subtle shades of orange around the margins. Each day, I would stick a few pot flags around the peremiter of the pot, to show how flags can substitute for flowers when blossoms are in short supply. As the summer progressed, the coleus grew more luscious by the day, but eventually became top-heavy and wanted to flop. The utilitarian role of the pot flags became apparent: they would prop up the sagging coleus in addition to their showier duties.
I didn’t realize, when taking the above picture, that it was the perfect moment. See how the lavender-blue triangles on the banner pick up exactly the color of the ceanothus in the foreground? The splash of white from the iris on the left balances the frame holding the banner. Wish I could say this was all perfectly planned. I didn’t even fully realize what I had, and rashly trashed the original shot once I had shrunk it to the size you see here. Now I am wishing I had saved it, because the whole scene has changed and I can’t retrace my steps.
I keep learning this lesson the hard way: keep that camera handy and do not let the special moments go unrecorded. Even the next day, the light will be different, the flower will have passed its peak, the shot will be lost. It lives on in memory, of course…and perhaps gains in glory by having escaped capture.