Thursday, May 14, 2009

My Marmadoo*, the Award Winning Crafter

Strictly speaking, this is not my craft. Strictly speaking, it's also not really a craft at all. This is my mother's entry in the Bluffview Garden Club Flower Show. I wanted to share it with everyone out there because I think she did a great job -- the judges did too, she got second place in her division. My Aunt Jan won first place in their division.
I felt compelled to share this with you for a few reasons. First of all, I have a very soft spot in my heart for all things Bluffview Garden Club. It's the Dallas neighborhood where I grew up and I had plenty of fun as a child participating in the assorted Bluffview activities -- the Fourth of July parade (where we got to decorate our bikes with red, white and blue streamers and balloons) and the kid's contest portion of the Flower Show. As a note, at the patriotic parade, most people brought their dogs on leashes with red, white and blue. We had a pet parrot and I insisted that we decorate his cage, put him in the old Radio Flyer and drag him through the parade route. One of the many reasons why Ricky, the Amazon parrot, hated me. And the flower show kid's contest... how I loved to do my flower show entries. I always won first place. When I was about 12 years old, I realized that all the kids won first place. Then all my ribbons didn't seem to mean so much anymore.

My mother, however, doesn't always fare as well since the ladies aren't handed blue ribbons quite so easily. For her, taking home the red ribbon is a big accomplishment. And I helped... I didn't have anything to do with the floral arranging, but I did help her with the mandatory (and absolutely ridiculous) artist statement and arrangement title. The theme of the show was "In an English Country Garden" and my mom thought that her location (on an end table) had some subtle colonial/oriental themes to it. She wanted to run with the idea of the British Empire and India as a territory of Britain. The judges insisted that each arrangement come with a 20-word description of the motivations and emotions behind the the arrangement. My mom turned to her copy editor daughter (me) and I drafted a little something, something for her to use. The judges liked it! Yay.

Here's what it said (the more than 20 word version):

In the shades of Rudyard Kipling…Imagine the juxtaposition – on one hand is the orderly English garden, the temperate green hills of Britain’s countryside. Lowly cows, ivy crawling over ancient brick and thatched cottages. And the Empire that expanded to the Far East and India, with the rich fragrances of exotic spices. The ornate and mesmerizing patterns of Indian art and architecture. This flower arrangement, with its delicate small flowers, seeks to marry the two cultures – casual, easy living in the English countryside with not-so-distant memories of a lifestyle gone by, time spent in exotic, hot India, where tigers and adventure dwell in a lush, crowded tropical landscape.

In spouting off such total drivel, I am reminded that I did minor in art history. And that's what it's all about.

* We're a family of robust nick-name givers. All those that are near and dear to Henrys have many a nickname. This is a new concoction for "mom" that is derived from the title that Louisa May Alcott's Little Women use for their mother "Marmie" and me being silly. I thought it fit the fact that the arrangement is from India, as one of my favorite Indian restaurant dishes is chicken vindaloo.

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