Explore the flowers of spring

Explore the flowers of spring

Nothing says spring as loud and pretty as a bunch of tulips. To experience the flowers in its myriad forms and colors you should go to Filoli.  

Filoli imports 100.000 tulips each year from the Netherlands. They plant them over multiple month, so you can enjoy the blooms until May.

Yellow tulip, Filoli in WoodsideIn the Sunken Garden and, of course, the Dutch Garden, tulips are featured and embedded in fields of forget-me-nots and violets.

But the showstopper tulips are planted in 4000 pots around the estate and shine their beauty up to you.  

Sometimes it feels like a tulip treasure hunt. Yellow and red tulip, Filoli in Woodside

Thanks to one volunteer for mentioning the pool area. Not only did I see the most gorgeous examples, it is also a nice quiet place to relax. 

You can always check what’s blooming on their website.

Parrot tulip, botanical art by Lois Perlman, Filoli in WoodsideCurrently there is also the 20th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition until May 20th, 2018. I enjoyed the drawings very much, and even found some of the tulips depicted.

Bouquet in the entrance hall of Filoli, WoodsideThe $20 entrance fee ensures the place will be open for the public. They have about 800 volunteers on the estate. Some of these volunteers create the flower arrangements in the house each Monday when Filoli is closed. So, if you come on Tuesdays you can admire the fresh bouquets.

The gift shop sells homemade jams and other products from the estate. The cafe has a wonderful selection of salads and sandwiches. You might also consider a stop here for coffee and dessert.

Do you also adore tulips?

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

Match some patterns at the Quilt and Textile Museum

A museum of quilts sounds, at first glance, not too exciting. In fact it sounded a bit dusty to me. But I was more than once surprised at the diversity of the items on display at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles.

Vien Le Wood, printed hair samplesThe current exhibits can be viewed until April 15th, 2018. The first exhibit opens with a short video about hair. (See, unexpected.)

In the video we see women getting patterns screen printed with dye onto their hair. Examples of printed hair are also on display.

Chuck Stolarek takes us on a mind journey, seeing astonishing objects fabricated into a time consuming medium. I particularly liked the ‘shirtains’. Shirtains by Chuck Stolarek

Paul J. Smith, a Director Emeritus of the Museum of Arts and Design in NY, is showcasing his collection for the first time. Here you see textiles from around the world. The arrangements are interesting, and you learn about cultural aspects of patterns and textiles.

Without a Net by Susan Else at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and TextilesMy favorite exhibit was Susan Else’s “Without A Net”. A colorful installation about the circus using textiles, sound and motion. The circus theme is used as a vehicle to twist your mind. An elephant on a unicycle on a rope starts off the show. A view behind the scene after dark has a tiger throwing darts at someone. The horses riding on the people in the merry-go-round are a perfect ending of the upside down.

The open studio for the two artists in residence, Michelle Wilson and Anne Beck, ‘The Rhinoceros project’ has ended March 24th and as an unfortunate coincidence, Sudan, one of the last three white rhinos has died on March 20th, 2018. I enjoyed helping stitch the art for the Rhinoceros Project and meeting Michelle.

If this all tickled your creative mind and you are up for an hands-on approach, you might find some inspiration in the gift shop.

The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday (W-F 11am – 4pm, Sat & Sun 11am – 3pm). General admission is $8, seniors and students $6.50 and children under 12 are free.

Have you been to the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles?

 

Related Article:

BBC: Northern White Rhino: Last male Sudan dies in Kenia

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-43468066

Support your local bookstore

Support your local bookstore

Bookstores are still a treat for me. There is something special about being able to browse, touch and smell the books. It’s rare that I can resist and not buy anything.

Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, store windowA bookstore with a remarkable history can be found in Menlo Park. Kepler’s Books and Magazines, founded in 1955, was the epicenter of counterculture in the ‘60s and ‘70s. For founder Roy Kepler, the exchange and flow of ideas was part of his business. A lot of students and faculty from the nearby Stanford University were patrons and appreciated the idea exchanging approach. In-store concerts from the Grateful Death to Joan Baez made the store popular. But when Kepler embraced paperbacks as an economical vehicle to bring ideas to the masses, it was genius.

 

You can still feel the progressive energy. On my recent visit I overheard an elderly woman who found a book, reading the title: “We Were Eight Years In Power – An American Tragedy. “ And asked her friend ‘Do you think they mean Reagan?’ and then realizes: “Oh, they mean Obama.” Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park

A staff person asked me if she can help me find anything. I declined ‘I’m just taking it all in’ I replied with a smile.

A few more browses down the aisle, I overheard a man dictating his findings about soccer books including all commas and question marks into his phone.

 

To compete with online stores, Kepler’s concept of a bookstore expanded and has many interesting events to offer, from speaker series to author lectures. The Kepler’s 2020 Project continues to provide an outstanding bookstore and has developed a community meeting space, with events. Let’s hope they prevail.  

 

Is there an independent bookstore near you?

 

Additional Reading:

SFGate: Kepler’s turns another page

https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Kepler-s-turns-another-page-After-50-years-the-2671216.php#photo-2144248

Washington Post: How to save an indie bookstore

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/how-to-save-an-indie-bookstore-day-1/2012/07/27/gJQAwMN0DX_blog.html?utm_term=.debf6f000da1

 

Feel the spring Japanese style

Feel the spring Japanese style

There are quite a few Japanese Gardens in the Bay Area. If you expect to see a large amount of cherry blossoms you are misdirected, as I was.

As one gardener from the San Mateo Japanese Garden told me: “Cherry trees don’t do to well in the Bay Area.” They do have a few, but it is not their main focus.

Magnolias in the Japanese Garden in San MateoJapanese Gardens are all about local plants arranged in a Japanese aesthetic, giving you tranquility. Most of them have tea rooms  and a tea ceremony may be offered, a waterfall, and a lake.

The San Mateo Japanese Tea Garden is a great place to contemplate and see what is blooming in the season. Entrance to the Japanese Garden in San Mateo

Currently there are magnolias, with their vibrant reds and pinks, in bloom. Watch for trees that have been shaped to grow a certain way, or bonsais, that have been cropped to appear miniature.

Which is your favorite Japanese Garden?

Buy machine created artwork

Buy machine created artwork

Have a unique piece of art created by a machine.

Starting instructions for the artwork forgeFor 4 quarters you can get your very own art piece. In front of City Hall at King Plaza in Palo Alto stands the Artwork Forge. Artist Toby Atticus Fraley created this machine, looking like a retro robot, that makes art.

You begin with inserting 4 quarters in slots, pushing the money into the machine and pressing two red buttons at the same time. When you walk around to the painting station the machine will determine your location and based on this, comes up with a trending artwork.

Artwork Forge painting stationNext at the painting station you can watch canvases being transported to the color ink jets. You can’t see your picture yet, but when the painting station closes you should go around the corner to the drying station. A towel is hanging there to remove paint from impatient hands. If you wait for the three steps from drying, to almost dry, to dry, you’ll be sure to have a dried picture when you take it out of the slot.

Art created by the Artwork ForgeI loved the process and the details that played with the audience. Come on, push the two red buttons at the exact same time!

Who is to say if this is art?

The question arises “What is art?” The last artist I talked to, a Chinese man living in Germany, had a plain answer: ‘Whatever sells.” For $1 each I think I got a good deal and a fun surprise.

Until April, 2018 you can watch your artwork being created on the spot at King Plaza in Palo Alto. This is part ot the Play! exhibit by the Palo Alto Arts Center. I wrote about it in Play! with art.

Have you used the Artwork Forge?