Sunday, March 29, 2009

Diamonds in the Rough

OK, so after I had spent four hours viewing those amazing embroideries in very low light, I walked out in the sunshine and headed toward Central Park to meet up with Jim and Jack. It felt like the first warm day in New York in some time and the park was teeming with people who were getting outside in the sunshine.

One of the exquisite things about Central Park is it's contrast to it's city surroundings. It's a green space, sure, in the midst of a huge city but it's also got a lot of topography -- lakes and ponds and lots of different elevations because of the rocks that run throughout it.

The rocks are striking. And when the green of Spring has not yet arrived, you notice the rock a lot more. You may not realize this but the rock within Central Park was home to a significant glacier that began to dye about 18,000 years ago.

This glacier carved much of the city and surrounding Long Island, even parts of New Jersey. You can still see evidence of glacial features that are unmodified all over the rocks in Central Park. If my rambling about how cool this is is even the least bit interesting to you, then you must read The Very Cold Case of the Glacier from September 2005 in the New York Times.

It made me wonder how difficult it would be to embroider a rock. In fact, my Japanese embroidery teacher once embroidered a rock with a japanese pine tree by the moon. It was exquisite but imagine how hard it is to get the texture and the play of light and dark.

Anyway, as I was walking along there were lots of interesting things to discover but the overall color of the park was kind of brownish gray.

Which reminded me of the embroideries I had just been seeing. From a glance, the embroideries appeared brown and gray and dull.

Until you get up close. This piece really was interesting because it was the only piece in the exhibit stitched in wool using the tent stitch. But there were little bits of silk satin stitch used throughout the piece which shimmered in the low light and gave the piece brilliance.

I took the liberty of adding the sparkle so you could understand the effect.

I felt the same way about Central Park. Largely, a brownish gray canvas. Until you got up close.

And the signs of Spring were everywhere...even on the rocks.

And did you notice the turtles sunning themselves on the rock in the foreground of the lake picture?

Jim said that they weren't sunning themselves but that it was a turtle orgy. I think the Spring air was affecting him too. *wink

Tomorrow, I'll tell you about the sweet ending to our beautiful day.


Carol said...

What a wonderful post. The sad thing about the park is its about the only place to be near nature. I can't imagine living without a woods to walk through.

You certainly have a wonderful power of observation. My husband has it. I wish I did. I need to slow down.

Carol said...

I had to come back again to mention how educational this trip was for your son. We took our Grandsons to Mammoth Cave and they just sucked up all the information they could about the caves and how rivers form.

Thanks for the link to the New York Times. It was so interesting. Sad that newspapers are closing.

karenfae said...

I have only been to Central Park once and I know we did not see near enough of it. Maybe one day we can go again - I hope so.

Judy S. said...

Great photos, Susan. The last time we were in NYC it was mid-March and there was snow on the ground! Did you happen to see the statue of Balto? Jack might enjoy that story if he doesn't already know it.

Marty52 said...

Beautiful post, Susan... and the bits of glitter really bring the embroidery to life!

Robin said...

This post and the previous one together are over-the-top-fabulous! I don't even know where to begin with this comment... probably the most thought-provoking thing about them is the comparison of the park and the embroideries, both seeming drab, yet both containing light and sparkle in key places. Your helibore picture makes me drool, as do the little white lillies (or whatever the sweet beauties are).... And then, there are rocks. No, I don't think it would be possible to embroider a rock, because hard is a necessary qualifing characteristic of rocks and embroidery is soft... OK... well, thread embroidery is... but we could do it with beads! Thanks for enriching my life today! Robin A.

Debra said...

Totally love the picture of the turtles getting it on in broad daylight!

Lisa said...

You've really brought Central Park to life for me! Love your pictures of the flowers, especially the hellebores! So beautiful!

Allison Ann Aller said...

I feel like I was there with you!
So many wonders...but silly me, I love the sparkle you added to the embroidery the best, esp with that fine little smile on the lady's face....

Wanda said...

Wonderful pictures, thoughts and observances. It's the observing part that is so important for me...I try to see beautiful things in everything.

jessi said...

What great photos! I'm going to NYC for the third (or is it fourth?) time this summer, and reading about your trip makes me even more excited. :)

Anonymous said...

--"It made me wonder how difficult it would be to embroider a rock."-- When I read to this I thought literally stitching a rock with pine tree essence and moonlight... I thought you were wondering how hard it is to do what the glacier or fossil did, embroidered a rock. Not for long I get what you really mean and my original grasp was a good fantasy.

The post is beautiful and the park is both relaxing and refreshing.

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