30 October 2009

A Day in the Garden

For various reasons, I really needed to have a good day yesterday. And as the Henry Moore exhibition and the Scarecrows in the Garden wrap up this weekend, I thought Thursday would be a good day to get myself down to Piedmont Park. So that's what I did.

I got down there about 10 AM, late enough to avoid the morning traffic. For those of you not in the Atlanta area, there is major construction in midtown where the 14th street exit used to be and will someday be again. Consequently, driving in midtown is not for the easily flustered. Half of what you knew about navigating no longer applies. And the Cuddly Hubby was away on a business trip, so the Garmin was with him. I read the maps and took the back way in on North Avenue, left turn onto Piedmont and on up to the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

The scarecrows never fail to delight. It is always worth the hassle to go into the city to see them. I know that citizens of New York and Los Angeles like to think of themselves as the most creative people in the Unites States, but between Dragon*Con and the Scarecrows in the Garden, I can show a lot of proof that Atlanta is full of clever and creative minds. There were plenty of good/bad? puns in the scarecrow names. One entry had several crow-themed dvds, such as Dra-crow-la. Another featured Julia Child making Crow-kill St. Jacques. Several schools had entries, including a large (8 foot? 10 foot?) dragon made from flattened soda pop cans. Many, many scarecrows incorporated recycled materials. One scarecrow had a wheelbarrow full of "flowers" made from plastic water bottles and aluminum cans that had been cut up with tin snips. Atlanta Knitting Guild had a scarecrow a couple years ago. I like to think that "Oz" may not be in Atlanta anymore, but he is certainly not forgotten. (Oz now "lives" at the American Textile History Museum.) Not forgotten when there are entries like Ba Ba Ba:
This scare-sheep was created by the Visitor Services Team at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The head is made from wrapped yarn. The sheep sports a knitted beret and a knitted scarf. It is surprising, too, how well the knitting holds up out of doors for a month. Several scarecrows that used papier-maché had not fared well during this abnormally wet October.

I also liked this entry for how well the robe was decorated:
My apologies to whoever entered it, as I forgot to record the name. I do recall it was one of the local schools. I very much like the play of shape on this robe, as well as the contrast in value between the more open center and the darker stripes on the sleeves. And these is something very late-Matisse-like about it. Nice use of positive and negative shapes, too.

And speaking of using positive and negative shapes, the Henry Moore sculptures were definitely worth a look as well. My favorite of the exhibition is Large Two Forms, which is displayed over by the aquatic plant pond. I didn't take a picture of it because it is far too complex for that. This is a truly three-dimensional sculpture, very different from every side and even at different distances. You would have to shoot video to even begin to get a sense of why this is a strong work of art. I think it is among the best sculptures I've ever seen, certainly among the best at fully exploiting the three-dimensional nature of sculpture.

I stayed until about 1 PM, then headed out of the city. I know better than to wait until after 3 PM, which is when the evening rush begins. (On Fridays, it begins at noon.) If you go to the garden, do be aware that the new parking deck is very convenient at a price. It cost me nearly $7 to park for about three hours. On the other hand, the Atlanta Botanical Garden continues to grow as a wonderful Atlanta amenity. I initially became a member for the orchids, which I still adore. The Japanese Garden is also a favorite of mine. But there are many other wonderful settings including a rose garden, a bog garden (carnivorous plants!), and the conservatory. Next year Atlanta Botanical Garden plans to open an edible plant garden, a cascades garden, and a canopy walk through the Storza woods. I am thinking a canopy walk in the autumn colors would be a real treat, indeed!

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