Sunday, April 26, 2015

Walking the bluebell trail along Bull Run

I went for a walk at the beginning of the bluebell season the native flowers that are so many shades of purple to blue and even white in some rare cases growing in the flood plain where they get watered a lot this time of year. Bull run is the creek that passes under the old stone bridge in the Manassas Battlefield park where this bluebell trail begins. There are lots of different native flowering plants that poke up their heads up in these early spring weeks between freezing cold and the forest's leaves open and blocking the light that falls warming the earth below. All these native flowers are a delight and I have gone to the trail a few times this year to check on the bluebells progress.

Blue bells are the largest and most dramatic of the native flowers in the woods. They stand about a foot high and grow in clumps forming a carpet of lavender blue and fresh green on the edges of the creek in the low flood plain areas.

 The flowers are difficult to photograph as the eye sees them, the blue really jumps out  of those green areas but I haven't found a way to show that the same way we see.
 Mixed in the flowering forest floor are little spotted leaves and bright yellow flowers the Trout Lilies.
 Near by and a little earlier were the Dutchman's Breeches a cousin to the bleeding hearts so many of us love in our own gardens. Spring beauties also are abundant along the trail and are very short beside the taller flowers but native bees depend on their abundant early blooms.

On a sunny day the best places to take the wildflower photos is where shade falls from the tree's trunks so the high contrast is reduced and the colors show up. 

Tree frogs are singing to their mates all over the wooded areas along the creek's edges.
 On my hike, I met a group of three Park Rangers riding on horseback who said hello and continued down the trail towards the bridge. As it was free day they didn't ask for a pass or anything but greet me and keep on walking... 
This trail comes to a point where the creek banks are too steep to continue at the edge of Bull Run and the flora change as the trail turns up towards the wooded hill and an evergreen area. Mosses and a few ferns as well as one of my favorites the bluet a tiny blue flower with four petals that is sky blue. My photo blew out the color and made them look white. Found in the damp shadows they are so small you have to hunt for them at the trial edge not far from the mossy areas that are bright green this time of year. 

Moss sends up it's red stemmed flowers. 
tiny ferns grow in very specific areas. Here in a depression of a big tree trunk and all along the edge of a rocky cliff over the creek below. 

Wintergreen's leaves are still showing deep in the woods 

Pine trees and hemlocks are at the top of the hill and the trail edges are covered with fallen leaves in addition to the red pine needles

At the top of the hill the trail opens out to a huge field and runs along the edge for a ways where the wind has blown over many trees but reveals the flowering red bud tree seeking light it's a native that is wide spread and domesticated for home gardens as well as roadside when you drive through the country. This area gets lots of sun and wind and the old Virginia Red Cedars and scrub pines take a beating as well as bleach out to a fine silvery color when they fall. 

the panoramic view from the top of the hill on this trail of the battlefield opens to the big blue sky. 

Back to the bluebells... and if you look closely you might see the spring beauties little white flowers near by in these photos. 

Here I saw a pond that is collected rainwater 50 yards from the creek's edge in the flood plain area. Can you make out the green topped with bluebells? The National Parks are a wonderful experience when every you have time to go and enjoy a visit with nature. The bluebells are a great time to go but I can't remember ever going when I didn't enjoy visiting with the plants and creatures of the parks. I am thankful for the conservationist movement that created these amazing natural retreats from our over developed communities. 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Quilts on display

The Yo Yo coverlet completed in 2011, the full story here: Yoyo Story 
Last week I was invited to show my quilts in Mara Home a Contemporary furnishings store. The quilts and I were first discovered by Vincent my new friend, the yarn bomber who got me interested in crocheting again... and then the store owner and artist Erin Mara sealed the deal to show them in her store. They are giving my quilts an opening event this week Friday evening as announced on the web site earlier this week:

Opening: The Fine Art of Fiber - Contemporary Quilts by Frederick Nunley
Opening reception on Friday, April 10, 6:30 - 8:30pm. Meet Frederick and enjoy his spectacular creations. They are works of art for your walls or bed.  

Mara Home is an independent retailer of classic contemporary furniture and accessories and Washington DC's Gus* Modern Studio. We offer in-stock, custom, vintage and one-of-a-kind furniture plus beautiful and unique gifts and accessories. Come visit our 14th St NW shop to see the evolving collection. We are located two blocks north of the intersection of 14th and U St NW.
2213 14th St NW  *  Washington, DC 20009  *  202-232-4526  *  Hours: Tues-Sat 11am-7pm; Sunday 12-6

If you can't make the opening don't worry you are free to drop in and see the quilts and all the home furnishings during regular store hours. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

spring arrives bringing snow, flowers and an art exhibition

 It feels like ages since I wrote a blog post and well maybe it is but everything takes off in the spring time and there is that little pocket computer that draws me into a black hole of Instagram fun which circumvents the previous goal of being a blogger who is posting stories as they happen.

 My life feels so full of good stuff I feel guilty sometimes wondering when the dream is going to end. That doesn't mean there aren't stresses and worries but I like to focus on the joy and delights and marginalize the other end of the spectrum here on my blog. I also like to use this place to make a record of what has been good and beautiful in our lives here on 10th St. NE in Washington, DC. With the long winter we had and the snows and cold spells I had almost forgotten the joys of spring would be coming along. It was especially odd to have yet another snow storm on the first day of spring but we are fortunate to have warmth in the city this time of year that pushes the earliest flower right up through the cold snowy ground and reminds us that it is time for things to change. The sun comes up in a different spot than it has done in a while making the crystals in our windows cast bright dancing spectrum's around the room. It happens every time we have a sunny day but this time of year it is more directly shinning through the window and that makes it more intense. It was an inspiration for the bowl I made and donated to the Smith Healing Arts Center's annual funds raiser show of 125 artists work. I was invited by my former boss George Hemphill to submit an Alchemical Vessel for this years exhibition. I had a bit of a hard time digging up a idea for a vessel that could be made like my quilts with fabric and thread but in the end there was a great little trick with ropes, thin strips of fabric and long hours twisting, sewing and building a fabric bowl. Much like a clay coil pot only the glue wasn't clay but thread, its a technique used to make rugs too I believe. I started out with a small bowl to try one way then built a second beginning that seemed more pleasing to my eye with less exterior threads showing. Orange was the start up color and then the rainbow fell into place ring after ring...

slowly building rings in a spiral up and out to match as best I could the shape of the ceramic blank canvas most of the artists were using as their canvas I really didn't expect it to take so long. Each day it was growing slowly and the anticipation of the next rings of color helped me move forward day by day. 

In the end I added a foot and a label to the bottom and finished with a little fabric hook to hang it on the wall then whisked it off to the gallery with my statement to be photographed and installed and added to the catalog. Each bowl will bring a $150 for a ticket to the guests which they get to select according to the first come first serve ticket purchases. But you can also go see all the bowls Tuesday-Saturdays at the gallery on U.Street NW near the corner of 17th. from March 27th through May 22nd. The benefit is May 1st. for more information on getting one of these great art bowls check out the Joan Hisaok Healing Arts gallery's website. 
I went by yesterday and really enjoyed the show and began wishing I had a ticket. The glossy photo catalog will be available next week!