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evening primrose

© 2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Whitest Evening Primrose and Cleland Evening Primrose photo by Larry Sanders

You know the bloom, unearthly white,
That none has seen by morning light-
The tender moon, alone, may bare
Its beauty to the secret air.
Who'd venture past its dark retreat
Must kneel, for holy things and sweet,
That blossom, mystically blown,
No man may gather for his own
Nor touch it, lest it droop and fall....
Oh, I am not like that at all! 
-- Dorothy Parker

My first evening primrose was the yellow Cleland Evening Primrose (see flower on the right).  I planted it along my fence and year after year it returned to light up my garden as dusk fell.  The flower's common name is derived from the simple fact that it blooms as light falls rather than like many flowers which follow the sun.  My father's favorite evening primrose is the Whitest Evening Primrose which he calls the Colorado Evening Primrose as it can be found throughout the state as one hikes the lower elevations of the Rockie Mountains. 

The evening primrose is native to North and South America.  It belongs to the genus Oenothera, which is Greek for "donkey catcher."  Perhaps donkeys have a fondness for the plant, I don't know, but I do know that the plant is edible and high in a variety of healthy essential fatty acids.  I use evening primrose oil to relieve skin inflammation and itchiness.  

Evening primroses make great models for beaded flowers.  Their broad petals are easy to fashion and the variety and subtlety of colors are fun to simulate.  Here's my version of a Missouri Evening Primrose.

©2010 Lindsay Obermeyer Missouri Evening Primrose photo by Larry Sanders

The Showy Evening Primrose has pink edges and transitions gradually to yellow towards the center. I used a 26 gauge red-colored copper wire at the time I made it, but I think I will give it another go with some pink Artistic Wire from Beadalon to better blend the wire with the beads.

© 2010 Lindsay Obermeyer Showy Evening Primrose photo by Larry Sanders

Photo credit goes to Larry Sanders.


fireweed, fire pink, tickseed and blanket flower

© 2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Fireweed photo by Larry Sanders

"I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright."   -- Henry David Thoreau

Here's Fireweed, also known as Epilobium angustifolium.  It's common name derives from the plant's responsive growth after fires.  Imagine a field filled with them!

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Fire pink photo by Larry Sanders

Of course, Fireweed is not to be confused by Fire Pink, which isn't pink at all but a firery red.  This deceptively simple looking flower took me several goes to get right.  The petals' tips are serrated and rather tricky to do with beads and wire.  My first few attempts were clumsy and clunky.

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Blanket flower is so named because of its resemblance to the bright the color work of Native American blankets.  I don't know from which Native American nation this reference derives, but the flower is definitely beautiful.  The plant is especially drought tolerant, so if you have a spot in your garden that is difficult to water, this is your plant.  Extra bonus - it is easy to grow from seed.

© 2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Blanket flower photo by Larry Sanders

And finally I show you my version of Tickseed,  Tall Tickseed to be exact.  It is an excellent flower for the back of your flower border.  I have some growing in a the corner of my garden where I want to block out the view of my neigbor's garage.  When I say tall, this particular variety of tickseed will reach heights of 5 feet or so.  It is also a favorite of butterflies.

©2011 Lindsay Obermeyer Tickseed photo by Lindsay Obermeyer

Photo credit of beaded flowers goes to Larry Sanders. 


road less traveled

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"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. "

-- Robert Frost

I've been absent from Serendipity these last few weeks due to a cold.  Well, actually it was more like laryngitis that turned into nasty bronchitis before seguing into a mild form of pneumonia.  After two rounds of antibiotics, bottles of cough syrup and oodles of naps, I'm finally feeling like myself. While sequestered to my bed, I could hear Mom's voice telling me to slow down.  She had been extolling such words long before she passed away.  She knew I have this tendancy to bury myself in my work.  When one loves what one does, it's difficult to take a break.  After all, work doesn't feel like work when you enjoy it.   Right?!  But when one has been sick three times in a year, it's time to listen.

It's moments like now that I wish I could ring her up to chat.  I valued her opinion and sure would love it now.  Whenever I felt a bit wobbly about career decisions she would recite Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken with extra emphasis on the last few lines (see above).  This year has been amazing.  My work has been featured in exhibits across the country and as far as London, all the while receiving numerous reviews.  I was a featured artist during Chicago Artists Month and my community work The Red Thread Project® was performed three times, involving well over 1,000 knitters and crocheters of all ages.  Truly, it's been an amazing road to travel, but racing down it at full speed has taken its toll.  

So what to do, what to do.... 

I've decided to pull back on my exhibition schedule.  There I said it!   I need time to pursue my career as a proect designer.  I fully plan to continue making and exhibiting art, but I won't take every opportunity given me.  I'll be choosy.  Fewer shows means more time to reflect upon new work and really give it polish. Less emphasis on finding, securing, shipping and installing exhibits means more time in the studio to experiment.  This experimentation will in turn fuel the work I do as a project designer for craft companies.  Being choosy means pushing my career toward solo exhibitions in smaller, regional museums.  I've missed showing in acadmenic galleries and museums and have it on my list to pursue more of these venues. I also want to show more internationally which is going to require some research.  

I put this out there because I must stay to the path I've delineated and not be sidetracked which is incredibly difficult for me to do.  These are my New Year's resolutions - to stay focused on new business plan, take more breaks, go on a vacation and spend more time with family and friends.  I also have pledged to not end up in the doctor's office again, let alone the ER! It's an apple a day for me!

The image above is of an Etsy treasury I recently curated.  Take a look.  The work is beautiful.  I especially love the chunky cable slip cover for a chair.  It makes me want to curl up with a good book which is exactly what I'm going to do right now.


Red Thread Dance of Hats Chicago - Let's Party!


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"An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place or circumstance.  The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break."  - Chinese proverb

The Red Thread Project® is a community art project I started 7.5 years ago as a double dare from curator Kaz McCue.  Little did I know that the simple dare would blossom into something so large.  The Red Thread Project® celebrates community connections, both visible and invisible, while encouraging and fostering individual creativity. The hats on display exhibited the creative efforts of hundreds of youths and adults from across Chicago (and as far as Belgium) who’ve been knitting and crocheting hats since late September.

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On December 3rd we partied!  300+ hats were attached to one very long read "thread."  We had so many hats that we didn't have enough room to lay them all out!  People of all ages and all parts of Chicago came to celebrate, showing their community spirit, and let's face it to get down and boogey. The event was at the Chicago Cultural Center as part of "What's Your Art: Celebrating the Art Centers of Chicago" presented by Chicago Public Media, Sixty Inches from Center, TimeOut Chicago and Intellegentsia.

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We had a last minute change of music with the EE Marching Band providing a fantastic  New Orleans jazz sound.  Meida McNeal and Felicia Holman got us line dancing and Sara Convery photographed the event.  Mary Lawrie rearranged her work schedule to help with all the last minute attaching and assist with the installation.  Bless you lady, the show would not have gone on without you! 

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All hats contributed will be donated to local charities including those assisting cancer patients, foster children, the elderly and the homeless.  Since its inception in 2004, over 6,000 hats have been donated to charities in Terre Haute, IN, Memphis, TN, Grand Rapids, MI, Sugar Grove, IL and St. Louis, MO.

The Red Thread Project® was a featured program of Chicago Artists Month 2011, the sixteenth annual celebration of Chicago’s vibrant community presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.

Thank you to the following organizations for hosting Red Thread Stitching Studios:

  • Borderbend Arts Collective
  • Claretian Associates / South Chicago Arts Festival
  • Kilbourn Park Organic Greenhouse
  • Knit 1
  • Loopy Yarns
  • Newberry Libary
  • North Branch Projects
  • Rogers Park Business Alliance
  • Sifu Design Studio
  • Southside Hub of Productions
  • The Art Center of Highland Park
  • The Emanuel Congregation Sewing Ladies
  • The Knitting Pub Crawl (6 Rogers Park bars)

And a special thank you to these great folks who helped make the day happen!

Andrew Altman (webmaster), Nicolette Caldwell (Sixty Inches from Center), Georgia Chilton (media organizer), Sara Convery (photographer), Penelope Dullaghan (illustrator), Felicia Holman (choreographer), Tempestt Hazel (Sixty Inches from Center), Mary Lawrie (intern), Meida McNeal (choreographer), Corinne Peterson (sculptor and knitting circle maker), Breeze Richardson (Chicago Public Media).

So what's next?  I've had offers to bring the project to more cities, but it's time for new adventures. I will soon be archiving the project which will become part of the Women and Leadership Archives at Loyola University.  If you have a photo or a story you want to be sure is added, just let me know.