As if right out of a mashed up version of Ingmar Bergman Movies, the old cemetery in Ashfield, MA. is carpeted in wild strawberries. Many of the stones text are worn from 200 years of burnishing. Their profiles elicit an eery Poe-esque tale. On my Eastern tour, I had spent time in Western, Massachusetts, a very pretty area with rural hill towns, swimming holes, several major universities and some really great bread bakers including Hungry Ghost in Northampton and Bread Euphoria (Bay area transplants) in Williamsburg. Both are just that...a pleasant delight of baked goods that rivals any in the Bay Area.
Given that there are five major universities in the region, there is a lot of culture, including incredible collections at the College Museums. I had visited the Mead Museum at Amherst College which had a special exhibit on ceramic bowls from ancient to modern. The Mount Holyoke Museum of Art also had an impressive collection, most of the work gifted to the college from pre WWII alumni going back to the mid-1850's. The Smith College Museum had the most impressive collection which included plenty of impressionists from Monet to Degas, to 1920's Modernist and ancient Egyptian pottery. These museums were smaller than big city institutions making them handleable to peruse and really take the time to look at their collections.
Hudson New York is about two hours from New York City by train and a stop on Amtrak. The town's as old main street infrastructure has always been known for it's antique shops. It is changing now into a more hip retreat for New Yorkers escaping summer. I visited Ornamentum Gallery, a conceptual art jewelry gallery that is really a destination for collectors of very sculptural objects that look like jewelry but are not necessarily wearable. The main street has several cheese shops, wine stores and a variety of boutiques. It has matured since the last time I was in town, over a decade ago. I wandered into one of the oldest structures in town...The opera house was built in the 1850's and has seen better days. The doors were open and I wandered in to look around. It was very dramatic with beams of diffused light piercing the darknes. High ceilings and beautiful old molding were somewhat intact, and there was a space where a chandelier had hung. The Opera house has seen better days in a seemingly glorious past and yet, there is a beauty, although dilapidated, in it's current ruins.
I taught for a week at Metalwerx in Waltham, MA. a school dedicated to the art of metalsmithing and jewelry making. They have year round classes and also bring in Instructors for particular techniques. During that week I was hosted by Alchemy 925 a contemporary jewelry gallery in Belmont, MA. The gallery showcases hand-made jewelry along with textiles, ceramics and sculpture. You can find my jewelry showcased here throughout the year. The Owners Munya and Kirsty have a well-edited selection of artist made work. It was so nice to visit with them, be surrounded with the contents in their gallery and meet people who wandered in. It was a nice evening and I really appreciate their hosting this event and representing my work in the Boston area.
...and then there were the wild strawberries. In California, we have strawberries from March through November, they are great tasting, but over time become ubiquitous-we take them for granted with our long growing season. Out East, the fruits of the season are fleeting. The growing season is a blink and with each turn of the calendar some produce is phased out while others emerge. Wild strawberries are by chance. Walk in the woods, carefully focus and if you see one, then you start to see many. In the cemetery, the strawberries were also a ground covering...natural volunteers, tiny bursts of intense fruit--like nothing else.