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Scrappy Art

My father was a machinist. For many years he worked for my grandfather, Algot Larson who invented the Unique window balance, a device that replaced the ropes and pulleys that were used at the time to open and shut windows.

My father’s avocation was astronomy. He was a member of the Amateur Astronomer’s Association. He often attended meetings at the Hayden Planetarium in New York City where he learned to make his own telescope grinding the lens himself.  I remember him melting lead on the kitchen stove to make the counter weight for the telescope which he named Cyclops after the one eyed monster that Odysseus outsmarted.

You may ask what my father’s telescope has to do with these flowers. They were made by one of his friends on the factory floor who took the metal scraps from his work to make this fanciful sheaf of grass and flowers.  The connection between my father and his friend is the creative impulse that we all share. They did not tamp down that impulse but gave it room to grow and share.

My father told all of us stories of the creatures that populated the sky, the Big Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and he held star gazing parties for my classmates.  My father’s friend gave away his charming creations.

In this detail you can see more clearly the origin of his scrappy materials.

These flowers do not resemble the real flowers in my garden, but we gardeners also share a creative impulse to cultivate beauty and utility in our flower and edible gardens, an impulse we share with those who want to learn how we do it, and with those who appreciate their beauty and flavor.

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