Tag Archives: Webster’s Column

Art in Winter

December 11th, 2017 | 18 Comments »

I woke yesterday to a fine dusting of snow, and during the day more snow fell. Today it outlines the branches of the big oak tree by our boathouse and the old crabapple trees by the drive, emphasizing the contrast between rough bark and soft fluffy white.

 

The shape of the crabapple tree becomes dramatic when outlined with snow.
The shape of the crabapple trees becomes dramatic when outlined with snow.

 

The forecast calls for more snow to come, and as confirmation, the sky is grey. But once the snow stops and the barometer rises, the sky will be a clear, bright blue that cheers the spirits.

 

A typical winter scene: bright blue skies and a coating of frost.
This scene from a few years ago isn’t particularly unusual. But it is particularly gorgeous to my eyes.

 

For those who live in warmer climes, the thought of snow and ice and temperatures that routinely drop to -30C must be daunting. But for those of us accustomed to winter, it is full of glories, just waiting to be seen. Some are ephemeral …

 

A simple clump of grass becomes a work of beauty when outlined by snow and sunlight.
A simple clump of grass becomes a work of beauty when outlined by snow and sunlight.

 

… others longer lasting.

 

Old farm equipment acquires allure in the snow.
Old farm equipment acquires new allure in the snow.

 

At Glen Villa, my garden in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, sculptures and installations that I’ve created reflect the history of the land. These art works have a special appeal in winter. When the sun shines, the steel bands of Trees Rings cast shadows on the snow, mirroring the tree’s internal rings on the ground as they do in the air.

 

Tree Rings is a sculpture I made to commemorate the life of a venerable maple tree.
Tree Rings is a sculpture I made to commemorate the life of a venerable maple tree.

 

On frosty mornings, the barbed wire encircling these inverted branches acquires a beauty that denies its  hurtful reality.

 

The barbed wire that traps
The inverted tree branches form one part of an installation called Abenaki Walking. It honours the original inhabitants of this area of Quebec.

 

Webster’s Column, the sculpture I made to celebrate my husband’s 50-year career as a journalist, appears black and white in the distance, missing only the touch of red that would turn it into the newspaper riddle popular when I was a child.

 

Webster's Column celebrates my husband's career as a journalist.
Glass panels protect the newspapers that fill Webster’s Column. Do you remember the riddle?

 

Colours make a stronger statement in winter than they do in other seasons, when so many other colours compete.  A yellow tree trunk advises caution, think about your choice.

 

Frost has a double meaning here.
Frost has a double meaning here, where paths split.

 

A gleaming red apple warns you to resist temptation.

 

Snow outlines the Grass Snake in winter.
Snow outlines the Grass Snake in winter. And believe it or not, Eden — or something close to it — does exist in wintery worlds.

 

Even blacks and whites gain strength.

 

Winter's black and white accentuates the starkness of Ghost Walk, the final section of Abenaki Walking.
Winter’s black and white accentuates the starkness of Ghost Walk, the final section of Abenaki Walking.

 

At Orin’s Sugarbush, silver leaves chime gently, announcing the holiday season.

 

leaves (1 of 1)

 

And by the front door, a tree awaiting its silver star provides the seasonal touch of green. Iced, of course.

 

This little spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack. Some years I put up this tree, other years a wreath. The tree takes less work.
This little spruce tree is attached to the chimney stack. Some years I put up this tree, other years a wreath. The tree takes less work.

 

Here’s hoping that your holiday season is filled with colour and joy, and your garden with winter’s art.

 

A wreathe for the holidays.
A wreath for the holidays.

 

A Colour-full Summer

August 28th, 2017 | 10 Comments »
Even while summer is coming to an end, the garden continues to make me happy. I'm really pleased with the gravel garden.  Early in the summer we adjusted the slate border; now it steps rather than slopes down, giving a firmer definition to the edge. While the yucca didn't bloom this year, it did produce dense clumps that should bloom next year. The sedum 'Dazzleberry' is growing well and the small islands of sandwort (Arenaria verna) that I added offer good colour contrast.   [caption id="attachment_5567" align="aligncenter" width="705"] Although it doesn't show

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Glass, Metal and Shadows

November 24th, 2014 | 2 Comments »
Water and mirrors are probably the most common reflecting surfaces in a garden but glass, which shares many characteristics with them, is another source with additional possibilities. Unlike mirrors, glass is both reflective and transparent. Webster's Column, a glass and stainless steel sculpture I made to commemorate my husband's long career in journalism, both reflects the surrounding trees and gives a glimpse of the newspapers stacked inside. [caption id="attachment_1462" align="aligncenter" width="683"] Webster's Column, 2010, by Patterson Webster[/caption]   Frequently, the image given back by glass is distorted or broken into segments, whether

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Memorials, Memory Posts and Columns: Commemorating the Past at Glen Villa

May 7th, 2013 | 2 Comments »
What makes a good memorial? This question continues to occupy my mind, and not only because of the memorials I saw recently in Washington, D.C. and wrote about here.   For more than two years I’ve been thinking about a creating a memorial to my mother who died in 2010 at the age of 97, after a full and estimable life.   Already in the woods at Glen Villa now are memorials to other family members. I call these memorials memory posts, and for me they commemorate the lives of people who were

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