Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Winter Solstice Celebrations

Members of the public joined me in celebrating the Winter Solstice at the Gardens.

Throughout human history, the shortest day of the year has had vital significance for people from many different cultures. This has been acknowledged in various ceremonies and traditions.

At the Gardens, we staged our own little winter festival …


Following the shortest day (and longest night), we can then look forward to the blossoming of new growth in the Spring.
Wreaths are a symbol of continuity and the cycle of life, so, by making wreaths, we were celebrating the progression of the seasons.

Felicity Clarke had helped me cut flower and leaf shapes from aluminium cans, felt and Lutrador.

On 16, 17, 18, 23 and 24 June, visitors to the Gardens joined me making wreaths.

On the first weekend Jill Brose and Joanne Jayne helped me set up the tables and we started twining bamboo, ivy and creeping vines into circles.
Fortunately we had a lovely fine day, and a prominent position near the Visitors Information Kiosk.

Lots of people, both young and old, really enjoyed creating masterpieces.



After this weekend, our wreath-making Centre-of-Operations was transferred to the Richard Randall Art Studio (in conjunction with my exhibition … which was described in detail in my last post!)
This turned out to be very fortuitous because the weather all week was dreadful - very cold and raining most of the time - so being out in the open would have been disastrous!

We hung the completed wreaths in the Shaving Brush tree (near the Visitors Information Kiosk) where they remained for a few weeks, and were greatly admired by all.


I also planned another activity for visitors to the Gardens.
On the actual night of the Winter Solstice (21 June) we made decorative covers for candles.
Candles, signifying the shedding of light in the darkness (and the start of longer day-lengths) are an important symbol in many cultures.

We set up tables under the Shaving Brush Tree (Pseudobombax ellipticum) and we had fun punching shapes out of paper strips to decorate tea-light candles. They created a magical atmosphere as the sun set.

This activity was a prelude to some amazing singing by the Deep Sea Divas. This was part of “Fete de la Musique”, and apparently there were other performances throughout Brisbane (and indeed all over the world) on this night of the Winter Solstice.

Frances Blines, the hard-working team-leader of the Volunteer Guides at the Gardens (and also one of the talented Divas) had made some yummy roasted potatoes and mulled wine.
It was a shame that we didn’t have too many visitors on the night to help us eat it – but that left all the more for us!


Because the Shaving Brush Tree is deciduous, I wrapped it in a blanket to keep it warm during winter!

Old-style closely-fitting jumpers called "Hug-me-tights" are now making a fashion comeback.
This one is hand-knitted in brown rope, with the words HUG ME TIGHT crocheted in orange cotton. Words of wisdom for Tree Hugger conservationists are hand-lettered on calico and threaded through the knitted mesh.

It was so nice to see some visitors to the gardens spontaneously walking up to the tree to give it a hug!

  I originally made this tree-blanket for the Warwick Jumpers & Jazz Festival several years ago, and it’s great for it to have another public outing!

… and if you haven’t yet made an annual pilgrimage to see hundreds of trees clothed for winter in Palmerin, Grafton and Fitzroy Streets in Warwick then you are missing a treat.
The Warwick Jumpers & Jazz Festival is on this year until 29 July…. and while you’re there, check out the amazing “Taking Leaf of My Senses” exhibition at Warwick Art Gallery (10am – 4pm daily) by talented, internationally-acclaimed artist Sue Dennis.

Look out for my next 'public performance' at the Gardens ... webs will be hanging in the trees in early August ... more details soon!

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