I am having a hard time cutting my perennials back this year, because many of them are still showing blossoms! We've already had a couple of hard freezes, but they aren't letting go, so I'm leaving them be.
Frances Palmer's Pottery Sale at her Connecticut studio--a beautiful, roomy reconstructed barn. Outside the barn is her garden, which she fills every spring with dahlias of all shapes and sizes. She hasn't put her garden down yet either--but she has a better excuse: she was throwing dozens of pots for her sale.
I took a bit of time out from admiring her wares on sale upstairs to pay my respects to dahlias gone by.
Many of their frowzy heads were hanging limply over their hoops, too exhausted to go on another day.
The colors that are left in a winter garden are at first quite intense, as though in drying they give up the last burst of hue. They get flattened by the weight of frost, but even their prostration is appealing. I am so glad I was able to catch a last glimpse of this garden.
And back inside the potting studio...
...there was the same kind of end-of-an-affair chaos.
Frances often uses appliqued flowers as decorative elements on her pottery; the flowers are made in molds of the flowers out of her own garden just outside.
And the detritus of pots--what is taken away to reveal the shape, the curls of wet clay caught in the bottom of a bowl, the plastic wrap that keeps the clay moist.
The process is part of the romance of any artist's work. Making a dish or a vase by hand is arduous, and to a large degree uncontrollable. Things blow up in the kiln, the glazes can sour, shapes slump or collapse--though these accidents sometimes account for happy discoveries. Still, the hand made is quintessentially a process of slow love. And when you buy the work of an artisan, you are investing not only in a piece of art, but in a promise that the slow way will never disappear.