Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Hating to Love, and Loving to Hate, Grandpa Ott

Hating to Love, and Loving to Hate, Grandpa Ott

See these morning glories?  The plant with the heart-shaped leaves?  Ladies and gentlemen, I did not plant those morning glory vines there where you see them.  They planted themselves.

These are Grandpa Ott morning glories, and they grow in my garden every year, even though I only planted them once.  Only once.  A decade ago.  They're among the most invasive and prolific plants there are.

But despite their invasive greed, they bring me real joy...and I guess my art quilt, Salute to Grandpa Ott, brought at least one person some joy, because it was stolen from the wall last March during a monthlong solo show  at a posh retirement community.

This is the original Salute to Grandpa Ott, which was...uh, removed without compensation from one of my solo shows.

Here he is, draped on a railing, waiting to be hung.

The retirement community compensated me for Grandpa's loss, so all is well. 
But I missed that quilt, and so this spring I set out to make another one.  Here I'm constructing new morning glory blossoms from wispy merino roving.
To represent the blossoms' elusive, light-filled shade of periwinkle and lavender, I combined several colors of merino roving,

Next I formed the roving into circular shapes, knowing that they would shrink by up to 40 percent in the felting process.

Then I added pink and magenta accents to simulate the centers and stripes of the blooms.

Once the blossoms went through the wet-felting process, which involves hot water, soap, and lots of rolling manipulation, they got beaded stamens.

These felted blossoms would grow on a sunprinted background of the actual morning glory leaves.

Here's the end result, this year's take on Salute to Grandpa Ott: Salute to Grandpa Ott II.
Salute to Grandpa Ott II, 2013

Salute to Grandpa Ott II, detail.  I'm really pleased with the degree of detail in the sunprints.
Meanwhile, back in my raised bed, the place where Grandpa first set his twining tendrils, way back when, it's now late October, and time to remove this year's invasive crop of Grandpas.  Until a couple of years ago, every spring and summer, I would uproot Grandpa's seedlings from that raise bed, every single time I saw them, which was almost every day.  They were the great-grand seeds of the original seedlings I bought from the West Hartford Farmers' Market and planted in the raised bed a decade ago.  And every year, in late summer, I always see that I missed one, because there he is, clambering out from wherever he was and exuberantly draping himself over everything around him.  Even then, I would pull him out, despite the beauty of his flower.

Now no more.  A couple of years ago, I brainstormed a safe place where these pushy plants could bustle their pods all they wanted.  One group grows along a fence, a place where little else will grow.

Another group grows in a flowerpot on my deck and drapes itself across a window frame.

Isn't he lovely?
Despite my efforts to contain this invasive vine, Grandpa Ott seedlings continue to pop up in the raised bed where I first planted them so long ago.  This year, he really got out of hand in September.  Look at him here trying to take over my Russian sage.  But isn't the color combination devastatingly beautiful?

A month later, look at how they've taken over.  I had to get those vines, loaded with seed pods, out of that space. 

Today I did the deed, and here's how that spot looks now:

And even though it's the end of October, the Grandpa Otts around the window are still putting out blossoms.

And I'm going to collect a handful of the seeds...you know, just to make sure.

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