Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Resilience

The garden has awakened. Shyly at first, like sleepy children, the crocuses appeared. Soon they were joined by graceful white snowdrops and miniature irises in their passionate blues and purples. Now there are clumps of bells-of-Holland and star-flowers. Jaunty daffodils flutter in the breeze. By mid-week we will have fragrant hyacinths in a rainbow of colors.

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The Year's First Daffodils
One of my teen-aged garden helpers once observed how wonderful it was that the garden starts subtly and close to the ground in spring, grows taller and showier to culminate in the giant sunflowers of late summer, then begins to recede toward the earth again in autumn. Our garden both begins and ends with crocuses. Before they disappear below ground for another year, the leafless autumn crocuses warn us that winter is on its way and we must get busy to prepare for it.

Our plants must be resilient. They emerge to face a prolonged drought, extremes of temperature, drying winds, and other problems presented by high altitude. We are close to 6,500 feet above sea level here. Thunderstorms, even thunder-snows, are common. Frosts and freezes strike at inopportune times. I'm afraid the century-old apricot tree that overhangs our back fence has already lost its crop to recent bitterly cold nights.

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People, too, must be resilient. I'm proud to say that resilience is a characteristic of our group of artisans. None of us are young. We range from middle-aged to nearly eighty years of age. Recent years have not been kind. About half of us have faced the adjustment to retirement from long careers. A couple of us have been widowed. Others have faced serious illnesses or injuries, or are caretakers for ones who have done so. Economic woes have cost jobs, lost savings, and relationships.

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Still, we are a hardy, resilient group. One of the things that has supported us through hardships is the love we have for, and the pride we take in, the work of our hands. We work in wood, paint, natural stone, yarns, ceramics, glass, and fabrics. We believe that there is strength in numbers; that by using the various skills and talents of our members and by sharing ideas, materials, and expenses we will all profit more than we would individually. We want to advertise that there are people like us making beautiful and useful art and craft creations at prices competitive with those of mass-produced, machine-made ones. We subscribe to both the mottoes: “Buy American” and “Work Locally, Sell Globally”.

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Of course we want to sell our wares, but our philosophy extends beyond marketing. We want to emphasize the role Nature plays in inspiring us and to foster the use of natural materials wherever possible in our work. We support recycling, both as a lifestyle choice and as an integral part of the creative process. We prefer to concentrate on handmade, one-of-a-kind items. We are not interested in mass production or in making cheap, throwaway goods. Indeed, we hope that some of our creations may be handed down as heirlooms. We want Annake's Garden to provide a framework that frees our artisans to concentrate on original creations. We are very serious about keeping this a collaborative effort.

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Personally, I feel that our most important tenet is our desire to promote and preserve art forms, methods, and techniques, especially those which, sadly, appear to be disappearing. We are not young. We would like to inspire, instruct, and assist younger people to take up the pursuits which we must ultimately leave behind. We do not want these endeavors to fade away. They are a part of our legacy.
Annake

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Resilient Crocus

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