Niki in the Garden

Antonio Gaudi’s Park Güell in Barcelona (see previous posts) has inspired many, including French-American artist Niki Saint Phalle, who created her own interactive gardens of art, combining both artistic and natural elements. Several years ago I took my daughters to see a traveling exhibit of her wonderfully whimsical mosaics at the Garfield Park Conservatory in Chicago. They enjoyed exploring and interacting with the sculptures, while identifying the wide array of textures and colorful materials, including ceramics, glass, mirrors and stones.

Currently, many of the works seen in Chicago are on display in the New York public art exhibit Niki de Saint Phalle on Park Avenue.


Spring Blossoms

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of taking a stroll through the Chicago Botanic Garden. Armed with my camera, I met my daughter at the gardens to enjoy some good company, fresh air, exercise and spring blossoms. Below are a few of the beautiful flowers we found.

Suburban Gem

Yesterday, I visited the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, a  small, wonderful museum in Elmhurst, outside of Chicago. I went with other mosaic enthusiasts to explore the museum’s gem and mineral collection. Not only did we enjoy viewing the raw and faceted stones, we were captivated by the extensive jade collection and other beautiful carved stone objects.  One of the highlights of the museum is this beautiful gold and gemstone castle.

Castle Lizzadro by Willliam Tolliday (18k gold, faceted diamonds, Brazilian agate slab, amethyst, malachite, azurite, and vanadium specimens)
Carved Chinese jadeite pitcher, early 20th Century

Transparent Beauty

Yesterday afternoon, I had the opportunity to see the Jellies exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.  Sea jellies are amazing creatures that are composed of 95% water and have no brains, blood, or bones. I could have spent hours observing these beautifully mesmerizing, translucent creatures.

Because of their varied layers of transparency, shapes, and textures, these are a few of my favorite jellies: