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      Text and photographs are © by Ellen Spector Platt & Ellen Zachos, all rights reserved.

      Tuesday, January 21, 2014


      For my January birthday every year, my very frugal Mother always splurged on a bunch of daffodils from a real florist. The sunny color was the perfect antidote for the short frigid days of a Philadelphia winter, and made me feel special.
      This year for $8 I bought 10 fresh tulips from my corner grocer and plunked them in a glass jar with water, inside a birch basket I've had for years. Somewhere in my many moves the basket had lost its clusters of green moss and appeared rather grim.
      My niece from Philadelphia made a quick visit after her day at the annual knitting expo in New York, surprise gift in hand: a small bag of dyed wool locks. What's a collage artist to do when confronted with the perfect substitute, when its so hard to gather moss in January in NYC?
      She gets out her glue of course and glues wool locks on the birch, where it should look fine for many more years. Thank you Ruth. You must have gotten my unconscious ESP message.

      Friday, January 10, 2014


       Mid-November, flowers on my 18th floor roof garden are fading away, and I want to capture the scene in a New York City garden collage.
      When Other Ellen sees the finished piece she asks about the view of the twin towers in lavender on the left. Straight out of my unconscious mind, totally unplanned, but now I can see nothing else.
      To start, I pick a few last blooms before Thanksgiving and bury them in the same silica sand I've used as a desiccant for 25 years. Clusters of hydrangea 'Endless Summer', marigolds I raised from seed on my windowsill, blooms and buds of the rose 'Knock Out' will be covered by an inch of the silica for about a week.

       On a piece of black foam core, cut to fit an old frame painted black, I lay out some pressed flowers and leaves, photos of plants in the garden, and papers with a lavender design.
      I want the elements to burst out of the frame and not be constrained by it. I move stuff around and try another version, with the image of 'New Dawn' roses at the top of the frame and some cut hydrangea pics at the bottom left.
      I add photos crumpled with glue for a 3D effect, then start looking for berries in the garden.
      Clusters of dark blue Virginia creeper berries, rose hips, and red Choke cherries will dry in the arid air of my apartment.
      Below, a detail showing dried rose hips, choke cherries and marigold  petals.


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