My friend Amy and I enjoyed a trip to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids on November 22. It was an unseasonably warm day and we enjoyed both indoor and outdoor attractions.
As part of Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World, Meijer has Christmas trees decorated in the themes of over 40 countries.
Swedish-inspired Christmas tree. I have some wonderful Swedish straw garlands and a lovely wood star tree topper. They're unfortunately not useful since I started using my Norfolk Island pines as my Christmas trees.
German-inspired Christmas tree.
Dutch tree, close up. I love the blue and white Delft ornaments.
The Victorian Christmas tree, protected in a glass case. I love these ornaments and have a few really old clip birds myself.
Finnish tree, close up. Jaana (my long-time friend in Lappeenranta), do you have any decorations like these on your tree?
Danish tree, close up. Because my mom is from Hamburg in northern Germany, not far from Denmark, I grew up with Danish furniture and Danish Christmas tree decorations, both of which I still love.
I don't want to give the impression that trees were only from Western Europe, those are just ones I have a special connection with. There were also trees decorated in Asian, African, Australian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Eastern European themes.
We also enjoyed the conservatories and other indoor displays.
I love pitcher plants! I've seen them in bogs outside, and it's nice seeing them close up in the conservatory.
A purple freckled orchid.
I love the model railway! Choo choo!
Stunning lady's slippers.
I love Yucca close up. The leaves are curled up before they open, and the edges imprint themselves on the opened leaf.
Noogie! That's all that needs to be said about this cutie.
I love the textures of the barrel cactus.
Well, it's no secret I love Chihuly's glass art. It took me a little while to warm up to Guilded Champagne Gardens Chandelier because I'm used to more vibrant colors in his work. But the gold and clear glass really worked in this light-filled nook and I really appreciated the color variations, which emerged once you looked at it for a while.
The volunteer in the library tipped us off to Lena's Garden in the cafe, which was installed in May. This is a wonderfully large installation in a riot of color. Many Persians and sea forms were installed on the ceiling.
The colors slowly change from red-oranges to yellows, greens, blues, and purples. My public speaking experience has made me unafraid to pardon me, excuse me, stand between tables where people are enjoying a respite and take photos in a hundred different angles!
You already know how much I love Chihuly, so I'll just let you look at the photos.
It was also a wonderful day for a walk outside.
Because it was so unseasonably warm, it wasn't hard to leave the glass house.
I've always loved Clematis seed poofs, and these are a wonderful example. (Note the holiday lights int he background. The garden probably looks great at night during the holidays!)
A sweet little bronze mouse in the children's garden contemplates life, the universe, everything.
A swamp on the way to Michigan's Farm Garden.
Jim Eppler, Raven III and Raven V. Maybe Raven IV flew away. (Caw! I guess it was alive!)
We also enjoyed all the sculptures in the Sculpture Park.
Elisabeth Frink, Mirage I and Mirage II, with Keith Haring, Julia, in the background. I find the former both intriguing and disconcerting. I like the latter full-stop.
Alexander Liberman, Aria. I was fascinated by how multifaceted this sculpture is, depending on the angle and distance from which you view it. At first I thought it was red (and a Calder), but it's orange.
I looked at it from all angles, close-up...
... and from a distance, surrounded by late fall colors. It always looks nice. I love this piece!
Henry Moore, Bronze Form. I love the fall feel in the colors and textures of this view. Because I became familiar with the work of Barbara Hepworth before that of Henry Moore, I always think Moore sculptures are Hepworth sculptures, and I think most people have the opposite reaction. Incidentally, we somehow managed to miss the Hepworth at Meijer!
Jaume Plensa, I, You, She or He... I feel like a number... Oh, wait, those are letters! There were several similar pieces in this grouping. I really like the concept.
I like this broad view, with Jonathan Borofsky's Male/Female to the left.
Andy Goldsworthy, Grand Rapids Arch. I love the sandstone and the shape of this arch. It uses no mortar and is held together only by physics.
I like to walk all around sculptures and appreciate all views.
Nina Akamu, The American Horse. Not my particular cup of tea, but I appreciate the artistry and immensity of this piece. And the wreath is a nice, seasonal touch.
Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen, Plantoir. You would think this would be my favorite sculpture at Meijer Gardens, and it very nearly is. I've also been lucky to see a similar sculpture by Oldenburg, Trowel (it's blue), at the Kröller-Müller Museum in The Netherlands.
George Rickey, Four Open Squares Horizontal Gyratory — Tapered. I love how this piece fit into its surroundings. I bet it's stunning in other seasons, too.
Bernar Venet, Two Indeterminate Lines. A very fun piece, temptingly interactive.
Louise Nevelson, Atmosphere and Environment XI. I thought this fit really well into the scene.
Alexander Calder, Two Discs. It kind of looks like a two-headed, kneeding cat to me. (That's a good thing. :)
If you're still with me, good! I have a special prize waiting for the person who can a) guess what my favorite sculpture at Meijer is (not counting Chihuly, as that would be too easy) and b) identify where the crow quote comes from. If more than one person gets the correct answers, I'll do a drawing. Have fun!
Also check out Our Little Acre's entry about her visit to Meijer Gardens in June.
Special thanks to Amy Sawade of Meijer Gardens for IDs and verification assistance!