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Posts Tagged ‘rhode island’

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Thinking of a line from Edna St. Vincent Millay: “O world, I cannot hold thee close enough!”

We’ve had some beautiful days lately, some wild, stormy ones, and some that were so hot and humid, I just sat around like a bump on a log. In fact, I was so hot I was ready to post one of the March snowstorm photos to cool us all off, but I’d promised Deb to pick a day in August.

I took most of the pictures myself, but I’m going to start off with two that Suzanne took in Bohuslän on Sweden’s west coast. The place looks to me like the skin of the earth, like the hide of an elephant. Note the children climbing in the giant hole left by a rock in the last Ice Age.

The bunny photo was taken in Massachusetts. He’s pretending that he doesn’t see me. Simple Pleasures is a charming little shop in Providence.

Next are three photos from the farmers market. This market has a couple wonderful farmstands and a lot of stands selling crafts or baked goods. The little boy was watching two folk musicians who perform using a washtub. They come every summer and play for tips. The boy looked to me like he wanted to be invited to join in.

The other photos are from morning walks and include lotus buds and wildflowers like Bouncing Bet and Ragged Sailor.

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John took the photo of my eldest grandson and the fish as well as the picture of my eldest granddaughter investigating the seaweed. The large-mouthed bass popped right out on the first cast early one morning, but the lucky fish got thrown back. My husband and I were also lucky, having that family visiting us last week and Suzanne’s family the week before. Suzanne’s children, like their cousins, were absolute fish in the ocean, but are pictured on land, climbing a tree.

The painting on the rock was not created for me, but I had to take a picture anyway.

Now look carefully at the photo of the fence and some weeds. What do you see far away?

The boats are docked in an active Rhode Island fishing port, Point Judith. The nautical weathervane is in Providence, as is the field of sunflowers planted to rehabilitate soil that was ruined when Interstate 195 ran above it. See my post from 2016, here. Where the highway used to be, a research center and a pedestrian bridge to span the river are coming along well and are likely to be finished in 2019.

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This is not a fox. Or as René Magritte might say, “Ceci n’est pas un renard.”

I crept up on it slowly, slowly near the North Bridge, wondering why it stayed so still. Didn’t it see me?

So much for my eyesight: It was a statue. But I did see a real fox crossing a road Friday. (I knew it must be a fox because it trotted like a cartoon fox and had a long, bushy tail.) I have also seen a fawn with its mother and a little weasel recently.

Alas, I wasn’t fast enough with the camera for any of those. I can give you mental pictures only — the deer ambling in a leisurely way, the fox trotting, and the weasel a high-speed blur.

My other photos are mostly accounts of spring in New England, although I couldn’t resist shooting the funny bar inside an actual bank vault. It was located in a Harvard Square restaurant called the Hourly Oyster.

Next you have a view of the Buttrick House garden in Minuteman National Park, an evening shot of our dogwood, a morning shot of a neighbor’s lupines (they do remind me of visiting Sweden’s west coast last year), roses, clematis, honeysuckle, and topiary.

The last two photos are from Rhode Island — early morning at an old house and yellow iris near where Suzanne’s family lives.

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Photo: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Detail showing Abraham Lincoln’s signature in an autograph quilt created by a seventeen-year-old Rhode Island girl in 1856.

To boldly go where no one has gone before (Star Trek)

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

I like to think of myself as occasionally creative, but when I read a story like this one about a 19th century Rhode Island girl, I’m humbled. See how she took a traditional idea and expanded on it.

According to Public Domain Review, “In 1856, a seventeen-year-old girl from Rhode Island embarked on a unique and brilliant quiltmaking project.

“The girl’s name was Adeline Harris and her project was to make a quilt incorporating hundreds of celebrity autographs. While signature quilts were nothing new, the contributions were typically sourced from within a small community, such as a church, and functioned to commemorate a single event, such as a birth or marriage.

“Adeline, however, had bigger ideas, her community as the notable figures of her day, her event the phenomenon of nineteenth-century celebrity. …

“She sent a small diamond of white silk in the post with an explanation of her project and a request that they send it back to her signed. The returned and now autographed fragments were then worked into the quilt as the ‘top’ planes in a wonderful trompe l’oeil tumbling block design.

“The response she got to her unusual request was nothing short of phenomenal — she ended up incorporating 360 signed pieces in total, including those from such luminaries as Jacob Grimm, Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Abraham Lincoln (one of eight American presidents represented). …

“One of the people Adeline contacted in 1864 was Sarah Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, who, as well as providing her signature, also promptly wrote up ‘the very beautiful idea’ in her magazine. Hale explains how it is not only the signed pieces which tell a story:

Each autograph is written, with common black ink, on a diamond shaped piece of white silk (placed over a diagram of white paper and basted at the edges), each piece the centre of a group of colored diamonds, formed in many instances, from ‘storied’ fragments of dresses which were worn in the olden days of our country. For instance, there are pieces of a pink satin dress which flaunted at one of President Washington’s dinner parties …

“As for the process, conservator Elena Philips explains that, after examining the seams along the quilt top, it can be seen that ‘first she stitched the individual diamonds into blocks, then connected the blocks into columns, and finally seamed the columns together across the entire width. In total, she cut and stitched 1,840 individual silk pieces to create the quilt … [and used] more than one hundred and fifty different silk fabrics.’

“This is just one example from the Metropolitan Museum’s superb collection of 151 American quilts and coverlets, more about which you can read in curator Amelia Peck’s American Quilts and Coverlets in The Metropolitan Museum of Art (2009).”

More at Public Domain Review.

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Photo: John Ydstie/NPR
Apprentice industrial clerk Henrik Tillmann assembles a valve for a commercial aircraft galley kitchen at Hebmuller Aerospace near Dusseldorf, Germany.

The old-time way of learning a trade — by working as a low-fee apprentice for a few years — never completely died out and remains the reason Germany is a manufacturing powerhouse.

In the second of three reports at National Public Radio (NPR), John Ydstie explains.

“Manufacturing accounts for nearly a quarter of Germany’s economy. In the U.S., it’s about half that. A key element of that success is Germany’s apprenticeship training program.

“Every year, about half a million young Germans enter the workforce through these programs. They provide a steady stream of highly qualified industrial workers that helps Germany maintain a reputation for producing top-quality products.

“Henrik Tillmann is among the current crop of young apprentices. The 19-year-old is training at Hebmuller Aerospace to be an industrial clerk, which qualifies him to do a variety of jobs from materials purchasing to marketing. Each week he spends three-and-a-half days at the company’s production center, and a day and a half at a government-funded school. Before he can become a clerk, though, Tillmann must first learn how to build the valves Hebmuller sells to aerospace companies.

“He will be a better clerk, says his boss, Axel Hebmuller, because he’ll know the valves inside out when he describes them for customers. …

“Hebmuller says only 3 of the 16 people who work for his company went to university. …

“Felix Rauner, a professor at the University of Bremen, says … the U.S. approach to vocational education has been ineffective partly because it’s often not directly connected to specific jobs at real companies.

“Also, says Rauner, U.S. society has stigmatized vocational education, so most American parents see college as the only path to status and a good career for their children. Rauner says there’s a troubling trend in that direction in Germany, too. But, in Germany there’s still lots of prestige attached when someone, trained through apprenticeship, achieves master status.”

In the US, entrepreneur and philanthropist Gerald Chertavian had to pretty much reinvent the wheel for his nonprofit Year Up, building partnerships with companies to give his organization’s young adults serious internships. The internships are not quite apprenticeships but they lead to real skills and real jobs. Year Up’s expansion around the nation is proof of the pudding.

I’m also familiar with a genuine US apprenticeship effort in Rhode Island. Led by Andrew Cortés, founder of Building Futures and Apprenticeship Rhode Island, it produces the skilled construction workers that employers look for.

For more on Germany’s approach, click here.

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Under gray skies or sunny skies, I never tire of the beauty of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Most of the photos are mine, but three were courtesy of Bo Zhao, Suzanne, and my husband.

We start off with the boathouse that is near the Old Manse and the famed North Bridge in Concord. You can see that the grasses at Minuteman National Park are changing into autumn attire.

On a morning walk, I saw a happy little snake where the bike path meets Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I think it was a garter snake.

The Kindness Garden was on Blackstone Boulevard in Providence. The last time I walked by, I saw that people had taken whatever they needed of kind words, and there were only a couple left.

The picture of the sidewalk poem in Cambridge was taken by Bo. I wrote about that initiative here.

The photo of the beautiful message on New Shoreham’s Painted Rock was taken by Suzanne. And my husband snapped the funny Help Wanted sign at Summer Shack. I sent it to my cabaret-artist pal Lynn, who wrote back

Another [clam] openin’
Another show
My hand is bleeding
Please stanch the flow
The tips are fine
But my nails don’t grow
Another openin’ of
Another show

The purple flower is called Blazing Star, and it’s native to New Shoreham.

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People I know are feeling wistful now that kids are heading back to school and the most beautiful days of the year have a strong hint of autumn in them.

But it’s still summer, and we should enjoy it (while also sending good vibes and more tangible support to hurricane victims in Texas).

The first of today’s photos is a Narrowleaf Evening Primrose. It took quite a Google search to find the name of this wildflower/weed. It usually blooms in our area toward the end of summer.

Again this year I tried to capture the progress of the exotic lotus blooms in a neighbor’s pond, but for some reason the full flowers I saw just hung their heads in a dispirited way, and I never got a good shot of the final glory.

I have been in both Rhode Island and Massachusetts as usual. I got to the Public Garden in downtown Boston, as you can see from the photo of Mrs. Mallard and the kids — and the shot of the swan boats at rest.

Other than that, lots of tempting shadows indoors and out. And a new fish-identification sign in Galilee promoting fish from Rhode Island fishermen.

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