gooollysandra

Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

Category Archives: Nature

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesen – Spring Green, WI

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My parents and I took a mini summer vacation a couple weeks ago to Spring Green, WI to see Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Taliesen. The complex consists of his home and studio, as well as some boarding residences for students in his architecture school. We like to see as many FLW houses as we can because my dad is an architect and teaches architecture, and my mom and I are art lovers. I also did an internship with the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust in Chicago, so it’s always interesting for all of us. After having seen many of his homes in the Chicago area, what struck me about Taliesen was the beautiful setting in the hilly Wisconsin countryside. The integration between interior living space and the natural world that surrounds it outside, which is a central design concept for FLW, is very present at Taliesen. From the courtyard-like feel in front of the entrance to the house (perhaps inspired by his trip to Italy), to the wall of windows and doors opening out to a balcony on the other side of the house, which overlooks a series of hills, the beautiful Wisconsin countryside setting is very much felt both within and outside the house.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Asian influence also makes a statement in both the home and studio, as large Japanese silk tapestries take center stage on various walls. The room I liked the most was the living room because it felt so spacious with open space in the center of the room and built-in seating/benches along the walls around the periphery of the room. Apparently FLW had dinner parties every Friday night, complete with musical entertainment (for which he designed a music stand that could accommodate three musicians). He also designated a chair for his daughter who played the harp. His affinity for his daughter is also evident in her “little apartment” upstairs, which is accessed either through a lofty space above the bedroom he shared with his wife, or by its own separate staircase off the great room. The intention behind this was that she could perform puppet shows for him and his wife anytime she wanted.

There are different tours that one can take at Taliesen and the one we took was two hours long. Very comprehensive! We had a sweet and knowledgeable tour guide, but my favorite part may have been the resident cat who followed us around for part of the tour 🙂 I leave you with some wise words to live by from good ol’ FLW himself.

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Autumn in the Berkshires

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I truly believe that Autumn in the Berkshires is the most beautiful time of the year anywhere in the world. The Berkshires hold a special place in my heart after living there for only one year, which was far too short a time. Pictures definitely don’t capture its beauty, but here are just a few to make your heart melt (or at least they make mine melt)!

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Berkshire seasons

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The Berkshires take on different auras throughout the seasons. Autumn is arguably the most spectacular season and people travel to Berkshires just to see the fall foliage, but all of the seasons are endearing in their own way. These are pictures of the four seasons in all their glory.

Autumn

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Winter

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Spring

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Summer

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A Berkshire Sunset

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I was absolutely blown away by the sunset last night here in the Berkshires. A beautiful combination of yellows, blues and pinks. Breathtaking.

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Winter

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Winter can be brutally cold. But there is something about how miserable and difficult it can be that tests our stamina and makes us stronger. I see it, in a sense, as a time of renewal, which although typically associated with springtime I think can happen during winter as well. As we trudge through the snow and sail through the wind blowing in our faces we persevere and await the much appreciated warmth that comes along with the indoors. As we look around us at the seemingly dead trees we look forward to spring and the rebirth that it brings. As we think about the animals that somehow manage to survive outside in the cold we think of how brave and strong they must be. As we think about people who have to stay outside in the cold because they have no place to take shelter we get sad and are grateful for how lucky we are to be indoors under our blankets. The wait for spring and rebirth is a long wait, and as we wait, we renew.

The peculiarity of place

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A sense of place is a strange thing. We never seem to be happy where we are because we’re thinking of another place we’d rather be, or not necessarily rather be but be as well. On the rare occasion when we’re content in the moment with where we are, we must soak it in because it doesn’t come by too often. We always think about what we could be enjoying somewhere else, and fail to realize what we could be enjoying right where we are. But I guess this applies to other things in life besides just place. We always want what we can’t have…

Aesthetics vs Feelings

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There seems to be a separation or a divide between aesthetics and feelings. I often look at pictures of things…cities, nature, landscapes, interiors, & see them one way from an aesthetic standpoint and admire them. But then, when I think about how they might feel if surrounded by them, I wonder if I would have a different feeling…

Bare skin

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What is it about bare skin that makes it so irresistible? This occurred to me recently since the weather is getting warmer and women (and men) are showing more skin. I, for one, wore a dress yesterday, and not to sound narcissistic, but I kept looking at my legs, especially in the evening when the light has a certain alluring effect on things, and thinking – what is it about bare skin that is so captivating? Maybe it’s the rarity factor – that bare skin is only seen occasionally and only by a few of the person’s closest family, friends, or significant others. Maybe it is its natural quality, that bare skin is such a natural thing, yet we often cover it up because we don’t want others to see it, even though they have bare skin too. Maybe it appeals to our sensuality, and even though we may not be overtly thinking about it, we subconsciously make a connection between bare skin and sensuality or sexuality. I think those that show their bare skin feel a sense of freedom, of not having to cover themselves up, of feeling the air or sunshine against their skin and it feels good.

Greens

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I have recently been inspired to do something with plants. I got a kitten a few months ago and now, due to her, we can no longer have plants or flowers in the house because her curiosity gets away from her. So, I have been trying to think of a way to still have some kind of greenery presence in the house without harming the kitty’s health.

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There is a fabulous garden shop here in South Bend called Marigolds where I found some cute hanging quasi-terrariums. Inspired by the owner’s creations that she had on display, I thought it would be fun to create my own. So this is what I made, and it was so fun to make, I am thinking about getting another one!

The Spirit of the Cat

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Cats have  a curiosity that is unlike any other domestic animal, that I’ve had at least. In comparison to dogs, for example, cats are curious in a way that dogs just aren’t. They are not afraid and they get into everything. They are explorers, hunters, risk-takers, rascals, etc. Cats love to find the smallest space they can get into, and get into it. They like to jump onto a table full of things and sometimes display their agility and delicately walk around the pieces, and sometimes not. They like to get in your face while you’re eating, as they try to steal a nibble for themselves. They like to sleep anywhere but in their own beds. They like to drink water from anywhere but their own water dish (i.e. the toilet, the sink, the dog’s water bowl, your glass of water, etc…) They try to hide from you and get into attack position, even though you can see them as clear as day. They like to pretend windows aren’t there and attack them in hopes of catching that bird outside.

This has been my experience with cats, but I suppose, just like with everything, there are varieties of cats and not all of them are this adventurous. There certainly the fat ones that do nothing but lay around. But not mine, and I love them for it.