When my parents celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary their friends put some money together to buy them a Heritage Waterford Crystal bowl. For the next twenty years that bowl took center stage in my mother’s dining room, where she hosted frequent elegant gatherings. After her death it was consigned to a life of darkness and quiet solitude in my dining room cupboard.
We lived very different lives, my mother and I. Nannette was beautiful and stylish, formal and proper, cool and crisp, sharp edges and bold colors. My style has always run toward faded blue jeans and hiking boots. Dinner party tableware in my house goes in the dishwasher or the recycle bin.
But the other day I took that bowl out of the cupboard, not for dinner party elegance, but as a frame for the botanical world takes center stage for my art. I wondered how side- and under-lighting through the cut crystal edges would affect a still life in that bowl. As I worked, carefully arranging graceful organic forms in this crystal anniversary gift, it occurred to me that another milestone is just around the corner. Soon it will be 25 years, a quarter of a century, since Nannette was here on Mother’s Day. Yet her presence remains heartfelt as my ephemeral botanicals and her enduring crystal, together, become something new.