Chrysanthemum is inspired by the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Ahead of our move from Virginia to Massachusetts, a friend gifted us tickets to the museum. While I had some knowledge about the Gardner Museum, mainly due to the infamous art heist in 1990, I knew little about the museum itself. The documentaries I had watched were so intensely focused on the stolen paintings — featuring interviews and grainy, dark footage and photos from the 90s — that they barely resembled the actual experience of being in the museum, a space that is simultaneously light filled and moody.
The interplay of light and its absence significantly shapes the experience;
describing the sensation of being in this space is challenging. The contrast of dark and light is part of what makes the Isabella so captivating. Additionally, the layers upon layers of texture in various materials - canvas, patina, stone, print, flora, and of course, fabric - are overwhelmingly abundant.
The central courtyard is otherworldly. The plants change with the seasons and during our first visit in October, the autumn-hued chrysanthemums were in bloom. Trained using a Japanese technique called okigu, the courtyard was brimming with gigantic single blossoms perched on stems over four feet tall. I am thrilled to share ‘Chrysanthemum’ with you, my interpretation of the textures of the Isabella rendered in fabric form.