Inspired by Nature

Photo by Alaina Carnahan

Photo by Alaina Carnahan

On Sept. 19, the day after the nature poetry program for students, poet Joyce Brinkman led a program for adults at the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site. Poets Gerard Manley Hopkins and, to a lesser extent, Mary Oliver were given as models for “inscape” or more than surface descriptions of nature. We were instructed to select an object and delve deep into its essence, using word combinations, even made-up words and internal rhyming. So these are not finished poems, but the beginning of poems.

Poplar Seed Pod by Steve Ferguson
Splotch-brown, mold-white stripes
Delicate grooves, banana-bruised
Densely pregnant
Ten Ten thousand trees
The breeze sighs and rising,
The babes to sprout, grow
Destiny fulfilled.

The Nursing Log by Martha Ferguson
You beckon me,
With slanted sun skimming you
As you sink into the soil.

Bright red in the sun, out of shady dark brown.

You’re cracked, perfect squares, rectangles.
All linear where once you were round
Invaded-insects, your only round now.

No long gray-barked, but green-mossed
No long standing, but supine
No longer green-leafed, but feeding tomorrow’s green.

In addition, Ball State University Professor Nancy Carlson talked about the writing process in creating her documentary, Gene Stratton-Porter: Voice of the Limberlost in 1996.

Thank you to Dr. Louis and Anne B. Schneider Foundation of Fort Wayne, Indiana for underwriting this workshop.

Martha Ferguson writes an unofficial blog about the gardens at Gene Stratton-Porter.

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Golden Troupe on Parade

golden_troupe_view1The Golden Troupe collection is now available online for all to enjoy and research. This collection is a definite must-see for anyone who loves theatrical costumes and props. The collection contains over 664 objects that range from quite elaborate complete costumes to many wigs, shoes, hats and musical instruments.

The troupe was based out of New Harmony, Indiana, and toured the Midwest, Southwest and South between 1875 and 1891. This theatrical company was consisted mainly of members of the Golden family including Martin Sr., Bella and their children (Martin Jr., William, Grace and Frances). Local citizens from the New Harmony area also played supporting roles as well in many of the troupe’s productions. Their costumes, backgrounds and props were described as elaborate and elegant. These are the objects that today make up the Golden Troupe collection that is now being housed at the Indiana State Museum.

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Nature’s Palette, Always in Style

Written by Davie Kean, master gardener at the T.C. Steele State Historic Site



Somewhere, there are people who are paid to predict (or create) which colors will be ‘hot’ for the coming year. Apparently there are people who are color blind in the fashion sense — unable to decide for themselves what color to wear or decorate with. There are even websites to consult when in doubt.

I choose my color schemes on my daily drive to work, and at home enjoying the view from my porch. I follow nature’s seasonal palette rather than fashion’s fickle trends. I’m not sure where the color consultants get their inspiration, but indirectly, it probably comes from the same source as mine.

Anyone who has looked at photographs from National Geographic or Discovery magazines will recognize that even the most outlandish colors were first found in nature. Hot pinks, florescent greens, electric blues — Mother Nature just smiles and thinks, “Been there, done that.”

Fashion color preferences are cyclical. Every few years, ‘naturals’ are the latest cool thing (again). Sometimes we fall under the illusion (or delusion) that we have created these colors or color combinations, but we are really just copying or interpreting what has always been around us.

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