Somethings Wonderful This Way Came

Somethings Wonderful This Way Came
1970's Vintage Caftan in At Play

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


While new snow is falling on much of the country, Spring has already arrived in the Sonoran Desert. Last week we were experiencing temperatures exceeding 80°. I will confess that we are now in the 60's, but only for a few days. The ground has warmed up enough to encourage new growth of both wanted and unwanted plants. I spent three hours on Sunday ridding the front yard of the most common city weeds. While I worked I was reminded that Harwood Steiger found beauty in all things that grow here. In fact, some of his most beautiful creations are representations of the wild weeds that grow everywhere.  Steiger loved the weeds so much that he created several different fabrics with weed designs.  They are all called Weeds, but are distinctly different.  The one I used to make a dress shows different weeds in brick like block outlines.  Another shows just single leaves of various weeds.  And, the third shows the full plant, but spread out in the field of design.  I find them all lovely.   In addition, Steiger created many stunning designs depicting inconspicuous wildflowers and roadside blooms. Perhaps due to Sophie Steiger's influence, we are gifted with accurate representations of what grows profusely in the Sonoran Desert.

It is not easy to identify all of the flowers shown in the various designs. So many of them are stylized, but still accurately rendered . Because most appear in only one color, I personally, cannot identify many of them. But others  are obvious. Beyond the cactus flowers one can easily  find  penstemon, roses, foxglove, and many other Sonoran specific blooms.  Even the noxious Tumbleweed has found its place in Steiger's design  portfolio.  In fact, one of my favorite garments is the two-piece dress I made from Tumbleweeds.

Other signs of Spring's arrival are the many birds which enliven the days. Several pairs of hummingbirds are vying for dominance at the feeder I placed among the contorted branches of the Mesquite tree. At least one hummer appears every 7  minutes. But often, two show up at the same time and an aerial battle begins. No harm comes to either bird, but clearly the victor eats first while the other bird perches in the Mesquite. One of my favorite Steiger fabrics is the exquisitely rendered Mesquite which almost looks Japanese  in its esthetic. I have only seen it once, and it was in black and white. The lady who owns it, told me that her mother  made  fabric shutters for the family room out of it. It must've been a stunning room.

 I am grateful that Harwood Steiger had such a distinguished perspective and the remarkable ability to provide us with an eye to the beauty of the things that grow in the Sonoran Desert. Thank you, Harwood and Sophie, for helping me find and appreciate the beauty of the mundane growing all around me.

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