I know what you’re thinking, that frivolous Nine Cent Girl is out having fun again. Well, yes, it’s true. But this is July after all, and if you can’t let yourself enjoy the festivities popping up here and there, well, then you need to heed my do-as-I-do-advice immediately! In reality we are all working long weekday hours, and have countless responsibilities, so enjoying a rare free day is essential for our health and well-being. On this particular Saturday, I left my To-Do-List behind, hopped on my bicycle and rode from one exhilarating event to another strictly for play. My first destination was the Stoweflake Hot Air Balloon Festival.
The Green Mountains of Vermont provide a spectacular backdrop for these colorful balloons that grace the sky once airborne. Of course they also provide awesome viewing and fun photo-ops while on the ground too! Small teams of people, who clearly know how to deal with highly volatile propane gas, shifting wind patterns, and entertaining folks like me, work to get the 800 pounds (a deflated balloon, a basket, and 40 gallons of fuel) to fly.
According to How Things Fly, “Hot air balloons fly when the air inside the hot air balloon is less dense than the air surrounding it. Hot air is less dense than cool air; the heated air causes the balloon to rise simply because it is lighter than an equal volume of cold air.” We found the process of getting the balloon ready to fly really really cool!
For 28 years people have been gathering to see the liftoff– well worth the effort– and then it’s up up and away riding on the currents to land a few miles away. We spent the morning catching glimpses of balloons until they became dots on the horizon.
Afterwards I attended the Helen Day Art Center Opening Reception for their outdoor sculpture exhibit, Exposed. A multi-generational group of about 100 people meandered across the gallery’s front yard and through Stowe village, stopping to hear from the 19 artists about the philosophy, process and materials used to create their piece. These ranged from spray paint on PVC coated tarpaulin to woven willow, birch and alder to charcoaled pine, each unique piece nested into an outdoor space.
The walkabout took us to view several sculptures positioned by the bike bath. Every year–this is the 23rd–this public space is recreated with artwork. Evan Morse says of his marble and rope piece, “The installation invites the viewer to consider a sense of drama and narrative between trees, stone, sky, and earth.” While Morse is playing with shapes and physics, Monica Herrera’s “Cascabels” composed of copper, aluminum and brass”is a site-specific sound-sculpture with bells that are meant to be heard but also to be seen, touched, and rattled by the public.” I’m delighted that this exhibit will stay until October.
“Fractured Reflections” by Karolina Kawiaka caused me to stop and examine all the ways in which it reflects the world around us. Children ran in and out of the aluminum structure while most of us looked at the way our bodies were mirrored with the trees and sky. The artist tells us the piece is built as an ornament “but also has a strong and poetic message about our relationship with the natural environment.” I would agree for as I pondered her work I was compelled to play with my own reflection.
What a perfect day: sharing interesting perspectives with friends, supporting the social and artistic efforts of my community, seeing the world from the sky back to the earth, and discovering that Art is Everywhere. What more can you ask for on a Saturday?