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Arlene Mintzer

The Garden of Aqua Flora

Gaudi-esque coral towers by Arlene Mintzer, from her "Garden of Aqua-Flora" Collection.
Photos from the IFF Archive by Francine McDougall (2009).

We first encountered Arlene when she contributed to the New York Reef in 2008. Her pieces were unique for she had chosen to crochet a flock of delicate jellyfish using fine black Jelly-Yarn. Adorning the tendrils of these enigmatic creatures were artfully chosen pieces of plastic flotsom such as cut-up pieces of NYC Metro cards, floursecently-colored faux-rubber bands, plastic hair decorations, and cut-up pieces of a plastic tape measure. This body of work was delightfully playful and signaled the sensibility of an artist deeply attuned to the issue of trash.

Gaudiesque tower by Arlene from her "Garden of Aqua Flora" collection. Surrounded (at foot) by tiny beaded corals by Nadia Severns; and (on the wall) octopus form by Helen Bernasconi and kelp form by Jill Schreier. Pictured here at the Crochet Reef exhibition at Track 16 Gallery (Los Angeles, 2009).

After the NY exhibition, Arlene approached us about another body of work she had been developing - a collection of small intricate pieces made from hand-spun, hand-dyed yarn. She called this work "The Garden of Aqua-Flora," and wondered if we might be interested in exhibiting some of the pieces along with the Reef. Usually we are wary of such offers but in Arlene's case we knew they would be worth looking at. When the package arrived containing 20 of these exquisite forms we were ecstatic - they reminded us of miniature versions of Antonio Gaudi's towers. Immediately we knew that they belonged with the Reef. They were cousins too of the amazing miniature crochet-beaded towers made by another NY contributor, Nadia Severns, who, to our surprise, turned out to be Arlene's best friend.

Grouping of Arlene's towers in the Natural History display case at the Crochet Reef exhibition, Track 16 Gallery (Los Angeles, 2009). Seen here surrounded (at foot on left-hand side) by tiny beaded crochet-corals by Nadia Severns. On the wall wall is an octopus by Helen Bernasconi plus hand-spun corals by Jill Schreier, Dagmar Frinta and Pamela Stiles. At bottom of frame is a collection of corals crocheted around discarded plastic water bottles by Nadia Severns.

Here is Arlene's Artist Statement about her work:

Grouping of Arlene's plastic jellyfish seen here at the Track 16 show.

Gaudi-esque coral towers by Arlene, from her "Garden of Aqua-Flora" Collection.