The Garden of Aqua Flora
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.
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.
Here is Arlene's Artist Statement about her work: