Saturday, December 25, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I recently had the great privilege of photographing in Laurel Hill Cemetery in order to showcase its grand history and beauty in video. As the website states, "It is an outdoor sculptural garden, a horticultural gem and a truly unique historical resource." As one who loves to tell stories, this project is one I am so enjoying doing. Laurel Hill is one of the oldest Victorian cemeteries in the United States and there are 78 acres of art and history. "Victorians delighted in memorial symbolism. Sometimes the monuments reflect a common repertoire of visual symbols. Angels with upraised fingers point the way to salvation. Shattered columns indicate a premature death. Flags, calvary swords, and arms represent a military career. In many cases, symbolism reflects the person. A mortar and pestle marks the resting place of George W. Vaughan, a well known pharmacist. An eagle perches on the monument of Commodore Isaac Hull, hero of the War of 1812. Calvary spurs memorialize Benjamin Hodgson, who died in the battle of Little Big Horn." So many fascinating people are resting here... Josepha Hale, who edited Godey's Lady's Book; Thomas Walter, who designed the dome of the United States Capital building. Laurel Hill has earned its distinction as Philadelphia's Underground Museum. My great thanks go out to Alexis Jeffcoat for her warmth, welcoming and help with this project. Joseph Edgette. Phd and Richard Sauers are truly the consumate storytellers, passing along their wealth of research and knowledge so generously. Taking a tour with them is a fascinating experience. Upcoming events are: General Meade Celebration on New Year's Eve and I am told that hundreds of people come to this so get there early. Also, you may want to be a part of their 175th Anniversary Celebration. The website provides all the fun and interesting details. Again, many thanks Alexis, Joe and Rich! (Also, Caitlin Dougherty for your camera help!)
Saturday, December 11, 2010
The Byers' family certainly knows how to create magic and impart the Christmas spirit to everyone who is fortunate enough to pass through their doors. It is truly a wonderland with thousands of their world famous Carolers and Kindles at every turn, each with its own unique personality. Each one being hand made with such care. There is an observation deck where visitors can see the entire production process, basically still done the way Joyce created her first Carolers on her kitchen table. I was there for 6 hours with the purpose of doing a video on what a wonderful spot this is to visit. Originally, I thought two hours would be sufficient. I was so wrong! One room houses 250 nativity sets from around the world with the large centerpiece being one that was created in the 1700's. It is one of only 4 made in the world. Besides Byers' Choice, two of the others can be found in the White House and Metropolitan Museum of Art. Visitors can learn the ways Christmas is celebrated around the world...take a walk back in time down an 18th century street in London. All generations will love this immersion into everything Christmas. Byers' Choice Ltd.
I want to thank Joyce Byers, her son, Jeff, David Daikeler and all the gifted artists who were so amazingly kind to me and generous with their time. Each radiated the true spirit of this season. Their creations evoke feelings of happiness. Everyone is welcomed and greeted with a warm drink, and there is a strong belief in the importance of giving back to the community. What an honor to be with you all as you create your magic!