A blast of lovely spring color in the darkest, coldest days of winter. At least, that’s the idea. This winter has basically been a no-show but rest assured that the eye-popping collision of vibrant fantasy flora still made a bold entrance and looks magnificent against the electric blue skies we’ve been seeing. Yes, we are officially neck deep into Pop des Fleurs* season.
If you’ve been to the library in the last couple weeks–any library in the Carnegie system–you’ve seen the flowers. You can’t miss them. They’re planted in huge pots; they cover giant wall panels and adorn railings; they decorate nearby structures. Each installation site has a different arrangement, media, and theme so it’s rewarding to make your way around to as many as you can. There’s a Google map pin-pointing a couple dozen locations in the county.
Pop des Fleurs is a project of the Fiberarts Guild of Pittsburgh and anyone who’s seen one of their shows or is familiar with their work knows that the “fiberarts” extend to cover a pretty wide range of materials, styles, and techniques–it ain’t just knitting and quilting. You get a pretty great cross-section look at those in the various installations: knit and crocheted yarn, recycled shopping bags and product containers, plastic stretched over wire forms.
Around this time last year, The Orbit ran a story on Pop des Fleurs trial run for the project in Arsenal Park. The experience, in winter 2015’s unrelenting snow and brutal cold, was a revelation. If we have one regret, one minor quibble with the terrific Pop des Fleurs project, it is that by attaching the arrangements to institutions (sometimes literally) they lose some of their terrific namesake “pop” we experienced at the test installation last winter. Brilliant flowers against white snow and gray skies just look terrific.
I’m sure there are very practical reasons for this approach–legal, financial, grant-obligated, etc.–and the association with the Carnegie Library system is great–but these flowers would bring so much desperately-needed life to barren parks and desolate public spaces that it feels like a missed opportunity.
This is, to be clear, the most minor of criticisms. The Orbit is officially on its feet, clapping earnestly, and yelling Bravo between wolf-whistles. To the visionaries and craftspeople of the Fiberarts Guild and Pop des Fleurs project, we thank you for bringing Pittsburgh such a fantastic piece of technicolor fantasy into the cruelest of month of the year. Hat’s off.
* That’s French for “Pop the Fleurs” [Note to self: look up “fleurs”]