There were two stages of the butterflies my mother crocheted. The first ones were crocheted with very fine yarn as the pictures showed above.
Unfortunately, the export business embroiled into his partner’s bankruptcy and lost almost all his fortune. He had to stop the butterflies business completely. But he was faithful and a man of honor, even those products means nothing to him now, but he paid off all the labors without any deficit.
My mother was very grateful to that businessman’s faithless. When those service family member found out what had happened, they felt so sorry for the businessman who had involved in such misfortune.
In addition to Everlasting Blossoms bonsais, my mother also crocheted butterflies in order to decorate her garden.
A similar bouquet was presented to Professor Sye.
Professor was very fond of arts You would see many art works in her home. In addition to those Chinese Paintings and calligraphy, there was a black ink painting of Mr. Feng-Dz-kai. Mrs. Li-Shu-Syan embroidered a colored picture of Professor Sye, dressed as a woman soldier in when she was young, looked dashing and spirited.
Professor said to me: ” Art represent the culture of a Nation.”
The show room was on the third floor. There was no elevator, which would make people very tired from climbing those stairs. Besides, Elderly Professor Sye had a leg surgery some years ago. But none of these would hinder her visits. Each time after she struggled up to the showroom, she was almost breathless. And each time she came would bring some friends of hers. Happily she showed them what she had found. Thus Everlasting Blossom had a chance to meet Poet Shu-Man-Sya, famous Novelist Fan-Lu, artist Chen-Syu-Ying and an Air force Writer Jang-Tau.
Since 1968, four years after the very first rose was born, Yu Wen’s children had arranged many exhibitions for her from Taiwan to California, USA.
1974, the first big exhibit at Tai Chung Main Library, Taiwan, Everlasting Blossom started meeting with new friends brought lots of good comments and praises.
Amount all the Everlasting Blossoms, Spider Chrysanthemums were the ones that Yu Wen had spent the most time to crochet those petals.
There were almost 200 petals in each flower. And they were in six to seven different lengths! Every petal must be supported with a very fine copper wire, so it will be stiffer, yet not as stiff as like sticks . You can shape those petals the way you wanted to. Therefore the whole flower will look like if they were growing in the garden. To organize the petals evenly on the stem is another ordeal .
Yu Wen crocheted different kinds of Chrysanthemums because she loved them specially for their unusual spirit. They are beautiful yet not brightly colored. Their unique faint fragrance. They blossom in cold winter. Snow and the freezing frost would not stricken them.
Chrysanthemums were favored by many Chinese poets.
C-39 Meeting friends with flowers–is on its way!
When we were preparing the second exhibition at Taichung Main Library in 1983, my mother was in a taxi cab with Barbados lilies in her hands. The taxi cab driver thought they were real flowers. He asked my mother : 「Ma’am, Are you going to the flower arrangement show?」 My mother laughed and said:「No! These are crocheted flowers , we are going to have an exhibition at the Main Library. 」When taxi stopped we were about to get out, the driver stared at the flowers in my mother’s hands exclaimed 「Wow! They are really fake flowers! How come they so realistic! 」
C-38. Chrysanthemim and Spider Chrysanthemum–is on the way
” I’ve never seen such strange but beautiful flowers before. ” she said, “The petals of those fully blossomed Bellflowers, were all turning upwards from the center of the flowers, and pistils hanging downwards. They really looked like bells! And those Christmas cactus looked liked a string of crab claws hanging down! There is a special looking red flower at the end of each string of the crab claws. I guess those Bellflowers flowers and Christmas cactus flowers were too heavy for their stems or the crab claws , that’s why they were all hanging downward!」
My sister-in-law’s description interested my mother! She said:「OK! Take me over to the flower store with my wheelchair, I want to take a look how special! 」
This visit made my mother got the yarns and the hook out of the drawers and crocheted the Bellflowers, The first bonsai since my father died. And then, the Christmas Cactus, the third, the fourth…….much. more new ones were born.
C-36.Christmas Cactus–is on the way
The motivation for my mother to crochet the flowers was based on my father. But 1988,my father passed away after the stroke. The pillar of her life suddenly collapsed. She completely lost the interests of crocheting. All the yarns and crochet kits were put away.
One day, my sister-in law came home in a very joyful mood. She told my mother that on her way home from the market, she passed by a flower store, the owner was a fan of Everlasting Blossom, invited her into his store and introduced her some new flowers which he had just purchased and asked if her mother-in-law would be interested.
My mother was not interested at all.
My sister-in-law didn’t pay any attention to her reaction, just kept on talking and talking. – To be continued –
I apologize that I posted the wrong name for Gladiolus as Bellflower.
The following chapter – C-35. The Bellflower- will be posted right now.
While the Everlasting Exhibition was held at the Tainan Folk Culture Center, in Taiwan, Mayor Su Nan Cheng cut the ribbon for the opening ceremony. He was the very first distinguished visitor of the exhibition.
My mother presented Mayor Su a vase with Gladiolus in it, similar to the ones as the picture shows in this page.
Gladiolus symbolize “blessing” and “Good luck”!
C-35. The Bellflower — is on the way
C-33. I am An Iris
Yu Wen went on, “As life would have it, both my mother and her sister-in-law gave birth to a girl. Sadly, my cousin, the peony, died before she was 3 years old. I, the iris, continued growing!”
Yu Wen recalled her worst childhood sickness was the measles, free from any serious illness. She told the artist, “I’m so very grateful and fortunate that my mother chose the Iris!”
World War II and the following political change in China each contributed to the total loss of contact with Yu Wen’s mother. There was no way to find her. She also lived with an added sorrow from never having a picture of her dear mother.
Yu Wen began thinking…, if I can crochet some irises as a loving memento to my mother…? She called upon her memories of the irises of her youth and began creating the crocheted Iris Bonsai Tribute.
In 1967, at the very first Everlasting Blossom Exhibition in Tai-Chung, Taiwan, I heard my mother, Yu Wen telling the following story to an artist in the showroom:
Yu Wen said, “I remember when I was a little girl, my mother always said that I was an iris.
In my hometown of Pei-king, there were lots of irises growing on both sides of the path in our garden. They were very easy to take care for and they blossomed every year. Nonetheless, they were not as beautiful as roses, peonies, or any other flowers!”
Yu Wen went on explaining to the artist, “The night before I was born, my mother dreamt that her mother came to see her with two flowers in her hands. A peony and an iris. She told my mother to choose one of them. My mother thought the peony was beautiful, but also knew it’s very difficult to care for. The iris, once planted it into the soil, will grow and blossom every year. No special care needed. My mother told her mother she decided to choose the iris. Her mother smiled and said, all right! I’ll give the peony to your sister-in-law.”
–To be continued —
C-32. –The first exhibition–seven–
This trophy was presented by Tai-Chung Main Library to Yu Wen to thank Yu Wen’s teaching at the library.
This trophy was presented by the students of the crochet class Yu Wen taught at theTai-chung Library.
Yu Wen met all kinds of visitors in those nine days. The first exhibition was a remarkable success. The news posted on all papers. Hwa Shr TV stations made three minutes interviewed in their noon news.
While the exhibition was on, Kwo Tai Life Insurance offered $3,000,000 NT. to buy all the Everlasting Blossom. It’s negotiable if Yu Wen was not pleased with the offering, but Yu Wen refused. Many of her friends and relatives felt deeply sorry for her refused such a good fortune.
But YU Wen said: “Money is good but could create problems as well! Crochet Everlasting Blossom is my hobby. I like to let people know that crochet hook or needle could be as good as painting brush. It could make life more beautiful, but my works are not merchandise.”
After the exhibition was over, the library asked Yu Wen to open a class to teach people how to crochet Everlasting Blossom. Yu Wen accepted. News spread out. So many people signed up for the class. There were too many signed up for one classroom, so it ended up with two classrooms full for a three month session. Many of them were domestic teachers and art and craft teachers. Yu Wen spent a lot of time in writing the instructions to hand out in classes. The instructions included: “Rose, Dendrobium, peony and poinsettia”. In class, she walked around the room, back and forth between the desks. Explained every question and demonstrated how to work out.
After the three months session was finished, the library hold an Achievements Exhibition for the students. Yu Wen encouraged the students and said to them: “Actually you don’t have to do what I did. Since you know all the stitches that I taught you, just keeping on practicing crochet roses until you can make a good looking one eith out looking at the instruction then you’ll be able to create your own Everlasting Blossoms.”
The library manager asked Yu Wen to have some more classes. However Dz Yun could tell that Yu Wen was very tired after the session was over. If she kept on having more classes she’ll be exhausted. Nothing would be more valuable than the good health of his wife. He declined the invitation with great courtesy.
Yu Wen’s third son-in-law arranged an exhibition in Tai-Nan Library. The mayor of Tai-Nan, Su Nan Cheng cut the ribbon on the Inauguration of exhibition. Mayor Su Nan Cheng came to Yu Wen’s Exhibition in his busy days, it was such an honor for Yu Wen that worth to remember for life. She presented one of her beloved bouquet with vase to Mayor Su to show her appreciation.
There were exhibitions held in other cities in Taiwan. Praises and appreciation heard in every one!
–The first exhibition–six
Once a middle aged lady supported an old gentleman with her hands slowly walked into the showroom. The lady said they were from Jang-Hwa. They walked slowly around the table looked at every showpiece. After he praised Yu Wen for her unique exquisite hand works, the elderly gentleman said he would like to paint something for Yu Wen to show his appreciation of what he have seen that day. But there was no painting paper nor painting brush and ink. Syau Wen said to him if he wouldn’t mind waiting a little while, she would go home to get some paint supplies. The old gentleman told Syau Wen he can wait. There was nothing important for him to do that day any way. Syau Wen rushed home on her bike, and brought back rice paper, ink and different sizes of painting brushes .
That elderly man painted some Chrysanthemums growing along the eastern hedge. He wrote five Chinese characters 采菊東籬下–*Tsai Ju Dung Li Sya– on the top right corner and handed it to Yu Wen. Yu Wen was overwhelmed! She understood that the painting and the writing were telling her how much this unknown elder gentleman was praising her works. Right away she hung it up on the wall in the showroom. The curator of the library saw that picture, he asked Yu Wen why didn’t she ask the artist to sign or seal his picture? It looked like the picture was done by a famous artist who lived in Jang-Hwa. If so his last name could be Hung. Who knows that this painting could worth a fortune if he had signed or sealed!
*Tzai Jyu Dung Li Sya, is the first sentence of one of a the famous poem which was written by an ancient classic poet, Tau-Yuan-Ming. The whole piece tells that the poet left up his head while he was picking some Chrysanthemums, surprisingly he saw the amazing beauty of the South Mountain along the eastern hedge. The elder gentleman wanted to use the Chrysanthemums as a expression to tell Yu Wen when he walked into the library that day unexpectedly saw these amazing hand crafts.
Once a well dressed lady walked into the show room, The jewelry she wore sparkled. Her body swung gracefully in her high heels. What a lady she looked! She came up to Yu Wen and said:”May I ask, Elderly lady, do you want to sell these flowers?” But the Tone of her voice astonished Yu Wen and the boys. It was a man’s voice! Childishness in Yu Wen couldn’t be controlled, she answered in a very low tone and said: “SORRY! THEY ARE NOT FOR SALE!”
C-32. –The first exhibition–five–
There was a young man, who looked as a student stood in front of the Nasturtiums. Holding his chin with his right hand and stare at the Nasturtiums. He veered his head walking backwards a few steps. He stood there in a little distant looking at the Nasturtiums. Again he walked back very close to the flowers, his face almost touched the Nasturtiums. Suddenly he laughed softly. Yu Wen was so wondering what was so funny with those flower? She walked over to that young man and asked: “Hope you don’t mind if I ask you what’s so funny?”
“No! I was fooled by myself!” The young man said . “I saw so many colorful flowers when I was at the door. Some of them that I’ve never seen before. Curiously I walked in and took a closer look, found out they were crotched with fine yarns. They were all hand crafted except those pots and gravels. You can hardly tell when you looked at them in a little distance. I was laughing because I was fooled by myself!”
— To be continued
C-32. –The first exhibition–four–
The schools were on their summer vacation. Some of Syau Wen’s elder son’s classmates Volunteered to be the ushers. Their main job was to make sure that no one should touch any of the showpieces though the signs of “Don’t touch, please!” were placed on the tables in case some viewers can’t refrain from touching them.
Yu Wen was around her sixties at the first exhibition. She was a little heavy and panted if she walked a little too long. But she walked back and forth in the showroom in that nine days. Explaining and answering questions for the visitors. She even walked down to the second floor to answer a phone interview of a local news. The great joy and happiness from her heart put smile on Yu Wen’s face, and she didn’t panted at all!
In the showroom, it was always crowded in that nine days.
One lunch break, Yu Wen and the boys were having lunch. A middle aged man walked into the showroom with bear feet. He was wiping his hands on his shorts! It looked like that he was just finished washing his hands. He looked as a famer who had came back from the farm land. Yu Wen stared at him in astonishment. She saw him slowly circled the show table from the first pot to the last one. Very carefully he looked at every one especially with those orchids. He came up to Yu Wen and said:” Granny! I counted the pistil and stamens, they virtually look as real as flowers.” The Curator of the library told Yu Wen that every one call that bear feet bizarre dressed man “Bear feet Celestial” who was an orchids expert. For some reason he had made a pledge to god that he would dressed up like a famer with bear feet in and out any public places.
–To be continued–
The first exhibition–three
That gentleman said to her: “Very good. could you also ask you mother how many days she prefers for the exhibition? I suggest it should be more than a week and open and close at the same time as office hours. We can schedule the dates after you told us what your mother thinks.”
Syau Wen went home joyfully and told her mother about this good news.
Yu Wen laughed and said: “I see, That was why your father took some pictures of the flowers! So, there is a Secret Agency in our home.” What Dz Yun and the children did brought Yu Wen sweet love which urged and encouraged her to crochet more. She told Syau Wen that she would like to have a nine days exhibition. When the dates are booked, she wish to visit the locus to pre-plan how will she place her pieces.
Syau Wen conveyed the massage to the library office the very next day. Just in a few days later, they received the notice from the library that the nine days of exhibition were set in that summer. A very large room was assigned for “Everlasting Blossom Exhibition”. For the visitors to have a good view of everything that placed on the show tables, Yu Wen arranged the tables in a “U” shape. People can walk around and see every side of the showpieces.
–To be contimued–
C-32.The first exhibition–two–
“We would like to hold an exhibition at your library if it is possible.” Syau Wen said uncertainly.
The lady responded in a welcoming voice: “Sure! What category do they go to?”
“I really do not know. But they are a kind of art, I’m sure” Syau Wen handed those pictures out to the lady as she was saying. ” My mother crocheted many these kind of flowers. They were all done with my mother’s hands. Except the vases, pots and pebbles, “Really?” With the pictures in the lady’s hands, she walked over under the light. She was amazed when she looked at them closely. ” Please wait here, I’m going to show them to our manager.
Syau Wen sat in the chair anxiously, she didn’t know what will be next.
Not too long a middle aged gentleman came out from his office with those pictures. Syau Wen assumed that he should be the manager and she stood up.
” These are rare folk art, How many pieces your mother has?” The gentleman asked Syau Wen. Syau Wen said quickly: ” About 40″
“I see. They need a larger show room. They should not be joint with other exhibition. There should be a Solo Exhibition. What do you think? ”
Syau Wen couldn’t believe what she have heard. She didn’t know what to do. She had to ask her mother to decide. She said: ” I think I have to ask my mother first see what she say.”–To be continued–
C-33. The first exhibition–one–
Yu Wen’s children, five of them, all thought keeping their mother’s beautiful art craft at home would be the lamp under the bed. It should be placed on the table to lighten up the whole room. And the light should be shared with others. They thought the library would be the most appropriate place. It’s the place for all kinds of flower arrangement show, sculptures, painting and calligraphy exhibits.
Dz Yun was an outstanding amateur photographer. He photographed his most favorite Nasturtium, Luxuriant Bonsai and Dendrobium for Syau Wen to show to the library. All these activities were working in secret. They wanted to surprise Yu Wen. If the request should be rejected, it wouldn’t hurt Yu Wen’s feelings. They were a little hesitated, because Yu Wen’s works were neither life flower arrangement nor painting, calligraphy or sculptures. They didn’t know which category Everlasting Blossom would be fitted in. Yet those pieces were truly a different kind of art.
One morning, tentatively Syau Wen walking into the office of Tai-Chung Main Library. It was a kind of early that morning, the big office still looked empty, and Syau Wen saw a kind looking lady standing up from her chair behind the desks and smiling at her. She said to Syau Wen: “Good Morning! What can I do for you?” –To be continued —
The white Chinese Narcissus have a very sweet fragrance. They possess a kind of natural grace and noble manner.
The Narcissus that Yu Wen crocheted shows all those special nature. Especially the roots which looked so vivid. Every time at the exhibition, Yu Wen always advise and urge her children when they were helping to set up the show room, She said: “Be sure those roots must be seen!”
It’s a pity! The roots and the stems were crochet with wire to support them, they would be rusty if you put water in the pot. Otherwise if there is water with those pebbles in the pot, it will look more like a life bonsai.
—C-33. The first exhibition–one– is on the way