28 May 2014

New Growth

A late spring's visit to LongHouse, the residence and 16 acre East Hampton gardens of Jack Lenor Larsen

Just inside, the dunes: one sees LongHouse itself beyond the Japanese gate bell; to the right are cobalt blue glass sculptures by Dale Chihuly

Emerald, chartreuse, celadon, apple green – much of this weekend was spent admiring Spring's new growth.  After a harrowing winter, these leafy spurs do as much to revitalize the spirit as they do our environs.   It is because of this rejuvenation* that I return to this page.

On Saturday afternoon, Mr EEE, sister-in-law Marianne and I visited acclaimed American textile designer Jack Lenor Larsen's LongHouse Reserve.  Only open to the public two afternoons a week, we made sure to to organize our day around it.  

The gardens are intended to be interacted with and Mr. EEE gleefully signals our arrival

Larsen regards landscapes as an art form.  And just as shrubs, groves, and perennials are artfully massed, contemporary works by 20th and 21st century artists including Yoko Ono, Willem de Kooning and Cy Twombly are thoughtfully installed to interact with the natural setting. 

Contemporary sculptures of wild game bathe in Peter's Pond adjacent to the house

The apparent "undone-ness" of Larsen's gardens is reminiscent of his textiles, many of which are random by design.  In the 1950s, when he first founded his firm, his work featured natural yarns handwoven in random repeats. The abstract designs were contemporary, even modernist, yet also timeless in their celebration of the art of the hand.   Larsen has ever since been a beacon of the craft movement and is one of only four Americans to have had a one-man show at the Louvre.

The red garden, left, and Remoulade, 1954–1967, by Jack Lenor Larsen

Undoubtedly Mr. EEE's favorite moment was the Geodesic Dome designed by Buckminster Fuller and originally intended to be used as a residence.  (To my Neoclassical horror, it is his dream to one day build and live in one.  But perhaps with a columned portico?) Boulders of mesh, wire, styrofoam and concrete by artist Grace Knowlton echo the dome's shape.

A David Hockney moment

Each orifice frames a view or painting, explained a wandering guide.

Gaston Lachaise's work enclosed by Hornbeams above reminded us of Kimye's nuptials that same weekend.

Because I firmly believe in the experiential dimension of shopping, I paid a visit to InHouse, the reserve's gift shop which is stocked with handmade fashions and wares, many only available there.  In a blink of an eye, I was newly enrobed in Penhaligon's peppery floral Bluebell and this smashing raffia tote.

I look forward to the darling buds of May unfurling into June blossoms here with you.  Thank you for continuing to visit and come back soon.

*AND because of the wise words of GG, to whom this is dedicated, who is always faultless – except for his dislike of The Hare with Amber Eyes.  Sharawadgi!


Dean Farris said...


What a great post! I would love to visit this garden- however, your images and writing have made me feel as if I was just there!
Always a huge fan of JLL, and have one chair covered in a linen fabric of his- ( a gift from Albert Hadley)
Have a fabulous Summer!

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Dear Dean,
Thank you for the warm wishes! How lucky are you to have a chair associated with two design greats - very special.
My best,

The Devoted Classicist said...

A gift shop? I suppose this confirms that sites open to the public, even on a limited basis such as this, must have a revenue-producing outlet.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Dear Devoted,
It may soften the commercial aspect to know that the Gift Shop is architecturally a mini-Long House, possibly only 150 sq ft inside, and positioned at the entrance like a gate house. I for one enjoy the opportunity to purchase selections curated by Larsen - but I do know what you mean. One certainly isn't getting away from it all!

home before dark said...

I almost didn't click on this thinking you had been hacked and some evil virus lurked behind. Glad you are still among the living! As for the difference in house styles, perhaps your Beloved's dream house could become you neoclassical's house's folly.

When I first started gardening I began the predictable path of being seduced by color and blooms. One of my mentors, gently explained the natural evolution of gardening. She said you know you have made to the other side when you think first of leaf color and form.

littleaugury said...

Back with the same wit-glamour and intelligence that has been missed. I know you can get the Geodesic Dome thing under control soon. Love the Hockney Moment. PGT

Karena Albert said...

Emily I indeed thought I was seeing things, when your post popped up! So good to see you back and what a wonderful post.

The Arts by Karena
Henri Cartier-Bresson, Here and Now