It all began with the ancient people of Northern Europe who had to live through the cold dark nights of the Winter Solstice, a time when the only trees to survive in the forests were the hardy evergreens. The power to survive gave these trees a magical status, and they became a symbol of hope of survival until the winter turned to spring. As winter drew into its darkest December days, the boughs of the evergreen were collected and draped over the openings of their humble abodes as ‘protection’ from the winter.
It is quite likely that through the passage of time, the evergreen symbol was combined with the symbols of the circle, eternal life, victory and strength, and evolved into the Holiday wreath, part of our seasonal decoration which has never really attained a status of importance, at least not that of the revered Christmas tree. Today, in most homes, the natural evergreens of the wreath have been replaced by practically anything at all which can be affixed to a circular base to be hung either inside the home or on a door and has remained pretty much the poor cousin to the tree!
That was until the Department of Parks and Recreation in Manhattan took it upon themselves to create an annual celebration of the lowly wreath through an event called ‘Wreath Interpretations'. Now in its 31st year, the exhibition is held in Central Park near Fifth Avenue and is curated by the NYC Parks employees Dana Wilner and Claire Weis who have gathered together the designs of 46 artists, horticulturists, designers and others, to present a collection of weird and wonderful ‘alternative’ wreaths. Can you imagine the beautiful results of creations made from such bizarre objects such as rat traps, acorns and a host of found items? This fun event is free to the public and is currently open through to 9th January, 2014. According to Ms. Wilner, the idea behind the exhibition is to ‘create an atmosphere of what could be a wreath’ - so if you are in New York, this is not to be missed!