Early signs of fall color — #berkshireweekend

Up on Stone Hill, marigolds are flowering vividly in Pallavi Sen’s garden, and here by the reflecting pool I’m looking at the berries of a coffee plant and wondering if I’ve ever seen them before.

They’re ripening as red as mountain ash … in Colombian artist Carolina Caycedo’s woven portrait of Faustina ‘Tinti’ Deyá Díaz — Every sip of coffee will be a blessing to you, cada sorbo de café será una benedición para ti.

Caycedo creates portraits of people and plants, through carefully grown relationships, spiritual fieldwork. I’ve come back to the Humane Ecology show at the Clark Art Institute to see the show in fall sunlight, and looking at Díaz among her coffee plants and monarch butterflies, I wish I could talk with her.

Carolina Caycado's woven portraits celebrate women activists who care for the land and their families and communities — including from her series ‘We Save Our Seeds for the Following Season’ and a self-portrait in her own garden, with corn and ripe tomatoes.
Carolina Caycedo

Carolina Caycado's woven portraits celebrate women activists who care for the land and their families and communities — including from her series ‘We Save Our Seeds for the Following Season’ and a self-portrait in her own garden, with corn and ripe tomatoes. Press photo courtesy of the Clark Art Institute

She founded Casa Pueblo in Puerto Rico, a community project for farming and local economic stability, that now grows coffee sustainably and protects resources for solar energy and a butterfly reserve.

I wonder what kinds of butterflies live there that I have never seen … deep blue mangrove skippers, Puerto Rican harlequins, vivid orange and black and white, golden queen swallowtails, Antillean mapwing … and I only know their names in English. What would she have called them when she saw them flying on a fall evening?

She includes work from a series she calls ‘We Save Our Seeds for the Following Season’ … and on the terrace of the Stone Hill Center, Professor Pallavi Sen is saving seeds in her own garden, from squashes and zinnias and flowering runner beans.

Nasturtiums open deep yellow in the sunlight in Professor Pallavi Sen's artwork and garden, Experimental Greens, in Humane Ecology show at the Clark Art Institute.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Nasturtiums open deep yellow in the sunlight in Professor Pallavi Sen's artwork and garden, Experimental Greens, in Humane Ecology show at the Clark Art Institute.


Cows graze on Stone Hill in a fall afternoon at the Clark Art Institute.
Photo by Kate Abbott

Cows graze on Stone Hill in a fall afternoon at the Clark Art Institute.

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

Berkshire sculptor Robin Tost's Spirit Bear honors the relatives of the black bears who live in the Berkshires.
May 23 2024 @ 9:00 am
The annual celebration of local creativity returns with more than 100 hands-on or behind-the-scenes events and open studios across the region, from May 17 to 27.
Mass MoCA catches sunlight on a summer day.
May 23 2024 @ 11:00 am
Mass MoCA and the Williamstown Theatre Festival present The Plastic Bag Store, an immersive, multimedia experience by Brooklyn-based artist Robin Frohardt.
Plums gleam in purple and gold at a farmers market table.
May 23 2024 @ 3:00 pm
The West Stockbridge Farmers Market offers fresh produce — fruits and vegetables in season, eggs, meats and cheeses, breads and baked goods, fudge and jams and more.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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