Nothing beats a pear eaten at the peak of ripe perfection. Out-of-hand, in a salad, with cheese as an appetizer or baked in a tart, I like pears any and every way. That includes their sculptural shape and rich coloration. It's rare that we have pears at home that don't wind up in a display: lined up in a row along the windowsill above the kitchen sink or in a photograph like the group below (with a black radish).
My collection of deliciously decorative pears began inadvertantly at the end of grad school. Like most art students, I had more art than money and traded work with friend and fellow student Leslee Nelson. Leslee crocheted the pears in the foreground (below) using stems from real pears for a touch of authenticity. She dyed the wool with natural dyes to create wonderful soft colors that are hard to describe.
Before I knew it, I was bringing home pears of all kinds to display with my wooly examples.
The group above has pears of made of sandalwood, wool, gourd and lentils. The group below is the same but with a straw-wrapped pear replacing the gourd
Pears of wood, metal, clay, wax, different types of gourds, hand-painted silk and papier mache joined the group. The only rule was that the pear had to be three-dimensional and have no other use. So no pear boxes or candles or paintings. Just pears as pears.
I now have enough to fill this big glass bowl solidly with pears. It replaces my arrangment of Christmas ornaments once the holidays are over. This view includes mercury glass, beaded, marble and jade pears.
On this side of the bowl you can see the variety in size and material of my pear collection. Fabric pears like the felted and beaded ones shown below are among my favorites but seem to be the hardest to find.
The pears are stored in a big cardboard box designed to hold Christmas ornaments. It has three trays with dividers to safely store the more delicate pears.
If you look closely you can see that a number of the pears are intended as Christmas tree ornaments, though I no longer use them for that purpose.
I consider the collection complete since there is no more empty space left in the storage box. If fact, I couldn't fit all the pears I own into this bowl. I left a few of the larger ones to languish in the dark.
You can read about another of Leslee's crocheted pieces that we own here.