Victoria Flower Binzen: Works of Art
From the Studio to the Sewing Room
September 24 – October 11, 2008
Virginia Flower Binzen devoted herself equally to the fine arts and the domestic ones. Born in Brisbane, Australia, in 1927, she came to Philadelphia at 23 after meeting and marrying American journalist Peter Binzen in Europe. She had been attracted to artwork since girlhood, and while raising her four children on the Main Line she painted and drew when she could, using oils, acrylics, pastels, charcoal and pen-and-ink. When her children were grown she immersed herself in watercolor. Her primary form was the still life, and she often picked her subject matter from her own garden. She found the subjects for her landscapes in other gardens and in the older architecture of Chester County. She never left home without one of her sketchbooks, which she filled with pen-and-ink and watercolor sketches and studies for paintings. Throughout her life Binzen also expressed her artistry in an enormous outpouring of hand made things. She made clothes for herself and her family, knitted sweaters and socks, and produced whole wardrobes for several generations of babydolls and stuffed bears. Driven by thrift as much as aesthetics, she upholstered furniture, darned socks, revived threadbare shirts and pants, and mended broken pocketbooks. In the 1970s she brought her skill with needle and paintbrush together when she designed and produced many pieces of needlepoint. When she died at 80 in October, 2007, her sewing room and studio were still teeming with projects.