Boston benefits from Island eyes

Elizabeth Straton and her daughter Suzanne, of West Tisbury, made this small butterfly for a benefit auction off-Island. — File photo by Courtesy Elizabeth Straton

Two Boston-area institutions will benefit from the creative talents of Islanders in the coming weeks. Martha’s Vineyard Garden Club members Louise Thorpe and her sister, Barbara Shriber, both of Edgartown, will turn flowers into art for the annual Art in Bloom show at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday, April 24, through Monday, April 26.

In a separate event, West Tisbury singer/songwriter Elizabeth Straton and her 9-year-old daughter, Suzanne, have created a butterfly shadow box. It is one of 50 pieces of original art to be auctioned at the Wellspring House Women Honoring Women luncheon on Monday, May 3, at the Crowne Plaza Boston North Shore Hotel in Danvers.

In the Museum of Fine Arts event, Ms. Thorpe, who has served as a National Garden Club Master Judge of Horticulture and Design, and Ms. Shriber were selected by the MV Garden Club to be its representatives. Floral arrangements from 50 New England garden clubs will be on display. It is the third time Ms. Thorpe and Ms. Shriber have represented the Vineyard club.

The museum chose a second-century B.C. Greek marble torso of Aphrodite to inspire their floral arrangement. Using a white and pale pink palette, they will position tree peonies, roses and honeysuckle in the form of a Greek letter.

The two floral arrangers have picked a white carrera marble container for the display, which must be carried in a wagon to the museum’s second-floor Greek Corridor because of its weight. The arrangers must maintain their flower arrangement in perfect condition without wilting or rearrangement over the three-day festival.

In conjunction with Art in Bloom, free activities for children will be offered on Saturday, April 24, and floral designers from the Netherlands and New York City will present lectures, demonstrations, and master classes on all three days. Reservations for the classes and demonstrations are available through or by calling 617-369-3169. The charge for the classes is $35.

Meanwhile, singer/songwriter Elizabeth Straton of West Tisbury and her daughter, Suzanne, used quail and blue jay feathers to create their five-by-six-inch butterfly for the Wellspring House auction on May 3. Rows of pearls form the antennae, with a dried leaf and forget-me-nots completing the work, which is mounted on a bed of Vineyard sand and boxed in a gold frame.

Ms. Straton’s connection to Wellspring House, an organization that provides programs to support families moving out of poverty and homelessness, comes from her 30-year friendship with Wellspring board member Polly Knowles of Manchester-by-the-Sea. It dates back to their undergraduate days at Ithaca College, where Ms. Straton studied music.

Their butterfly is the second time the Stratons have collaborated on an art piece for Wellspring’s annual auction. “My mother is a wonderful painter and my daughter inherited her talent,” says Ms. Straton.

While in second grade at the West Tisbury School, Suzanne Straton studied the life cycle of the butterfly, and the school project inspired the artwork. After the first butterfly was accidentally broken, Ms. Straton and her daughter had to recreate it.

“Our butterfly represents the fragility of life,” says Ms. Straton, “the freedom that butterflies experience in their brief lifetimes and the beauty that all living things possess.”

The Wellspring House charity activities begin on Thursday, April 29, with a wine and cheese auction preview at Wellspring headquarters at 302 Essex Avenue in Gloucester. The May 3 luncheon and auction features Therese Murray, the Massachusetts Senate’s first woman president, as keynote speaker.

Ms. Straton is in the process of recording her fourth CD, called “Green Envy,” due out in the fall. She plans to have a release party on the Vineyard in October.