Local residents who did not have an opportunity to visit the nation's capital during the recent Cherry Blossom Festival to see the Showcase Windows need not look any further than McLean.
For the celebration of the 90th anniversary of Japan’s gift of cherry trees to the United States, McLean interior designer Barbara Hawthorn directed the design of 12 windows encompassing the former Woodward & Lothrop building located between F and G streets and 10th and 11th streets in Northwest Washington, D.C., said Arlington resident Christina MacBride of Jackson MacBride Public Relations.
“The windows are more than a tribute to our nation’s enduring friendship with Japan. They showcase the vitality of our local art and design community to the thousands of cherry blossom visitors,” said Hawthorn.
OF THE 12 WINDOWS under Hawthorn’s direction, she designed five incorporating other McLean business owners and their merchandise. The window representing Hawthorn’s business, Barbara Hawthorn Interiors, played to the theme of fusion. The term is defined as enjoining Eastern culture and Western technology, she said.
Her business’s window was “a floral fusion trilogy,” using antique kimono screens, antique Ichibana baskets used for floral arrangements and the black and white photography of “huge flowers” by District resident Geoffrey Hodgdon, said Hawthorn. Falls Church resident Ron Shake created the floral arrangements for the Ichibana baskets. Shake is an employee of East and Beyond located in McLean.
East and Beyond, located on Curran Street in McLean and owned by Mary and Joe Arnold, also featured its wares in Hawthorn’s window. East and Beyond specializes in antiques from Japan, China and Korea, said Mary Arnold. “We are very pleased to be a part of this celebration,” she said. Arnold said she and her husband lived in Japan from 1989 to 1993 at Camp Zama 46 kilometers south of Tokyo during Joe Arnold’s last overseas assignment in the U.S. Army. He retired a full colonel. “This is how we got involved with Asian antiques,” said Mary Arnold.
THE USE of the storefront windows, particularly when lit in the evenings, gave off a more inviting ambiance than boarded up storefront windows, said Hawthorn. “The city doesn’t look thriving with empty windows or stores,” she said.
“Other cities are more known for their art and design — New York, Los Angeles, Miami,” said MacBride, as one explanation why it was important to Hawthorn to put the District’s best foot forward.
Initially Hawthorn was asked to create a tribute memorial to Washington photographer Fred Maroon. The Smithsonian had paid tribute to him prior to his death for a famous photo of the cherry blossoms surrounding the Jefferson Memorial.
Hawthorn also designed the window 19-year McLean resident Lee Forman used for her display of collectable bags. “I’ve known Barbara for five years. She asked me to coordinate bags for the festival that are symbolic of the relationship between the U.S. and Japan,” said Forman, collecting bags made of many mediums aside from paper for more than 30 years. Forman has more than 2,000 bags and is in the process of cataloging them in the hopes of opening a museum.
The Astroturf bag in the bags photo represents a sense of nature in design, linking the US and Japan via the cherry blossoms, said Hawthorn.