There is Another Garden combines two of my life-long loves: art and gardening; art came first and, seemingly, naturally.
Trained as an architect, I saw garden design as an essential part of fashioning a holistic environment - the inside and the outside, the built and the natural, the planned and the organically evolved. It wasn’t until I reached my adult years that I found myself really wanting to garden. The art side of it inspires me; the science side of it challenges me. In the beginning I found it is easy, but only if I could get the plants to do exactly what I want them to do! Deciding that Dollar Pennyroyals are a good-looking ground cover was a comforting acceptance. Ah, but the challenge was part of the fun. After I decided that it was all going to be just one big experiment anyway, everything was good.
Seeing butterfly caterpillars decimating milkweeds, discovering chrysalises in the most unlikely places, releasing ladybugs, sighting a green anole puffing up his red throat, finding a broken blue egg shell of a robin on the ground, studying the curlicues of mushrooms sprouting from a cut tree stump, and observing the very fine veins of a staghorn fern shield (Staghorn Fern Series), are just a few of myriad delights and yes, also pain, that my garden offers me.
In one corner of my yard, under a second-floor deck,there is a rain garden. Enclosed by a wall on one side and fences on two sides, bordered by a compost area with a cairn (where a beloved cat is buried) to one side of it, a pile of twigs provides refuge to small critters. An Eastern Redbud next to this garden has had conks (polypores) growing on the trunk so I know it is in distress and it is slowly showing its decline. Hanging Ball Mosses from the structure of the deck above drape down and gives an air of a mysterious garden. It inspired me to create Rain Garden Rhapsody series.
I find solace in the stately tree trunks. Musing on them gave me the idea to create the Tree Bark series, using pages from books as a tie between the idea of trees and the passage of time, the making of books with the exchange of ideas, and so on.
My garden is a living canvas for me and a place where I can go to refill my creative well.
It is rather lovely to note that there has been an increase in people doing jigsaw puzzles during the time of the Covid-19 pandemic. Obviously puzzles have not lost their power to entertain people either singly or in groups. Even the ‘rich and famous’ are secret puzzlers. Amie Tsang in her New York Times article said, “Patrick Stewart once called the world of jigsaw puzzles a “secret society.” She even mentioned that the Australian Prime Minister has announced that jigsaw puzzles are an ‘essential item’ during ‘lockdown’ and that people are allowed to leave their homes in order to procure them. Images of puzzle pieces being laid out methodically across nations, possibly first the edge pieces and then working with groups of colors or patterns come to mind. There are strategies to consider!
Why are people drawn to jigsaws? There is something soothing about taking a box of jumbled pieces and making order out of them, thereby creating a wonderful image. Why do I work with jigsaw pieces? I think it is something about the jigsaw pieces themselves. The shapes are so interesting and familiar and fit so nicely in the hand. I work with puzzle pieces because their shapes remind me of people. With these miniature people, I tell stories about human foibles and how humans interact with one another. My work is not so much about creating order as I make sculptures. As I place one puzzle piece against another I am reflecting on the human condition and how our attitudes to one another today are pivotal to society’s success.
We are 31 Houston-area, visual artists who have joined in a collaboration to commit to our creative process.