Friday, March 14, 2008

Art in Bloom

I did my demonstration at the Art Gallery yesterday, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. My theme was containers; I was free to present whatever I came up with within that parameter. I was excited to participate, and happy my topic had plenty of roads I could travel down. Container gardens have become one of my passions. I wanted very much to share; some of the roads less traveled, get people excited about the possibilities, and find their creative juices.
I had no idea what I would do, and seasonally, the plant material choices were near absolute low. That was ok, it was the concepts not the finished product I wanted to feature. I wanted to do something artistic, and I need inspiration. My time is limited, so there would be no leisurely browsing for ideas; I needed some found object to inspire me. I headed to the Sally- Anne and fond a number of wire baskets that had possibilities, and I picked up a wonderful brass watering can. Possibilities but I was looking for inspired, so it was time to do the circuit. I have a line up of thrift, and non profit stores I haunt of late.
Surprise, surprise I found a matching brass mister to my water can, and more wire baskets. I like the wire; wicker rots out in a year, so I shy away from planting it. Still nothing that has grabbed me. I was hoping for some big leaky bucket, or water can, an old wheelbarrow, the good stuff, but without much luck.
It was a couple of weeks before I spied something. Persistence is happenstance’s best friend at the junk stores. I came across a chair; it had the most amazing chrome, as shiny as any gazing ball. I didn't know what I could do with it exactly, and have learned not to buy unless you have a plan. Who needs clutter? I left the chair to think about it. I had already visualized the chrome in the garden, paired with a gazing ball, it nagged at me, happily it was still there when I went back. I really had to have by this time.
I picked up my partner at work, full of enthusiasm for the shiny but otherwise hideous aberration wedged into the back seat of my little sports car. He later admitted his inner dialogue, that I was quite mad. Hmff. to the naysayers, he changed his tune when he saw the finished product.
I tore off the game room theme fabric, to reveal a mostly plastic frame, a huge bonus that would make things very simple. I was able to use the seat as is, and easily replace the wood from the backrest with wire. I planted sedums, hens and chicks, and thyme’s, securing them with chicken wire and moss. It took most of one day, as I did it at the store while working. It was lots of fun watching people’s reactions, and curiosity. At the beginning people were skeptical, but as it progressed they began to think it was a great idea. I was thrilled; it made me smile, although I am often my own best audience. I hauled my creation to the bus stop directly in front of the store for the last hour of the day. Good times, perhaps, I am mad?
The chair was a hit at the Art show; I met lots of wonderful people. I finally figured out something to demonstrate. I brought along my wire baskets, and planted those; they turned out well, and were quick and easy to show the technique for wire and moss. The surprise of the show was the interest in my hanging herb planter. I was pressed for materials to put in a moss basket. I had pansies, but that is usually a fall thing. I had succulents, but I used those on the chair, and my old holey hole shoes. Herbs were my only option, so I embraced that, they were drought tolerant, a bonus in hanging baskets, and people have renewed interest in food production, perfect. It turns out I had no idea my instincts, "necessity the mother of invention" would go over so well. I think I will be making herb baskets this week, oh and looking for more chairs.
It turns out I had a good eye for shiny objects, my chrome, it was pointed out was very collectible and likely a rare piece by a Canadian furniture manufacturer in the 60's. My $1.29 chair I struggled whether to purchase was worth about $1,0000 at auction. Opps, I am too happy to feel bad, it looks great, and I look forward to watching it fill in this season. It will be a nice feature at the store.
I have pictures posted at the link