Making Art with Garden Trash

My grandfather painted.  My father made furniture.  I make gardens.  Three generations of artists, and we have a lot in common.  Including waste.

The waste of artists has always fascinated me: uniform ends of wood, those squeezed tubes of oil paint, discarded drawings, even sawdust.

The waste from gardens enthralls me. It’s fuzzy.  The distinction between what we love in a garden and how soon we call the same thing trash, is triggered by things inside us.  Things we’ve been taught, seasons that we think need a distinctive ending.  Time to plant pansies!  Better cut down those ragged old coleus!   Wait…..

The enchanting compost piles of graveyards, gardens and dumps make me ask, “What can I do with that instead of sending it to a landfill?”   Firewood, compost, fencing, trellising?  Or a different kind of art?  Where is the line between the art of gardening to making art with things from the garden?

A load of scavenged bamboo

A load of scavenged bamboo

For our fall Crinum Field Day  (we open our little organic, flower nursery and farm for customers and friends), we made this cool thing from giant bamboo.  Ok, so it wasn’t exactly trash.  It was planned; I drew it out, we went and cut the bamboo, sized it and cleaned it.

This is our giant feather duster. The ultimate point of beauty, well enchantment, will be the night we burn it. We’ll have three generations of locals all gathered to see, hear and feel the warmth of this waste.

NOTE: On Oct. 18, at the University of South Carolina Salkehatchi, join me for a free slide show about how the art of my grandfather and father influences me as well as stories of garden design working with other artist and craftsmen.

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  1. Ruth on October 10, 2015 at 7:52 pm

    I loved this when I saw it today, and recognized it as more art than just drying out bamboo.I really appreciated what I saw and experienced today 🙂

    • Jenks Farmer on October 11, 2015 at 7:13 am

      Ruth, we loved having you on the farm today! We were lonely for a while and so, so happy when you all came out with the sun!

  2. mary ridgeway on November 9, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    What is the plant that looks like it has corn silks?

    • Jenks Farmer on November 9, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Those are the seed pods of Clemitis ‘Sechuan Sunshine’ It’s a new and rare plant.

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