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 always has 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?
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.