This week Garden Designers’ Roundtable is posting about Art and Sculpture in the Garden. Even though I signed up to post this month, I have to confess that art and sculpture intimidate me a little, in the garden and everywhere else. In fact, you might say that I am uniquely disqualified to give advice about art. To preface my GDRT post, I thought I’d share a story about my early experience in art to show what I mean.
As a kid, like most kids, I had fun with art. I liked coloring with crayons, making papier mache masks, creating construction paper mosaics. I wasn’t particularly talented, but I reveled in the creative aspects of art, and loved all the fun materials.
I’m sad to say that it was a middle school art class that drove the joy for art right out of me. During the ceramics unit for that class, I created this clay beaver:
The greenish glaze you see on the beaver was a source of contention between me and my art teacher, Mrs. Hill. I had wanted to to glaze him brown (BECAUSE BEAVERS ARE BROWN) but Mrs. Hill told me that glazing him brown would be banal and conventional. “Art should always surprise!” she said. So after conceding to the green glaze, I was “surprised” to see that, when the beaver came out of the kiln, it looked like it just crawled out of a slimy retention pond.
Somebody really needed to teach Mrs. Hill a more important tenet: “There is no always in art.”
Or even better: “Stop using the word banal!”
Anyway, I dropped out of the art scene after 8th grade, figuring I wasn’t good enough to keep pursuing it. Clearly my artistic ideas were puerile, pedestrian, and bourgeois! Luckily, I found more encouragement and validation in the realms of music and writing, so those pursuits fed my creative impulses throughout my adolescence.
Fast forward, um, several years and my relationship with art began its long, slow thaw.
And it was really the study of landscape design that began to warm things up again.
Tune in tomorrow and I will explain how!