Anyone who has ever yearned for a garden more expressive than the usual beds, borders, and lawns should look no further than the nearest visual artist's home garden for inspiration. That's just what Valerie Easton and David Laskin do in Artists in Their Gardens
. The authors profile 12 artists--glass blowers, ceramicists, painters, sculptors, and architects--and show that artists don't just break all the traditional rules, they approach the act of gardening as if there were no rules to begin with. Their stories and ideas provide multitudes of inspiration for the rest of us.
The artists featured have come up with decidedly different ways of doing things. For instance, painter Robert Bateman--famous for his paintings of wild animals in their environments--has created a garden so "natural" that it feels almost ancient. What is surprising is that he has done so using painstakingly fabricated fake rocks to create cliffs and a meandering stream that provide the backbone for this stunning space. Ceramicist Anne Hirondelle uses every horizontal space--indoors and out--as an opportunity for display. A stone bench, for example, holds a series of vessels that collect rainwater, reflect the sky, and provide a shimmering surface for floating blossoms. Glass artist Ginny Ruffner, not satisfied with an unadorned 4-foot stone head that rises out of the center of her garden, devised a canopy of bright pink blossoms that suggests a colorful bonnet or a cascade of flower hair.
The authors provide lovingly intimate portraits of the artists and their gardens. Stunning photographs by Allan Mandell show off these gardens for the works of art that they are, while a section in each chapter called "The Artist's Eye" shares tips and inspirations that readers will surely want to use in their own home gardens. After reading this book, you'll come away with not just inspiration and a few new ideas, but a whole new way of looking at the act of gardening. --Robin Donovan
From Library Journal
Easton (horticultural librarian, Univ. of Washington), author of the "Plant Life" column in the Seattle Times, and journalist Laskin team up with prize-winning garden photographer Mandell to portray the gardens of ten Northwest artists. While these working artists are less well known than those included in Bill Laws's Artists' Gardens (LJ 2/1/00), they are more intimately involved with the creation of their own gardens. The authors also offer more analysis of their subjects' art and how the artists' aesthetic senses influence their garden design. Each chapter concludes with a one-page summary called "the artist's eye," highlighting what makes each artist's vision unique. The gardens are all inspirational in the way they use color and design, the integration of art objects and plants, and an approach to using ornaments that is whimsical, to say the least. The glorious photography, which makes it seem as if the sun always shines in the Northwest, highlights a common urge for brightness and helps the reader visualize the artists' individualistic approach to gardening. This book offers a refreshing approach to what a garden can be and what it can contain. Recommended for all gardening collections. Daniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.