11 Apr Open & Shut Artistry with ‘My Garden Gate’ Exhibit
A well-crafted garden gate sets the stage for your garden, whether it is formal, casual or any style in between. It both causes the visitor to stop and notice the details of their surroundings, and beckons them further with a sense of excited anticipation of what beauty lies ahead.
The garden show last held an exhibition of one-of-a-kind gates in 2003. Many asked about its return, so we brought it back for the 2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show. ‘My Garden Gate’ ran the length of North Hall, next to the Plant Market, and was a huge hit with show attendees who stopped to admire the clever details in each of the 20 gates.
The exhibit was judged by artist Mark Rudis, a welder at Green River College and a glass blower at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma. He awarded points for creativity, design, color, mechanics and signage. The winner of the Best Design award went to Elijah Burnett, of Burnett Forge in Poulsbo, for his charming gate titled “Forever Blossom.”
Attendees also got to vote for their favorite gate for the People’s Choice Award, which went to Jim Honold of Honold’s Ornamental Ironwork & Extraordinary Gates. Jim’s winning gate was called “Northwest Landscape.” It featured a heron wading in water, with cattails and foliage, fir trees and a mountain in the background. Made of steel, stainless steel, copper and stained glass, the gate was double-sided and illuminated from within. Jim also made the ‘Wilbur” weathervane which topped the entrance structure to the Children’s PlayGarden. The weathervane will be finding a new home at the Seattle Children’s PlayGarden.
Each of the unique garden gates was expertly hand crafted, using materials such as copper, steel, ironwood, wrought iron, wood, and, of course, plenty of recycled materials. The garden show teamed up with the students in the Edmonds Community College Horticulture Program to help install the exhibit. Thanks also to Mutual Materials for supplying the pavers, Bedrock Industries for supplying tumbled glass, and Sound Turf for the sod.
Gunter Reimnitz, of the Abraxas Crow Company, tells us he was inspired by watching flocks of golden finches (Washington State’s state bird) come through his neighborhood, flocking to a bird feeder. His gate, “Song Bird Gate,” was made of steel branches, with a burnt oil finish, and little songbirds all over it.
Ray Hammer at Blue Collar Artwork created a gate called “Industrial Bubbles,” made from many recycled metals found in different industries throughout Washington. Some of the materials date back to the early 1900’s logging industry. Ray’s art and architectural pieces are “inspired from the fun that comes from taking old beauty and function and creating new life.”
Lauren Osmolski is a sculptor and blacksmith with a studio in Seattle under the same name. This was her fourth year at the garden show and the first participating in a gate exhibit. Lauren enthused, “I saw the Gate Show when I went to my first Northwest Flower & Garden Show, and I was blown away! It’s a great way to showcase the variety of approaches to metalwork and the talented and highly skilled artisans of the region.” Lauren’s gate, titled “Thrive!” was composed of forged steel elements interconnected in an organic fashion, almost looking plant-like and alive, with a natural rust patina.
Seven welders/artists from the Green River College in Auburn participated in the My Garden Gate exhibit. Greg Bartol, of Studio B, showed his sense of humor with a welded vegetable gate, similar to a kitchen garden. What fun to have smiling vegetables greeting you as you enter your edible garden. Andrea Lisch created a gate called “The Old Wood Gate” but it was actually made of forged steel, and designed to swing both ways.
Professionally crafted steel and ironwood (also known as IPE) were the main materials used for a modern gate by Joe Clark, of Architectural Elements. It featured a replaceable art panel with choices for the art, such as bamboo, Japanese maples or dogwood patterns. The gate frame was powder coated aluminum for excellent erosion resistance, and the ironwood can provide decades of use.
Like so many of his pieces, Douglas Walker, of WaterWorks Garden Sculpture, was inspired by music for his garden gate. The “Big Band Swing Gate” lived up to its name. “I used sheet music made from copper tubing winds across the surface; while intricate circular patterns add the fill. This was a gate for the garden that can keep up the beat and swing with the best of them.” Read an earlier Garden Show Blog about Douglas’ musically-inspired works at http://nwf.gs/g2r24q.
Sandra Ross has a confession: “I’ve always loved shoes,” she says. So the name of her company is apropos of her love – Metal Sole, and her garden gate was titled “Stilettos in the Garden Aerate the Soil.” Sandra designed and created sexy stilettos from a variety of metals. Sandra enthused, “Whimsical, funky or wild, shoes bring a smile. What could be more fun than a gate made of sexy red stilettos amidst twisted leaves and vines to invite someone into a secret garden?”
Stanley J. O’Neil used copper, bronze and blown glass to create “Enchanting Passage,” while Teresa Harpster hoped her gate would live “Happily Ever After” in someone’s garden. Joseph Dent created an “Entrance to Eden” out of steel and wood; and Jason Crawford took show goers on “A Walk in the Garden” with his gate.
Barry Collier reused many antique hand wrenches for his entry, titled “Weekend Wrenchin’,” that appealed to auto lovers everywhere, since it included an Intarsia version of a 1929 Ford Roadster pickup. Shannon Buckner, of Bent Productions, dreamed of a “Summer Breeze” with her gate and finally, Iron Idion’s Steve Hussey created a gate that was a flight of fantasy as he depicted the “Dance of the Dragonflies.”
Other artists exhibiting a gate at the 2011 Northwest Flower & Garden Show included Travis Selland of Ironman Ornamental depicting “The Elements”; Red Grass Design’s Brett Cleveland entered “To Whom it May Concern;” and Andi and Mike Flicker’s gate was titled “Pinecone Gate.”
The Garden Show team is already hard at work planning next year’s show (February 8 – 12, 2012, so mark your calendars) and given the attendee raves for the ‘My Garden Gate’ exhibit, and the beautiful workmanship, artistry and attention to detail from all our talented garden gate exhibitors, this is one show feature that will undoubtedly be back! – Janet