Naturalistic Bottle Trees by Stephanie Dwyer

Tree-shaped wire frames covered in blue bottles

Bottle tree installation at the Shangri La Botanical Gardens in Orange, Texas

Many bottle trees you’ll see – assuming you see bottle trees at all – are stiff. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but Southern folklore metal artist, Stephanie Dwyer, sets hers apart by making them sinuous and twisty, like real trees.

Bottle tree with colourful bottles with shacks

Bottle tree at Shack Up Inn, bent over as if by the wind

Her iconic bottle tree, part of a series inspired by Hurricane Katrina, channels lone trees all over the world, carved into art forms by the wind on some exposed ridge. It seems to grow out of the turf at the Sack Up Inn, and to nod with respect and resilience to its shadow.   Continue reading

Ness Botanic Garden Penguin: Grow Your Own

Penguin with eyebrows shaped like peppers

Placed like an invocation in a winter vegetable garden is a penguin with a story to tell. On last month’s visit, this part of Ness Botanic Garden was looking (I won’t say sorry for itself, as it was well-tended) out of season. It wasn’t going to feed a family of four any time soon, though nature being what it is, I’m sure magic was taking place under the soil.

For plenty, we had to look to the surrealist style painting of fruit, roots, leaves and tubers that covered the surface of the bird. I spotted onions, cauliflowers, garlic, parsnips, garden peas, carrots, sweet and hot peppers, grapes, lemon, marrow, fennel, cabbage, broccoli, aubergine, lettuce, gourds and an assortment of mushrooms, but that’s not all, by any means. I’m glad nobody needs to find shoes to fit our penguin’s sweetcorn and celery stick feet.  Continue reading

Back to Back Sculpture by Simon Jago

These two souls are my contribution to this week’s photo challenge. What could be more local than a relationship?

The artist, Simon Jago, is also a professional set designer with a mastery of the most essential tool in a sculptor’s toolbox – space. The sculpture seems to tell a slightly different story from every angle. It would have been interesting to walk all around it, but the setting didn’t invite that. Luckily the artist is showing the opposite view on his website.

The wall that divides these two figures is slender but sturdy – part physical, part metaphorical. He has placed a steadying foot on the blue floor/plinth that is structurally linked to hers. Their body language mirrors each other: the barrier of his left side reflects the barrier of her right; each downcast head obliquely angled in counterpoise to the other.

Back to back sculpture: both

It’s funny how tempting it is to judge, even faced with a sculpture. There’s a lesson in that. Who is to blame? What should they do? Is there even a problem? As the artist asks, why do they look so alone?  Continue reading

Celebrating Man-Made and Natural Curves

Orange Chihuly Art Glass

In this week’s photo challenge, Cheri asks for curves suggesting we might find them in architecture, bends in nature or man-made undulations.

I immediately thought of a recent visit to Chihuly’s Garden And Glass Museum in Seattle, where a cornucopia of curves can be found, not just in the sinuous art glass, but in the garden design and plant choices too.

Glass orb with fern

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