Mar 4, 2011

Beautiful Gardens at the RI Flower and Garden Show 2011!

The AHA garden at the RI Flower and Garden Show

So last weekend I was jazzed to be working the RI Flower and Garden Show with other volunteers for Olivia's Heart Fund. The show's theme this year was "Gardening with Heart" and it was partnered with the American Heart Association, and the AHA welcomed Olivia's Heart Fund to it's past of the show with a spot in the garden  as well as a table area upstairs to display info about the Art Hearts project.

Art Hearts on easels in the AHA garden

Olivia's Heart Fund helpers set up my artwork on easels in the garden areas on Wednesday, the day before the show. I got in for a sneak peek at how it all came together. You can see Anna's Art Heart above in the AHA garden, created by the RI Horticultural Society. The romance of the theme is evident with the heart-shaped dance floor, and the formal wear displayed there. The dress you see here was actually designed for the Go Red Styleweek Challenge for Art Heart recipient Laurie Stephenson, by RI designer Jonathan Joseph Peters of Project Runway fame (!). I'm also a huge fan of Project Runway and LOVE  to see a local artist succeed, so YAY! and now I am another degree closer to awesomeness. Laurie's Art Heart is displayed to the right of her dress, and Katelyn and Julia's Art Heart is in the left side of the garden.

four more Art Hearts

Four more of the Art Hearts were displayed by the main entrance to the show, with information to find the OHF tables upstairs. Despite the large foot traffic of all the attendees during the four-day event, we had no problems with the artwork being there. People were very respectful, and several people came upstairs mentioning they had seen the works down in the garden area.

Now, I haven't seen a flower show for a long time - the last one I attended would be the Boston show, back when I was in college. If you didn't know, I happen to be an avid gardener, and enjoy doing some hardscaping with stone, making koi ponds and waterfalls and the like at my home in MA. So this was a great experience in that the garden areas were lush with plantings, but also very creative with stone steps, arches, water fixtures, live animals and patios.

AHA sand sculptures

This sand garden was a live scultpure by Sandtasia, being worked on diligently throughout the flower show. It was a kick to see how it progressed over the course of the four days. Fantastic job.

lovely display with a romantic feel

I loved this garden as well - the moss-covered umbrella and patio had an intimate, romantic feel. Created by Alan McLaughlin Garden Design.

I love me some koi ponds!

Another garden I particularly liked was a walk-through exhibit loaded with water features. They had several fountains, waterfalls, basins, and this koi pond. They built all this in just a few days! Created by Domina's Agway.

me trying to contain my jealousy when viewing Mike's work

In addition to the gorgeous floral works, I found two familiar artists in the gardens. Mike Bryce had a garden installation where he painted live within a charming display. I was taken in by the read doors at first, and then noticed the "pavers" for the pathway to the center door were, in fact an array of his small paintings and underpaintings. Brilliant! Then the large sunflower paintings he was working on caught my eye, and I had to remind myself that jealousy is not becoming. What fantastic artwork! I know it wasn't just me - a stranger to my left struck up a conversation about how perfect that painting would look in her living room, right about the time another woman to my right asked if the work was for sale. I think they may have given each other daggers at that point. Luckily there was no brawl over the paintings, but that's saying something about Mike's work.

some of Richard Harrington's monoprint work

I was also pleased as punch to see several works by artist Richard Harrington at the main entrance and also in the Federation of Garden Clubs exhibits. I met Richard at one of the Creative Impact series of events at the Providence Art Club, where he is a member. His work is beautiful - I love the natural landscapes and wide open skies in his monoprints, some of which he enhances with pastel. Again, I see work like this and I ache for that level of skill. But I also found him to be a kind and open person himself, being willing to spend time discussing the RI art world with a newbie like me.

I'll post more on the goings-on upstairs during the show next week. It was a whirlwind of activity, but so worth it! Enjoy!


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