10 Mar

The Reveal

This is pretty late as a post but I thought I would end the story of my amazing Artist in Residence experience of 2013 at Ganna Walska Lotusland, Montecito California www.lotusland.org and the exhibition Swarm: Collaboration with Bees before I start on my next adventure.

Every two years Lotusland has been mounting incredible International exhibitions that take a look at the ecology of the garden.  In 2013 the concern about bees and colony collapse was in the zeitgeist and Lotusland as a leader in sustainable garden practices, and the preservation of endangered plant species devoted this biennial to bees and their relationship to biodiversity and life.   I was lucky enough to be selected as the Artist in Residence and spent a month creating Daphne, a beeswax architectural intervention inspired by the garden and housed in the Pavilion Gallery on the 37 acres estate. to see more images of Daphne        penelopestewart.ca/category/daphne/

penelope stewart Daphne succulent wall2

penelope stewart Daphne tile and object wall 2

 

The opening reception was fantastic as was the general attendance during the run of the exhibition.  Nancy Gifford, curator and Gwen Stauffer the Executive Director of Lotusland organized events such as film, dance and tours throughout the three month run.  One such event was an invitation to the Santa Barbara Poet community to write poems inspired by Daphne and the garden.  This group wrote over thirty poems which was such a rich gift in response to my beeswax intervention.

bee 1

Barrel Cacti in bloom

Though this project was 2 years ago it lives strongly in my memory and continues to inspire my current practice.

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10 Mar

A Walk in the Blue Garden and Pondering Daphne

A view of the pavilion from the garden

A view of the pavilion from the garden

 

This was a special day. Daphne was finished and now it was time to take one last walk through the garden before packing up the studio.  I walked straight ahead  towards the giant aloe like plants searching for the Blue Garden.

The large blueish plants border the garden

The large blueish plants border the garden

It was about 7am my favorite time of day when I went for the walk.  The light was lovely and filtered through the trees.

hanging succulents

hanging succulents

I was beginning to see that dusty blue in all different permutations.

fir tree

fir tree

The ground too is covered with blueish plantings which look wonderful with the blue slag glass that Ganna Walska edged the garden with.

blue plantings

blue plantings

This is the excess glass that is used to edge many of the gardens

This is the excess glass that is used to edge many of the gardens

aloe carpet

aloe carpet

I walked through the Blue Garden and then up and around and found the reflecting pool. I was trying to focus and really take this garden into my  head.  This would be one of the last times I would walk here.  I might visit in the future but it would never be quite like this.  I felt so appreciative of the residency to experience the garden in this more intimate way.  I lived in Ganna Walska quarters. sleeping in her rooms and reading her autobiography each night.  I was getting to know her through the garden while I was creating a wax garden on the walls. One that for me symbolized a threshold – a state of perpetual transformation.

This is the reflecting pool. I am told that this is where the large lotus flowers bloom in July.

This is the reflecting pool. I am told that this is where the large lotus flowers bloom in July.

I found another path and followed it under an umbrella of trees and discovered another pool with huge clam shells scattered over the area around it.  Plus to my delight there were succulents growing over and in the wall.  It made me think of my beeswax succulent wall.

clam shells and the succulents on the wall

clam shells and the succulents on the wall

I loved the way they were growing over and in

I loved the way they were growing over and in

so lovely

so lovely

my succulents on the wall

my succulents on the wall

 

beehives in the orchard

beehives in the orchard

I walked a little further and came to the orchard where the Beehives are placed.

close up beehive

close up beehive

My thoughts as I wandered were about Daphne…the myth.  In brief her story is

 

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