Wednesday, June 10th, 2009
I’ve been wanting to talk about this for a long time. There is this place in West Texas. A tiny town called Marfa. You’ve probably heard of it. And if you haven’t been there, you should go.
One June, quite a few years ago now, one of my best friends and I took a group of students there to study the work of Donald Judd. It was one of the best trips I’ve ever had, and one of the most inspiring places I’ve ever been. There is so much to say about this place, I don’t really know where to start.
I opened up my marfa sketchbook a few weeks ago and on the first page were some thoughts I wrote as we arrived. I thought this would be as good a place to start as any. I really don’t want to say much -I just want to show you images. I think I’ll post them in a few installments and I’ll start with the landscape ones, since I was just talking about landscape and by far that was the most inspiring part for me. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a place that felt as expansive as west texas. It’s such a BIG landscape.
Sunday, June 1st, 2002
Arrive in Marfa, Texas
incredible ride twisting through the desert mountain landscape
marfa appears like a fictional western town with small scale commercial buildings, stucco or adobe, painted white
amazing desert plants: sparse, cool grey greens, architecturally shaped, each plant is pure sculpture
we see a man sitting on a low adobe wall
we are driving slow, looking, and he waves us over.
“are you chinati people?” he asks.
he gives us directions to the gas station (colomo) where the students are staying.
on the way we see a building that looks familiar and detour around the block to see.
definitely a judd building -beautifully crafted adobe brick walls with an expressed concrete mortar joint.
as we slow to look, more and more details and buildings jump out.
Judd’s presense is everywhere.
Thursday, June 4th, 2009
Last summer I talked about my thoughts on landscape, in particular how I’ve been approaching the design of my own yard. Plant shape and color are things I’ve been focusing on as well as pruning to control the structure and encourage new growth.
As we move into summer this year, I’m noticing that the plants we’ve been slowing accumulating over the years are starting to thrive and fill in. We’ve added a few new ones as well and while it would have been nice to have been able to afford to do it all at once years ago, I appreciate being able to see how each plant takes shape and respond to that with what we add.
I’ve been browsing the internet for outdoor inspiration and thought I’d share a few links.
Flora Grubb is a San Francisco based garden design company and store. I love their clean, modern style and am especially enamored of their vertical succulent gardens. I wish I could make one of those work here in the midwest.
I found out about Modular Garden from Anna at Door sixteen. Modular Garden is a garden design company from England specializing in modern gardens that are modular. Each space is layed out on a grid and uses paving or other hard surfaces to define the space. Using a minimal amount of material and plant types this type of design really lends itself to small spaces. Check out their gallery and flickr stream for a wealth of inspiration. And speaking of Anna, she’s been working on her yard as well. You can see some of the photos here.
Lately I’ve been obsessing about planters. I can’t believe how hard it is to find affordable, outdoor, large modern planters. IKEA had some in March, but they immediately sold out. It was still snowing here in March, and planters were the last things on my mind. CB2 had some tall galvanized ones (you can see them on the cover of their catalog here) that look like culvert pipes. Those are sold out as well. I’m thinking maybe I can just make some from a culvert pipe.
I would love to have some planters from Obleeek Objects. I could fill my yard with those although I would go broke, and I also try not to have too many plants in pots since they are not perrineal.
We don’t have many flowers in our yard. I tend to gravitate to varying hues of green, grey and black foliage, and interesting plant structure. Lately though I’ve been thinking it would be nice to have some cutting flowers, in particular ranunculus, because their dense, tightly packed petals are so interesting and textural. We don’t really have the room for them however, so I think I will have to be content with a few ranunculus prints from my friend Sarah’s shop. Go take a look, it’s a stunning collection.