Friday, November 16, 2012

The Dig

Every garden is a story.  In an abstract way our garden is our story, expressing our unique connection to the world. Like our familiar languages, the story is composed of a vocabulary that in varying combination produces different meanings. 
              We spent our childhood playing in landscapes animated by season, geometry, and space.  We hid under bushes, sat atop lookout boulders, ran along paths to our favorite destinations.  Before we were adults we created multiple worlds from mud, sticks and grass.  Those worlds were sound archetypes, if not structurally durable.  When we come to make a garden we carry the sensory vocabulary that we collected over our lifetime.  It contains memories, images, sensations that are uniquely our own.  Sometimes it is an organized collection, easily reviewed.  Other times it requires an archeological expedition to uncover.
You may hire a landscape designer, an interior decorator, or an architect to help you realize your vision.  These professionals come with training and vocabulary.  Sadly, not all listen well.  
I have enjoyed my design consultations with both landscape design clients and prospective brick oven customers.  I ask questions, I listen, I reflect back to them what I perceive and offer some ideas for that they may react to.  I am looking for the deeper visual narrative.
I find it liberating to be unattached to a certain style (although I have distinctive aesthetic opinions).  The result is most often a collaboration between the artist in the client, however hidden, and the artist in me, hopefully practiced.
Sometimes, it requires that the project be set in motion to clarify details.  I understand that some people start with a hard-and-fast blueprint and others engage in a journey of discovery.  That is why I build into each of my projects and contracts the freedom to re-evaluate and improve the project without necessarily making it more expensive.

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