Colour, Composition, Flora

For some time I have been really interested in the work of Polly Apfelbaum, a NYC artist who has built a body of work between painting and sculpture, through the use of fabric, cut, dyed, drawn and placed.

This latest work has become more abstract and in some ways more linked to responding to the site: stretch sequin fabrics are cut and placed in the gallery, interacting with the architecture of the space, involving viewers in the glow of the light, in negotiating the spacing of the pieces, in revelling in the simple scale and seduction of the composition.

These works were preceded, in 2005-2009, by complex installations of cut synthetic velvet shapes, often as diagrammatic flowers, in monochrome or tonal compositions.

Increasingly,  esterni will be developing and disseminating more of the cross-disciplinary links found between art and design and design for landscape, for horticulture and planting. Here we are highlighting the use of scale, colour relationships, form, easily understood for their link to gardens. Flora has been an intriguing subject for artists, as seen in the previous post, one I have been very familiar with in the field of textiles, and that I am growing to understand more about. Plants and their shapes as the changing and growing medium of a contemporary art form.

I leave you to revel in these glorious prints of abstract flowers, a riot of composition, scale, colour harmonies.

All images copyright: Polly Apfelbaum.

Planting for summer: the cutting garden

A large part of creating a cohesive look in residential garden design is the choice of plants: esterni design partnership introduces their first plant collections.

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Floral Patterns, Lace and Inspiring Black Plants

The Esterni Design Partnership vision is eclectic, restless and influenced by many disciplines and a miriad of images out there, and this post is all about connections between floral patterns (they continue to be a mainstay of textile design) and the real thing. The examples here come from my research as an artist and designer in textiles. There are fabulous connections between the names, forms and textures of the plants and the "original" textiles, and it is something that Esterni might use either in the layout of garden design or in planting plans that echo the repetition of forms in the textiles. So here goes.....

16th Century Venetian Gros Point Lace

William Morris watercolour design for a printed textile

The see through effect of the lace, where the empty spaces are important as the pattern, can be appreciated in a variety of plants and parterre patterns:

And now for some plants...The shiny silvery purple stars of the allium combine well with the matt purple brown of the elder, and the rosy hue of its white flowers.

A good self-seeding plant, reminiscent of the countryside, with tall white umbels of flowers appropriate for swathes of natural planting is

Anthriscus sylvestris 'Ravenswing'

And lastly, a great small book, full of useful Black Plants, authored by Paul Bonine.