Crazy for Pansies {The Pansy Ring}

001This is the time of year in the South where copious amounts of little Pansy plants are purchased and incorporate into landscapes outside business and homes across the region. They are adorable, edible, tougher than they look, cold loving, and come in a rainbow of colors and combinations. I started collecting them  a few weeks ago and could not stop. But that’s just part of the story here. You see, I’ve been waiting for pansy season because of a dear friend named Kevin. This summer I purchased from him the most curious little doughnut shaped vase. It was only two inches tall, from Germany, and almost looked like a circular ceramic frog. It turns out, in essence that is what the vase was. Kevin is a man well versed in antiques and oddities. If one needs to know what antique grape scissors look like, he knows and likely has a pair. He and his partner sell antiques and much more here in Memphis through a company named Posh Design Group. They are talented in many mediums, but getting back to the curious vase story, Kevin told me it was specifically designed for pansy flowers, known as a ‘pansy ring’  because obviously the stems are too short and blooms too flat to stand in a traditional vase. My mind was blown and ever since that moment I have been waiting to try this beauty out! Here are the results: I loaded the ring with flowers took some photos, then thinned them out, and took more photos.  I also gathered all of the smallest vases I could find and began to sort them out into the vignettes below.

Being up close to pansy flowers is not something I do often so I also learned that they have a very sweet and enchanting fragrance. What a unique decoration for any occasion or day of the week and lovely way to bring color into one’s home during those darker colder months of the year in which the pansy thrives. For all of these reasons I would highly encourage the ownership and use of such a fun vase. The color combinations are endless. This precious pansy ring has also continues to fuel my interest in flower specific products and frogs. I have quite a collection mounting for future features!

About this pansy ring: It is from a German company named Ulmer Keramik and dated sometime in between 1949 and 1960. The waterproof glazed ring has three little round feet and a blue stamp on the backside.

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A Potter’s Journey

aOver a year ago I met a beautiful and talented artist and student named Annaliese, and this summer she came to work with me in the studio. Since she is an art major, it made for a perfect internship experience watching me run my creative business while learning my medium of flowers. We were able to translate the lessons of art and art business into a lot more than just flowers while we modified the shop for work in ceramics. Soon there was a harmony of aesthetics as she and I drafted vases that were flower specific while working with so many materials in one room. We puzzle-packed and  fired the heck out of the kiln until the day she drove back to her school. I miss her dearly not because I need a helper so much, but because having a fellow artist near you daily for a month who understands things like the flow of diving into a project or the abstract ways that people like us get from A to B (which is never a straight line), or the excitement over the tiniest detail, is a rare and beautiful thing. There is a rise in collaboration with potters/vase makers and floral designers and it was so exciting to have a taste of that magic here at Haute Horticulture. We discussed artists like Frances Palmer who have been making waves by designing such flower specific pieces and their success of being embraced by what was seemingly a tight niche of customers, floral designers, and art lovers alike.

I often reflect on what I taught and what I learned while teaching and working with her. I wonder if it was I who actually got more out of the experience. It is no secret that we will be opening a flower school in the coming year and Annaliese was able to provide me with mindful feedback on my teaching techniques while I shared some of the successes and lessons of selling creativity in today’s world; after all, artists of all people have a product that is often so original it is difficult to market fairly to themselves with appropriate compensation for their time and ideas. Thank goodness there is a turning tide in the art world where emotions or thoughts are made into tangible objects; a renewed craving for the old methods of unique obtainable artwork that is slowly taking hold of the world conscious. Holding a hand made work or decorating with it offers opportunities to connect with the lives of artists and makers and with however one personally responds to the piece. It is a way to support those who take time to put their heart, talent, and dedication into a work for others to cherish; and a way to maintain the legacy of the art and culture of our society. This type of post is long overdue and this article has given me such pleasure to write that I look forward to a series of artist features coming more often on this blog.

The photos below are of her portfolio and a majority of the pieces were made in Japan where Annaliese studied for a year. I cannot take any credit for her magic attention to details or any of the art that flowed from her this summer, but instead for connecting her a little deeper with the nature around my crazy life, some new methods in hand building we practiced together, and my incredible friends like Annabella Brandon who captured her essence so perfectly with a camera (and is available for portfolio, commercial, and business image work). There is no doubt this is the first in many future features about Annaliese Davidson to come in the art community. I am so proud of her emerging style, her tenacity and courage to be herself and travel whenever possible, and her life guided by an extraordinary inner compass which is always pointed to the path of experiences with a humble heart, open mind, and noble purpose.

Annaliese Davidson and her work photographed by Annabella Charles Photography

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