Gardens and Gears

Just in case the gods and goddesses of creativity are listening, let me whisper this to you: I’ve been on a creative roll this week. It hasn’t involved a single piece of glass. It has felt very good. I’ve got several ideas for the glass when I do get back to the torch sometime tomorrow. Clara’s Strolling Garden. Impatiens line the shady side of the house. Begonias grow in pots under the shade trees by the sidewalk. Two big landscaped flower areas have a bit more structure, but even in those, the flowers spill over and mingle amongst themselves.


What has inspired me creatively, and where have I been channeling that creative urge? Well, the inspiration has come mainly from two sources at my parents’ house– gardens and gears. My mother grows things, everything from lilies to tomatoes to shrubs. Every summer, her garden expands to cover even more of the yard. It isn’t confined to traditional flowerbeds and garden plots, either, as you can see in this tour.

So, where do “gears” come into this discussion? Well, my father has lots of stashes of what many people would call junk. This collection also expands every year, and it changes as he uses stacks of lumber to start a playhouse or some leftover siding to cover a storage shed. One of my favorite pieces is the ancient bulldozer he bought way back when I was in high school (over twenty years ago). It was in need of repair, but he’s never really had the time to delve into that project. Instead, the bulldozer sits in front of his shop and provides a pretty cool backdrop for lots of pots of flowers that have spilled over from my mom’s gardening endeavors. Now, in case he ever gets time to work on the bulldozer, Pop has accumulated another bulldozer carcass for spare parts. These are the gears that have inspired me this week:


Look at all the different textures and colors. See the beauty of symmetry and function. Look at the scalloped edges on those two giant cogs behind the circle in the forefront. Can’t you just see a bead pattern in there?

Between taking dozens of pictures of Mother’s flowers and rummaging through Pop’s junk piles, I’ve had a blast coming up with ideas for pieces of art this week. When you look at this picture which shows what happens when these two worlds meet, think about the lesson I’m learning from it:


Art is not confined by borders. It expands, it melds, it grows. . . and it can’t be separated from everyday life.

Angie Garren tries to keep her ever-expanding art from taking over all the living space in her home in southern Illinois, and you can read all about this never-ending melding of home and family and art in her daily blog.


5 Responses to “Gardens and Gears”

  1. lori g. Says:

    I love those pictures!!

  2. bolimasa Says:

    I absolutely love your rusty machinery picture!!!
    I can’t wait to see what they inspire!!!

  3. tracybeads Says:

    Reminds me a little of my grandparent’s old place. It looks like your mom is trying to casually camouflage “dad’s junk pile”. 😉 How cute. I look forward to seeing the beads inspired by this also.

  4. rose h. Says:

    I keep coming back to look at the photo of the gears. I love it! Have you made any beads inspired by it yet?

  5. Angie Garren Says:

    I haven’t been torching much, Rose, so I’m still letting the ideas percolate in my brain 🙂 I did decide that if I could sneak those babies away from my dad, I’d arrange them at angles, fill in with dirt as needed, and plant a bunch of my mom’s hen-and-chicks plants in the spaces!

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