The planning is in full swing for the 2012 Northwest Flower & Garden Show, and that means many new exhibitors are signing up to show off their wares at the second largest garden show in the country – and the show with the greatest variety, depth and quality of any garden show. With over 350 exhibitors, all carefully screened to bring only the finest in garden and nature-related products, the show has long had a great reputation for its fabulous shopping. I should know – my Visa card has been smokin’ hot at every garden show for the past 23 years. I have art or pottery from the show in nearly every room in my house, and beloved garden art pieces around my garden. Not to mention loads of cool tools, beautiful jewelry, excellent plants… you get the picture.
I recently checked with Linda Knudsen, Exhibits Manager, to hear what new exhibitors she has lined up. True to form, she gave me a very long list! But I have pared it down to a few of the highlights, and will bring you more later.
Designer Linda Lee of Whidbey Woolies uses the finest in alpaca wool to create unique hats. Each hat is knitted by hand using select Alpaca fiber from “the boys” – her own herd of 3 Alpacas (one named “Ciscoe” after you-know-who). They are carefully crafted and then felted to create the finished hat. This makes them amazingly water resistent, and perfect for Northwest weather. Linda originally started working with wool, but switched to Alpaca when she realized how fabulously soft – with no itchiness – it could be. It is warm, lightweight, and durable, and people who cannot wear sheep’s wool can wear alpaca.
Since 1994 artist and designer Suzanne de la Torre has created handmade sweaters, beanies and knitwear that were originally only carried in the finest boutiques across the US. Now she sells them herself at juried arts fairs, and will be at the garden show for the first time. These are vibrant and cozy sweaters, in colors of the rainbow. They are hand-made and one-of-a-kind, with buttons of shell, horn, abalone, wood and glass.
Semilla Designs brings together the laid back attitude of the Pacific Northwest with the lush landscape of Medellin, Columbia. Started by two young designers, Semilla is a unique jewelry line that combines fashion, anthropology, art and ecology. Zena McCoy, a Seattle native who studies anthropology and art, fuses a Northwest style with elements from the natural world. Carolina Cordoba, raised in Medellin, Columbia, graduated in communications, and expresses her personality and culture by mixing colors and textures to create an elegant, ethnic look.
Jill Mayberg is a mixed-media artist living in the Pacific Northwest. Her paintings are created using cut cotton rag paper which is glued to canvas and then painted in acrylics and oil pastels. Her daily walk along the Columbia River with her dog, Morton, and her latte, gets her charged up and ready to start on her paintings each day. She’s influenced by many diverse things, such as animals, nature, cityscapes, patterns, edibles, water, Kandinsky, aboriginal art, Louise Bourgeois and the images that cross her daily path. She loves whimsey and celebrating the fun stuff in life. She was recently awarded a $7500 Artist Trust Fellowship.
Nj Searcy Metal, from Amado, Arizona, works in steel with ceramic or stone elements, getting inspiration from the forms and colors of the desert and the the people of the Southwest. Found treasures and repurposed items are incorporated into the pieces. She has a collection of indoor and outdoor metal pieces, including bird baths, tables, coffee tables, mirrors, and screens, adorned with elements of nature such as leaves and flowers.
Kathleen Jones, from Newberg, Oregon, draws inspiration for her oil paintings from nature and hiking throughout the Pacific Northwest. Having worked in many different media before, including pottery, photography, landscape and floral design, she is now most at home working with oil painting, creating beautiful art that is reflected in the environment around her.
Meredith Macleod, of Clinton, Washington, spent 15 years designing and manufacturing art tiles, and was ready for a change. An artist’s retreat with long-time friends was the inspiration behind Stubborn Twig Design. Now she’s ‘branched out’ with her greeting card company, and her pieces can be matted and framed as well, bringing the outdoors inside. Meredith’s work celebrates her “feathered friends,” a sense of belonging (to a flock), evoking a feeling of home (nesting) and celebrating adventure (migration), all with images appropriate for most any occasion. She has truly created a company that’s “for the birds.”
Diane Culhane is a Northwesterner through and through. She lives in a West Seattle home, built in 1910, and works out of her studio in Ballard. A professional artist and educator, she has taught for the Bellevue School District, Seattle Pacific University, and Bellevue Arts Museum and currently directs and owns the Kelsey Creek Fine Art School for children. Diane received her BFA from the University of Utah and her Master’s Degree from Seattle University. Now she delights in telling stories and creating new worlds through her paintings.
There’s something magical about dragonflies. They flit into your gardens, with shimmering iridescence, only to disappear just as quickly. If you love dragonflies, now you can enjoy them in your garden on a more permanent basis, with the beautiful stones and mosaics from Dragonfly Rocks. Dragonfly Rocks are a unique form of garden art that adds glistening movement to your garden. Created by Northwest artist Carol Deutsch, they combine natural stone and glass inlays to create dragonflies, butterflies, hummingbirds and more.
Vee Garden is a new company, founded by Del Webber, formed when there was such enthusiastic response to their show at the Bellevue International Sculpture Exhibit. Del was part of the ‘back-to-the-land’ movement in the early 70’s, buying 160 acres if Minnesota. He had diverse interests over the years, and developed a passion for making things better. That is how is hit upon the design of his attractive and functional planters. They create unique containers perfect for growing food in limited space, especially urban environments.
OBC Northwest was established in 1954 as a textile bag company called Oregon Bag Company. By 1980 they had expanded into horticulture, and today the company is one of the largest companies producing horticultural supplies, including containers, shade cloth, labels, pruning supplies, wire baskets, and many more quality products, including the best-selling flower pouches, all the rage now for vertical gardening.
Scarecrow’s Pride is a locally-produced, all natural, organic cow manure for garden fertilizer. But it’s not just any cow manure. It comes from the ‘ladies’ of Krainick Dairy in Enumclaw, a herd that is BST-free, fed Washington grown alfalfa and spent grain from some of Washington’s finest craft breweries, and sleep on a canvas-covered mattresses filled with shredded recycled tires. These are some contented cows. Scarecrow’s Pride can be used for improving organic matter in the soil, improving soil aeration and increasing water retention.
These are just a few of the many new exhibitors that will be appearing at the 2012 Northwest Flower & Garden Show, to be held February 8 – 12 at the beautiful Washington State Convention Center in Seattle. We welcome them all, and are excited to have you at the show! ~ Janet