Summer Design Collaboration

The garden is a tapestry of green plants.

My Garden  Early in my career as a calligrapher I was part of a group of four; a writer, a weaver, a painter, and calligrapher. We met regularly to talk seriously about art and to look at each other’s work. These meetings helped us formulate ideas about looking at art, gave us experience in talking about our own work, and reinforced the importance of collaborating with others.

A New Design Goal  With that idea in mind, this summer I hired a gardener to work with me in my gardens. Michelle, a woman half my age and with four times my energy, is helping me re-design my existing perennial beds and transform a large section of a lawn into new gardens. We discuss plants and garden design while digging side by side.  The effort is causing me to think about the landscape in new ways.

The Garden Plot  My yard and gardens are located on a rectangular plot of land in a northern temperate climate.  An assortment of trees border three sides of the lot and the house sits in the center, dividing the lot lengthwise.  Composed of hundreds of different plants with varied leaves and flowers, the garden is a three-dimensional tapestry of green that surrounds the house and is slowly growing – reaching for all of its borders.

Lily in the garden.

There are so many ways of working the design elements and principles in any project we take on.  In a garden you work with the color green and texture and architecture of plants.  And working in collaboration helps us to see it in new ways.

Enjoy the rest of your summer, thank you for taking the time for reading this.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Nancy Leavitt

Priscilla Juvelis, bookdealer

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3 Responses to Summer Design Collaboration

  1. I so envy you a cross-disciplinary group of creative people! I’m a writer and have friends who are artists and textile designers and photographers. I think it’s really helpful to cross disciplines and see what you share and what you see, literally, differently. I get really bored talking to other writers — all words, all the time! — so now am enjoying blogs by people in theater design, color work and other creative endeavors.

    Love Lilly in the garden. Sweet portrait!

  2. Nan–I love seeing the photos or your garden and reading about it. And being reminded of our own collabrative time together–we four. Pondering your thoughts about collaboration makes me wonder if it is just the thing for all of us, given the cocoons we live in generally nowadays, the answer to the artist’s necessary solitude that has rolled into non-productive isolation. Beautiful food for thought–Love, Sharon

    • Hi Sharon – I wrote to someone recently that my life pattern has been enduring long bouts of solitude punctuated with sudden bursts of creative work. In between times of actual work with paper, pen and color I ‘ruminate’ with work in the garden, playing with fabric, or knitting, etc. It is all work really – for my mind’s eye is still searching for interesting color combinations and textures, some recognition of a new pattern. Working in the garden with Michelle this summer was a real gift to myself. I thought a great deal about the experiences of our original 4 art group and how that helped shape what I do. With love and thanks, Nan

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