Captured in silver
November 26th, 2007
I joined Mary Martin for high tea and harp music at the Beverly Hills Peninsula Hotel
Every now and then we gardening gals have to get gussied up and leave the jeans and rubber clogs behind for the glimmer of the big city. Today was that day for me. Yup, I even wore heels and makeup!
My big trip to Beverly Hills brought me to the swanky Peninsula Hotel to meet my Atlanta friend Mary Martin for “high tea.”
Mary and her shed-studio will be featured in the pages of Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways in a chapter called “Personal Space.” She is an incredible artist, writer, musician, and entrepreneur. Bill Wright and I visited Mary in early July to photograph the 1930s-era “log cabin” shed that she’s transformed into an art studio and screened-in entertaining room.
Bill Wright photograph
Debra and Mary in front of her Atlanta “shed” on July 5th
The 12-by-20 foot building, which Mary suspects was originally a children’s playhouse or potting shed, was standing, neglected, on the property when she moved there in 1986. She fell in love with the rustic structure and eventually renovated it, adding the 16-by-17 foot screened porch.
Inside the older cabin-like section, work tables hold prototypes for her latest project, Mary’s Garden Champagne Savers. And it was this project that brought her today to Beverly Hills and the Neiman Marcus store.
An elegant tabletop at Neiman Marcus features Mary’s Garden Champagne Savers
Bill Wright photograph
Camellia japonica ‘Taylor’s Perfection’ – captured in sterling and displayed in the just-opened bottle of Veuve Clicquot
Here is some background:
For years, Mary envisioned using a piece of sterling shaped like a leaf or a twig to preserve champagne once a bottle was opened. She kept looking for something like it to appear in the marketplace. Then in 2002, she was tending to her perennial flower bed while planning a dinner party. “I kept getting this recurring idea: to have an elegant object for saving open bottles of champagne. I even knew what it should look like,” Mary says. “Finally, I decided to create it myself.”
Five years of experimentation and testing later, she launched Mary’s Garden Champagne Savers. The sterling silver sculptures are a genuine first, and include nine botanical designs, created from favorite plants and flowers in Mary’s own backyard. “They are an accent for the home and for entertaining,” she says of the life-sized sculptures of camellia, dogwood, bearded iris, edgeworthia, trillium, violet, and daylily.
Made in the USA and packaged like fine jewelry, the champagne savers are sold by select Neiman Marcus stores and at Bergdorf Goodman. She considers them gifts for the collector, hostess, bride, or groom. “With these pieces, I have translated my love of nature into an art form with a true purpose,” Mary says. “The idea of having something used for celebration and pleasure that also contributes beauty is essential in today’s world.”
She is reminded of a favorite quote from her grandfather Rudolf Anderson, a nurseryman and southern landscape designer who bred camellias, rhododendrons, and azaleas. She has in fact embraced his words, using them as a theme for Mary’s Garden Champagne Savers.
“I’ve always felt that anybody looking at beauty in nature cannot help but have more noble thoughts.” –Rudolf Anderson, 1967.
Mary’s Garden Champagne Savers are cast in sterling silver and finished by hand. Offered in nine botanical designs ranging from 3-3/4 inches to 6-1/8 inches, the pieces are made in the USA and sold individually. Retail prices are approximately $195-$450 each.
Presented in a custom keepsake soft green gift box, each champagne saver is secured on a suede-textured chocolate brown pillow with criss-crossed elastic bands.