Sheds in miniature
November 11th, 2010
When we wrote about and photographed the multiple sheds at Kathy and Ed Fries’s garden outside Seattle, we titled the chapter “Suburban Follies.” I mean “follies” in a good way because their landscape is dotted with a colony of amazing, fanciful structures.
Just when I think Kathy has exhausted all of her creative brainstorms, she surprises me. Last evening I saw a work of art around her neck that blew my mind. Actually, it is a collection of five works of art, suspended from an elegant gold chain.
These canvases are tiny. Miniature. Diminutive.
A little fairy must have painted the garden and shed still-lifes that range from a pinkie fingernail to a nickel in size.
Kathy is one of the most inspiring, big-idea persons I know, especially when it comes to garden-making and shed design. She recently commissioned this breathtakingly-beautiful piece of jewelry that celebrates all that she loves about her garden.
I couldn’t take my eyes off of her dazzling necklace at our dinner last evening. Thankfully, she allowed me to take photos and write about the art and the artist:
The allure of this art is that Christina Goodman didn’t just shrink down photos of Kathy’s architectural follies and other garden ornamentation to fit inside the Old-World-style gold-leaf cases. No. She painted each of these tiny canvases using a minuscule brush.
According to her web site, this California artist uses “very fine brushes, good lighting and a magnifier . . . and acrylic paint as it dries quickly and allows me to work on a small scale” to create her miniatures.
As for the lovely Renaissance-inspired frames, Christina says she designs and builds them “with wood using miniature moldings and a centuries old water gilding technique. The result is well worth the labor-intensive process. In the end, I hope to capture the luminosity of Renaissance painting in miniature.”
Kathy met Christina last year when the artist exhibited at the Bellevue Arts Festival. Kathy loved her miniature pendants, pins and earrings that featured trees, birds and other scenes from nature.
And she started thinking about the possibilities of having a one-of-a-kind necklace to celebrate her garden and its “sheds.”
One of the pendants was inspired by a vintage cast-iron chicken that is mounted on the Dutch door to the boys’ playhouse (see photo, above left). Kathy requested that Christina render it in miniature for her necklace.
The huge urn (in miniature) that dangles from the right side of her necklace is in reality about 4 feet tall and made of cast iron. I believe it was one of Ed’s “finds” that became a garden gift for Kathy. She jokes that its provenance was as a hotel ash tray. The last time I saw the piece, it was planted with a huge hosta and standing in the shade garden.
The three central gems on Kathy’s necklace include her Viewing Tower, her Doges Palace and Palais de Poulets, her chicken coop. Each was handcrafted by John Akers, a Seattle builder and salvager of architectural artifacts who collaborates with Kathy on many of her garden projects. Just in case you haven’t actually seen these structures before, here is how they look as real-life pieces of architecture. Bill Wright photographed them for our book Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways:
Can you imagine what I’m fantasizing about? What special piece of art or architecture do I now dream to own in miniature by Christina Goodman? I’ll be on the lookout for just the right precious object.
November 11th, 2010 at 12:15 pm
Oh Debra, you’ve beautifully captured Kathy and her passion for the garden, as did this gifted artist. Kathy is a valuable patron of so many horticultural arts. What a lovely evening together.
November 11th, 2010 at 1:51 pm
A delightful necklace…and a great momento of this awe-inspiring, heart-stopping, just plain fun garden!
November 11th, 2010 at 7:09 pm
That necklace is amazing!
What a great story. I can’t decide what is more amazing, that she has 3 John Akers sheds or that necklace.
November 12th, 2010 at 12:15 am
Debra, oh my goodness…when I saw that neckless and those charms, I KNEW right away it was from the incredible place we had the book release party for your amazing “Stylish Sheds and Elegant Hideaways” book. What a day that was! A day I hold very special in my heart and memory. I would LOVE to have a necklace made with my shed and my garden art in miniature too…what a unique piece…something I would definitely wear and cherish. Thank you Cathy for letting Debra photograph and write about it and Debra, thank you for again sharing something so very special with us garden and shed lovers. Those “sheds” and that property are something I think of often and am still so honored I got to be able to personally see and be a part of that day. I tell people about it all the time. I am a very lucky lady to have shared in that experience. Thanks to you. <3
November 14th, 2010 at 6:30 am
Amazing sheds. The artist has patience and plenty of it to create those beautiful pieces.
November 17th, 2010 at 9:35 am
Absolutely. The inspiration. The replication- the steady hand.
January 24th, 2011 at 2:18 pm
like the sheds, still trying to find out where these sheds are, the pacific northwest?
December 19th, 2011 at 8:50 am
Your photos are absolutely delightful…our gardens are a reflection of those of us who tend them and yours is divine. But, I must say, I love the necklace even more.
April 6th, 2012 at 7:18 am
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May 1st, 2012 at 5:52 am
Lovely necklace you have there, and some great photos 🙂
December 20th, 2013 at 7:31 am
we love the transformation of the decrepit shed to the The Palais de Poulets it is stunning thanks for sharing with us
June 4th, 2014 at 2:57 pm
[…] lovely hen house, named the “Palais de Poulets” and featured on Debra Prinzing’s website, is a fabulous example of what one can do with an old shed. She […]
September 22nd, 2014 at 8:17 am
[…] Chicken coops don’t get much more rustic than this one, built into an old tree trunk, with aged wood door, roof, and windows. This sits in the corner of an industrial park in New York. Image via Flickr An old garden shed was transformed into this “Palais de Poulets” with a vine-covered tower and living roof. Beautiful! Via Debra Prinzing […]
December 13th, 2014 at 11:06 am
I have to say I love the little shed at the end.
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