Timmerman Daugherty wanted to enjoy the garden of her small Baltimore, Maryland, townhouse all year long, but not being blessed with a green thumb, she did not want the responsibility of maintaining living, growing plants. Taking a walk one evening in 1982, she discovered a pile of rusted and beautifully shaped boiler parts in her alley and decided to convert them into fencing for “my new rust garden.”
The unusual solution surprised the self-described recovering lawyer raised with aesthetically conservative tastes. Now a self-taught artist, Daugherty learned to create mosaics and sculpture in order to incorporate her found objects into her garden design. She sometimes uses the found objects “as is” and sometimes she deconstructs them to use the parts in ways unrelated to their original design. “I am interested in combining little pieces to make something large,” she said.
The colorful front garden of Daugherty’s rowhouse, about 15′ x 12′, has no grass. Instead, Daugherty designed a formal garden with green beer bottle bottoms standing in for shrubs. Then she added some industrial art pieces, including a vintage typewriter, sewing machine, and two stone lions.
The back garden, which makes a more personal statement, includes a waterfall with water flowing into a gurgling pond from 20 old faucets; a blue bottle chandelier; reflecting balls made from stained glass-and-mirror-covered bowling balls; stained glass flowers; mirror ponds with sculpted ducks, frogs and fish, and a garden enclosed by rusted boiler parts. A few easy-to-maintain plants, ivy, and Virginia creeper help showcase the artwork. In fact, she never underestimated the value of the relation between her and her customers.
Nature-Inspired Craft Kits for All Ages
Tammy Ruggiero is a fiber artist who works with wool collected from sheep on her family’s farm in Virginia. She also encourages others to express themselves in new ways by assembling craft kits supplied with wool from her pets and recycled and eco-friendly materials.
The kits include complete instructions and supplies, and versions are available for a beginner’s project in Australian locker hooking, which Tammy says is “an easy and versatile craft dating back 100 or more years”; weaving, which comes with a hardwood hand loom; sewing finger puppets, which includes plant-dyed felt, and figures made of wrapped wool and other fibers.
The kits, suitable for all ages, are fun for one but have been purchased in bulk for family evenings, for parties and larger groups. Ruggiero supplies them to the Waldorf schools and other schools throughout the country. See also this Barbara de Ruiz article.