Thursday, November 4, 2010

Crafty Inspiration: Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids

Posted by Crystal

Once a month, I try to take myself on a creative excursion called an Artist Date.  I learned about taking myself on these Artist Dates from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

I go by myself to a new or familiar place to spend some quality time recharging my creative batteries and reminding myself how beautiful and inspiring life can be when I just take a moment to appreciate it. 

Recently, I took myself to Grand Rapids to visit Meijer Gardens.  As soon as I walked out into the sculpture park, I felt so calm and receptive to inspiration.

This was the first sculpture I saw.  The very strong resemblance to pink rock candy made me smile and feel like working with glass rock beads again. 

I saw this image on the cover of my Meijer Gardens Member Magazine a few months ago.  I didn't realize at first that these spears all all made of glass.  I almost wish I could have gone out there to play in the field of glass reeds.

Last time I came to Meijer Gardens, I took the tram tour and was informed by the guide that, even though this horse looks like it's made out of driftwood, it's actually cast metal.  Wood, of course, would get eroded over time by the elements.  I love knowing that casting is always an option for more weather-resistant pieces!

Sculptures made out of old tires.  I love that artists and crafters alike upcycle.

I love the smooth angles of this sculpture.  The color and angles let it blend in with the environment in a very soothing way.

The Waterfall is one of my favorite places in Meijer Gardens, because I just love the sound of trickling water.  It seems to drown out all the noise inside and outside my head!  The large globes that look like easter eggs are actually part of a temporary glass installation by Dale Chihuly.  Seeing the art tucked so easily and intimately into nature literally gives me shivers of pleasure.

As you may remember from my I am the Leslie Knope of Craft Post, I go bonkers for wildlife.  I saw chipmunks and these gorgeous coy at Meijer Gardens.  I want to make something using the orange and cream and black and gray colors of the coy.  Maybe a quilted piece?

Like it could just roll away...

The bright orange color just pops out so vibrantly from the landscape.  I was so taken by this sculpture, I had to sit down on a bench and just look at it and write in my Artist Date notebook. 

This is the plaque on the bench on which I sat.  What a perfect inscription!   And, this is what I wrote:

"I need peace and quiet more often in my life.  I need to sit in nature surrounded by art more often.  I might make my yard into a sculpture garden.  :)"

These sitting, contemplative figures are created from hundreds of small silver letters.  It makes me want to sit and think when I see them.

Doesn't it just look like this metal sculpture could just stand up and start walking around?!

This horse was designed by Leonardo Da Vinci and deemed impossible to create because all of the weight of the horse body could not rest on two small hooves.  Well, twin horses were finally created by Nina Akamu and the other horse lives in Milan.  It is an absolutely massive sculpture and yet still so lifelike.  It's very impressive and it inspires me to consider working on larger scale creative projects.

This Chihuly installation just snuck up on me!  If I hadn't of turned this way specifically, I never would have noticed the blue glass reeds mixed in with the tall grass along the creek.

Another intimate art/nature glass piece by Chihuly.  Floating ice cubes, right?

Make sure you take a stroll along the boardwalk behind Michigan's Farm and the Children's Garden.  You don't want to miss these three toads peering at you from the woods along the boardwalk.

I saw the pink rock candy sculpture again on my way to lunch in the Meijer Gardens Cafe.  I walked on the other side of it and was able to get a picture with the Conservatory in the background.  The combination of nature, art and architecture in this photo just pleases me immensely.  It was as if my day at Meijer Gardens had come full circle.  :)

If YOU are looking for crafty inspiration a little closer to home, join us at the 4th Annual Flint Handmade Holiday Craft Market on Saturday, November 27, 2010!

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