As anxious as I was to hear from him once he was abroad, he had his hands full, trying to locate his car and his lodging, driving in a foreign country, driving to shops that were either impossible to find or no longer in business. By the time he was able to call, I was beside myself with worry. He dealt with that in his usual bemused way. No one can dial down a fret fest better than he can. In retrospect, I incredibly admire his raw determination and courage. I doubt he knew at the time that he was charting unknown waters. Why would he? We were in the thick of trying to establish a shop devoted to fine objects for the garden. If you know Rob, you understand that his idea of fine objects and good design is never about money. Some things he purchases for the shop-ouch. Others are eminently affordable. Witness the lighted winter pot detail above-all those weedy sticks came from the field next door. Add some lights, and voila.
Once he would return home, I would pour over his photographs. I was keen to absorb every detail. These were places I had never been. I wanted to experience his travels as best I could. In those days, I studied his photographs with a magnifying glass. That close up view revealed so many of the details of the places he was seeing. Those things that he arranged to have shipped home – that magnifying glass helped me to see those details that won him over. I cannot really explain this, but the magnifying glass helped make the photographs seem a little more real.
Our IT person extraordinaire Jenny explained to me how I could crop my photographs to make the details clearer. I will admit I have been playing around with the idea of magnifying certain details, given her instruction. What I like is that I am able to focus on details that speak so much to the evidence of the human hand, and the relationship of one material, color, mass or texture to another.
My crews are on a 6 day a week schedule right now. We have taken over the shop stock room for all of the construction. People who find there way back there are able to see how much time and skill it takes to put it all together. Then there is the installation phase, which we always hope is as quick and efficient as possible. The pictures of the finished work do not always do a good job of describing the details, both visual and physical. When it comes time to do this project next year, I will mark up the picture with the new design.
To follow are are some photographs of previous work under a digital magnifying glass. To any gardener who reads my journal, I suspect that the looks close up are the most descriptive view of the work. If you click on any of these pictures, you will get yet a closer look. Not all of them are in sharp focus-that is why I call them pictures and not photographs.