Welcome, welcome, wonderful September! Your cool winds bring our imaginations inside and creative container gardening begins to take shape. Perhaps your indoor gardening style is the modern masterpiece of an air plant array, the magical mini-world of a terrarium scape, or that timeless classic, the windswept bonsai garden. All types find a home in the sunny window sills of early autumn.
Who are you?
Valerie Tyler, jeweler and school teacher.
What are you collecting?
Bonsai pots for a slowly growing Japanese garden.
When did you start?
My husband and I started collecting bonsai around 2006. We were inspired by my mother-in-law, who I believe has over 50 gorgeous bonsai trees in a stunning collection of pots and containers.
How many do you have?
If you count the ones that are strictly bonsai pots with low profiles, I have 10. If I count the myriad of other pots we’re using until we collect more, I have almost 25.
Where do you find them?
I love to scour garage sales, yard sales, and thrift stores. I’m thrilled when I make a discovery, as they’re not always easy to find. I always look for handmade pots, as that makes them extra-special.
Where do you keep them?
In winter they’re all kept in a two tier window garden. Come spring, they’re taken outside to the Japanese garden we are slowly creating.
What’s a crazy/interesting story behind one?
During a relatively successful art show, I snuck away from my table to visit the studio of Matt Richards, a.k.a. Ryu No Sakebi. Since I had cash burning a hole in my pocket, I quickly purchased two of his pots. They’re pretty interesting works and they each have his handprint glazed on them, which I thought was quite a signature!
What piece would you like to add?
I’d like to commission my friend Gina DeSantis to make me a pot. She makes gorgeous, Japanese-inspired pottery.
Why do you love them?
My husband and I both share a love of Japanese-inspired art. Bonsai pots showcase simplicity in design — they have beautiful, clean lines and usually come in gorgeous earthy tones and watery blues. Best of all, they provide a harmonious partner in shape and form with the trees they hold.
What else do you collect?
Along the same design lines, I collect other forms of pottery and Asian and nature-inspired art. Basically, art work that has a relaxing quality.
Beautiful! Thanks so much, Valerie.
Valerie explores her appreciation of living things with her modern, nature-inspired metalsmith jewelry. Reflective of her beautiful bonsai collection, I adore her use of clean lines, her apt mix of metals and colors, and gorgeous sense of space and shape in each piece she creates. I hope you’ll visit her wonderful Etsy shop, Valerie Tyler Designs, and her blog, Art Addict.
What do you collect? Please tell us in the comments below. We’d love to hear!