Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
Gardeners enjoy seeing images of their favorite plants. Why else would we buy garden calendars year after year? Images of cacti and succulents are available even though they aren’t as common as those of other flowering plants. Assuming a product isn’t available, we can always create our own.
What would life be like without t-shirts and sweatshirts? These are the perfect place to display our love for cacti and succulents. If you don’t feel like creating your own, I recommend the saguaro cactus shirt. It is listed in the Southwest Indian Foundation catalog, and may be available elsewhere as well. For hot weather, you may prefer the short sleeve version.
For bedrooms, there are some lovely bedspreads and linens with cacti available. You can even buy matching drapes or curtains if you like.
The Southwest Indian Foundation catalog also features a metal southwestern wall hanging with a saguaro along with other southwestern motifs.
Hardcore cacti and succulent lovers may even find other items appealing. I’ve seen saguaro-shaped lamps as well as salt and pepper shakers listed in catalogs.
Gardeners are creative people. We can use pictures of cacti and succulents to decorate various items—from the decorative to the functional. All you have to do is take your photos to the nearest photo shop. There you will see various products on display, such as coffee mugs, mouse pads, and the like all decorated with pictures. You could also have the photos blown up to poster size, and frame them for hanging.
Those interested in crafts have many options. Whether it is done through tile making, needlework, quilting, there are various ways we can use motifs and images of cacti and succulents in crafts.
Craft stores should have plain tiles and suitable paints for such projects. In addition, crafters can create their own handmade tiles for decorating with cacti and succulents. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Start with “The Art of Handmade Tile-Complete Instructions for Carving, Casting & Glazing” by Kristin Peck from Krause Publications.
The author is a widely acclaimed handmade tile expert and tile designer. She works closely with tile companies to develop designs. This title includes projects featuring cacti and succulents. The author provides all the information you’ll need to design, fire, decorate, and install your own handmade tiles. The book contains details on the materials and methods used for making molds, carving and sculpting the clay, and the various techniques used to decorate tiles. It features a number of fully illustrated, step-by-step projects. In addition, five guest experts also provide valuable insight into this art form.
So far as the fabric arts are concerned, it is possible to find examples of cacti and succulents in quilt books. “Petal Play-the Traditional Way” by Joan Shay was published by the American Quilter’s Society. This inspiring title features over 20 unique, easy applique projects with 3D flowers that are suitable for every skill level.
The author provides color-illustrated, step-by-step instructions and patterns for each exciting project. She explains how to use embroidery to embellish the flowers. The exciting thing about this book is that one can mix and match the 11 different traditional quilt blocks any way you like with the ten different flower patterns. For example, if you prefer to replace the background for the Christmas cactus flower with some other block, you can do that. In the first chapter, the author provides basic instructions on different techniques.
Valori Wells, a photographer and quilt designer, looks to nature for inspiration. The result is stunning garden quilts. She is author of several quilt books from C & T Publishing, some of which was done in collaboration with her mother, also a quilt designer. “Radiant New York Beauties” has fourteen exquisite innovative quilt projects with radiating block designs inspired by rosette-shaped plants, such as the Sempervivums. For each remarkable quilt, she features photos of the plant that inspired it along with color-illustrated, step-by-step instructions and patterns. The Joshua Tree design will be especially appealing to cacti and succulent lovers. Throughout the book, she presents lessons in various quilt-making techniques. These projects are suitable for anyone familiar with basic block piecing.
From posters and tiles to quilts, there are numerous ways we can enrich our daily lives with images of cacti and succulents.