Arbors as Garden Doors


Guest Blog by Dan Freed

People are always curious about Dan’s garden structures (left), so I’ve asked him to write about them. You can see more photos of the construction of the great Arts and Crafts rose arbor at http://adobe.kodakgallery.com/I.jsp?c=tsgykcv.u89lo8f&x=0&y=ec454e (The inspirational twig arbor shown there is from the garden of Inta Krombolz.)
What is it about a door that takes you from one place to another? As you pass through, it promises the excitement of a new experience, a mystical quest of stepping into the unknown, making a new friend, or gaining a new perspective. Every garden deserves a proper door, creating a distinct transition from the crush of a relentless world. It’s a boundary, a magical opening that only I know exists. Here there is a freedom, a peace, a point of view, a unity with something quite extraordinary. It leads to a place where the sun shines, the rain falls, and there is an energy that I cannot begin to understand, but only feel. It is a protected place that few will ever find. I sometimes share the secret of my doors and point in their direction. If you are drawn to that place, you will be welcome.
Such is the passion behind the Arbors that I have built. In some strange way, these structures always seem to build themselves. I start with my love of working with the natural materials of aging cedar logs and fieldstones that are in ample supply on our wooded lot. I then take inspiration from the space itself. I will spend some quiet time there sitting alone on a chair, observing, listening and sketching.
Simple construction is always a driving objective. Working alone always brings a special challenge to the project, an opportunity to draw on the “engineering” gene that runs a bit rampant in my soul. Making the simple look complex always gives me a little extra thrill.
One of the fun aspects of building a garden structure is the ample opportunity to work with negative space, creating form with only a slight inference of its existence. Let the visitor fill the void. Accents of stained glass, copper sculpture, and the traditions of Arts & Crafts are also never far from my thoughts.
In the end this all seems to take me where I was going.....

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