Garden art, 'funky birdhouses' featured at West Point exhibit

 

Felder Rushing

Felder Rushing

 

Monte Brasfield

Monte Brasfield

 

 

Special to The Dispatch

 

 

An Art in the Garden presentation by Felder Rushing kicks off the Funky Birdhouses by Monte Brasfield exhibit and sale in the Louise Campbell Center for the Arts in West Point. Opening Sunday, March 8, the 2 p.m. talk and reception are free to the public.

 

Tenth-generation American/Mississippi gardener Felder Rushing is known for his overstuffed, quirky cottage in the Jackson area and his green truck gardens. He has been featured in numerous TV programs and publications, including a cover of Southern Living and in the New York Times. His celebrated gardens include a huge variety of weather-hardy plants along with a collection of vernacular folk art. There is no turfgrass, just plants, yard art and "people places."

 

Rushing will talk about and share photos of a variety of art objects gardeners use to enhance plantings and express themselves. These include classic statuary, art designed for gardens and outdoor areas, and some outrageous and unexpected items that add fun and interest to flower beds and yards.

 

 

Believing that too many would-be gardeners are intimidated by a crush of "how-to" experts Rushing said, "We are daunted, not dumb." He uses an offbeat "down home" approach rife with humorous anecdotes and garden-irreverent metaphors, observations and photography to help gardeners of all styles and skill levels get past the "stinkin' rules" of horticulture.

 

He is author or co-author of 18 gardening books and started the Mississippi Master Gardener program. His articles or photographs have appeared in National Geographic and Better Homes and Gardens, among other magazines. He is MPB's "The Gestalt Gardener," and is a weekly online Q&A blogger for HGTV.com.

 

 

For the birds

 

Brasfield of West Point, known for his fun birdhouses, has made more than 30 for this exhibit, just in time for spring nesting season. Most will be for sale, with proceeds benefiting the center for the arts, the West Point/Clay County Animal Shelter and the Sally Kate Winters Home.

 

Many of Brasfield's birdhouses are points of interest in West Point area gardens due to his generosity to friends and his donations to organizations wishing to auction his creations for fundraising. Many have been featured auction items and have produced frenzied bidding.

 

"I come from a long line of carpenters who were also problem and puzzle solvers," Brasfield said. "The basic house shape is built using wood scraps and other sturdy items, letting their shapes guide the process. Then comes the fun part -- selecting and attaching the decorative details."

 

Some houses have a theme, and others are seemingly random 3-D collages.

 

"Looking around my workshop I have lots of stuff to choose from, as my friends and sometimes people I don't even know will drop off odds and ends they think I might find a use for," he said. Hours spent in the workshop constructing the base and working out the puzzle of decorative elements are "art therapy" and "creative expression" for Brasfield.

 

Sponsored by the West Point/Clay County Arts Council, the exhibit will hang through April 30. The arts center will be staffed on certain Wednesdays 1-4 p.m. for visitors to see the show. For more information or to schedule a tour at another day or time, contact Kathy Dyess at 662-494-5678, or Julie Gray at 662-295-0461.

 

 

 

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