Why do I always like such expensive things? Gardening can cost quite a lot of money if you consider all the ways that it can get you in trouble in addition to just buying seeds and plants. There are the tools and clogs and gloves and hats and garden whimsy. And related books and art.
I've wanted Emily Dickinson's Herbarium for quite some time. It's $125 ($101 at Amazon). And now I've seen something even more pricey - Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life by Todd Oldham, listed at $200 ($126 at Amazon). Both are undoubtedly worth every penny.
When Mom and I went to the Cincinnati Flower Show last May, we came across a vendor's booth featuring the art of Charley Harper. We both loved it and we purchased some note cards. I was given a catalog with my purchase and in looking through it, saw so many wonderful things, I couldn't stand it. Called "modern minimalist," Charley's style appeals to my love of contemporary art in every way, with his use of clean, geometric lines and pure colors.
Little did we know that less than a month after we'd attended the show, Charley would pass away due to pneumonia at the age of 84. I learned of this on Sunday, as I was watching CBS Sunday Morning. A segment was about the works of Charley Harper and the unique friendship the designer Todd Oldham developed with Charley over the years, even though there was quite a difference in their ages. Oldham had a book he had loved as a child that was illustrated by Harper and when he became an adult, he tracked him down, finding him in Cincinnati.
Over the course of the years of their relationship, Oldham assembled a collection of over 700 works of Charley Harper's art and published them as a book. This book has 424 pages and weighs nearly 12 pounds!
There are other books that Harper himself has published that are less expensive and I think I'll spring for one of those. I plan to get one of my notecards framed. It's of a cat, of course, entitled "Birdwatcher." Charley's wife, Edie is an artist also and the other notecard I bought is one of her pieces. It's also of a cat, entitled "For You." She creates in a similar geometric style, but with slightly softer edges. I love his birds, too, and I'd like to have a larger print of one of those someday.
Ah Charley, I hardly knew ye but my love of gardening led me to your art and I'm grateful, even if it was late in the game. You've left a legacy for us to enjoy forever.
Beguiled By the Wild
by Charley Harper
$29.97 at Amazon.com
Charley Harper's Birds & Words
by Charley Harper
$18.45 at Amazon.com
visit Fabulous Frames & Art in Cincinnati.
Photo of Charley Harper from Cincinnati.com