THE MODERN MINT BLOG

Mar12

I Am A Genius vs I Have A Genius

This video is a Ted talk by author Elizabeth Gilbert, who wrote Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything

She asks how are you supposed to create something if you fear the paralysis that comes from knowing you will be judged on it?

In the days of the Renaissance the individual became the supreme artist/creator – and so began to rise the idea of the tortured writer and the artistic ego.

But before that the Greeks believed ‘daemons’ helped them in the creative act. This disembodied figure released the trepidation felt at producing something and being criticised (or lauded) for it… no tormented genius needed, because someone else did the job and you were just the conduit for it to come through.

It is this idea that she offers us as a coping mechanism for the creative act. Remove the ‘genius’ from yourself and place it next to you. Make ‘genius’ something you have, not something you are (with all the impossible standards that proposition asks you to live up to!)

It seems to us gardens can be looked at in this way. By separating the place from the maker, we realise the garden (the daemon) has the most influence, is the ‘genius’ telling us what to do. The garden speaks, all we must do is listen.

This gives the gardener great power. Turn up, do your work, live entirely in the constant process of order and chaos, renewal and relaxation, genius and disaster. By getting out there and just going for it you will allow yourself the chance (with your daemon/gardens help) of creating something breathtaking and transformative. By staying inside and worrying about how stuck you feel you will forever be incapacitated.

We will leave you with the words of Elizabeth Gilbert, with how she ends her speech, because they are beautiful words and we hope they give you the courage to find your own genius and allow it to flourish…

“…don’t be afraid. Don’t be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance.If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed, for just one moment through your efforts, then “Olé!”And if not, do your dance anyhow. And “Olé!” to you, nonetheless…. just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.” 

(Our favourite Elizabeth Gilbert book is this one… about self-sufficiency and making best use of what you have… absolutely brilliant!)

May03

Selection Of Topiary Videos To Help You Clip

Over the last two years I have been involved with a couple of projects that have ended up being recorded, then placed on Youtube or Instagram. I’m hoping they will be useful to you, so I have decided this morning to pop them together in one handy blog post so that you can bookmark the page and revisit when you need some inspiration for your topiary. See below then, a few videos about topiary I have recently been involved with… Garden Masterclass – Provocations of a Modern Topiarist Transforming Topiary Topiary Teacher Put On The Spot https://www.instagram.com/p/CTj-EfOKRL6/ In the above …

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May03

Mark Zlotsky – Topiary Tango In New York

Mark Zlotsky is an artist based in New York, and today I just wanted to share his project ‘Topiary Tango’. In his introduction to the project he talks of topiary being a forgiving art, which I love and is soooooo true…..! For proof, just take a look at some projects I have made with a sharp pair of shears, a hedgetrimmer and a pruning saw. Do check out Mark Zlotsky’s project, because although his interest began by looking at topiary through the prism of architecture and the relationship of one building to another, he touches directly onto a way of …

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Apr27

Gardenista Interview – I Talk About Modern Topiary

Gardenista, the online magazine about gardens and design, have interviewed me about topiary. The article is called ‘Rethinking Topiary: A Garden Tradition Loosened Up’ and was published this morning. Written by the excellent garden writer Clare Coulson, I share some thoughts on using deciduous plants, how to clip (name-dropping Anne Lamott and her book on writing at one stage… oh, how I wander off subject sometimes!) and how to improve topiary by what you plant around it. Do take a look at the article in Gardenista. Or for more about my topiary work, check out the topiary page.