Archive for the ‘artist’ Category

This year’s GrowFest! debuts the Redland ART section. Applying the same criteria as for all GrowFest! vendors, art or photography by local artists is showcased, depicting local, edible or native plant, animal or local scenes, or incorporates locally-grown or native materials.

John DeFaro with Who is Nest wall assemblage 63rd All FL Juried Competition and Exhibition Boca Raton Museum of Art 2014

John DeFaro is a local artist who works with natural materials, royal poinciana seed pods one of his favorite objects. All pieces are for sale at GrowFest! 50% discount prices of $45 to $75 (signed by the artist), depending on size/detail. John will be at GrowFest! until 4 pm Saturday and until 3 pm Sunday.

In his own words:

detailAt first glance one quickly sees rich earth tones of cheery wood reds and mahogany browns hanging from copper wire. About the size of four or five hands, the forms floating are created primarily using Poinciana Tree Seed Pods; a signature material to John DeFaro’s new naturalist approach for his making of art assemblages and on site installations.

The Nightmare Catchers are smaller scaled found object, informal assemblages using wire, vintage electrical transistors, jewelry wire, plastic beads, and so on. These hanging intuitive sculptures are a deviation from the traditional Native American Dream Catchers in that they, fresh out of the artist studio ad hoc forms, are to be hung inside the home and dwellings where one might sleep. In addition to Catching, they Capture and Extinguish Nightmares FOREVER.

detail-2As part of the artist narrative, The Nightmare Catchers provide a complete monitoring of nightmares placed anywhere within the entire home. Simply the power of playful belief when and how artistic creation brings enjoyment and positive thinking. And simply an expression as an art form celebrating the re-purposing of Nature.

DeFaro’s better known large assemblages using the dried and hardened, oiled and protected pods, have garnered awards and exhibition participation such as an Artist Choice award at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens, SoBay Art Exhibit at the Deering Estate in Cutler, FL, Scope Art Fair, Art and Culture Center, Hollywood, FL, and most recently inclusion in the 63rd Annual Juried Competition and Exhibition / Boca Raton Museum, Florida.



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This year’s GrowFest! debuts the Redland ART section. Applying the same criteria as for all GrowFest! vendors, art or photography by local artists is showcased, depicting local, edible or native plant, animal or local scenes, or incorporates locally-grown or native materials.


Rachel Pikarsky is an up-and-coming printmaker based in Redland. She grew up on Bee Heaven Farm, and has drawn inspiration from the natural and human environment around her.

In her own words:

44594_10151787540143255_103182159_nWhether it be figuring out who someone is to me and where they fit in my world, playing around with silly, slightly cynical ideas, or dissecting my own psyche, my artwork is my way of decoding the world around me. I tend to try to portray the essence of an individual, object, or experience by placing it in an unusual situation and seeing how it responds. In that way my work has a sort of life of its own.

I began playing with the idea of birds for exactly that reason. They are often viewed as diminutive mindless creatures, but to me they are so much more. They possess the amazing ability to remove themselves from any situation they feel uncomfortable in. Therefore, anything I draw them doing, they must have inherently chosen to be in that state. This ended up creating an interesting meaning for me because so often I, like everyone I would imagine, feel trapped doing things I don’t wish to be doing and have little control over how I am reacting.

62486_10151368320283255_566166295_nMy subject matter and even the medium became a sort of therapy for me regarding these sorts of situations. I make prints of different sorts—lithographs, etchings, woodcuts, silkscreens, etc… There is one thing that all of these have in common: they are incredibly tedious and time consuming. I began spending countless hours perfecting a wing or drawing tangled nests and it made me feel completely and utterly, if for just a moment, in control.

I draw inspiration from the people and places around me, which almost always has its roots in nature and the tropics. I try not to shy away from the nitty-gritty of mother nature and instead embrace it and turn it around into a bit of tongue in cheek banter and much of my work has a ridiculous or sarcastic side to it. My work as a whole ends up being a black and white intricacy splattered with bright colors and an expressive drawing style incorporating memorable farmers from the area, fruits with personality, and anxious alcoholic birds!


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A couple months ago, a crop of fresh new market signs popped up at the Bee Heaven Farm tent at Pinecrest Gardens Farmers Market. The colorful creations were drawn by Rachel, farmer Margie’s daughter, who is studying illustration arts at SUNY Purchase.

But hurry, you don’t have much time!

This coming Sunday, April 15th, is the last day that Bee Heaven will be at the Pinecrest market. (The market runs through May, but Bee Heaven’s growing season is already winding down.)

It’s also going to be quite the day, with the 3rd Annual Pinecrest Earth Day Festival going on throughout the Gardens. Admission is free.

By the way… these pictures were taken back in January…. so they’re not necessarily representative of what’s in season and available now at market. Different signs will be up, too. Go take a look for yourself!

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The Firework Flower

The Incendiary Blooms of the Guiana Chestnut are hard to miss. Combining arches of vibrant yellow with electric red and white hairs…you could almost call this The Firework Flower.

[Welcome to guest blogger Alex Norelli, contributor to the Organic Gardening blog. Alex is a blogger, poet, and photographer. Here is his view of a month’s visit to Redland. – marian33031]

My first introduction to the Redland was through the Fruit and Spice Park, a great place to see the potentials of this land and climate. When I arrived in the Redlands I expected to see an intense iron-colored soil like the almost inhuman Mars-red fields in La Mancha I remember driving through while in Spain. But I didn’t see it in the soil as much as I found it in the air, in a host of blooms and fruit, some edible, others strictly for the eye.

Such Mainifold color, with red at the center.

Such manifold color and form…the red of the flower’s petals contrasting with the green of unripe bananas is an eye-catching combination. The size of this fruit has no equal where I come from, and perhaps only a rose, or cardinal flower, has a comparably red.

Coming from the north and spending nearly my entire life in zone 6, with short forays into other zones, I was in for a wealth of newness. For one thing, fruits and flowers in zone 6 are usually quite reserved, petite and constrained, nonetheless beautiful, but of a different scale. In the sub-tropics, without a winter to hold back growth, there is never a thought for conservation, or preserving energy to make it through a many-month winter. And so things just grow; wildly, gaudily, loudly, abundantly, fruiting multiples times a year. That simple fact allows for a startlingly different display of color than I am used to, and it’s been an eye-opening pleasure encountering it in the last two months.

This Red is otherworldly…This neon red is too bright for my camera to capture in detail, the luminosity of the color is so great it becomes a iridescent smudge of wild color.

Cranberry Hibiscus, An edible red…its leaves can be steeped to make a tart tea high in Vitamin C

A row of edible red/orange marigolds among an impressive selection from Paradise Farms

This purple star apple shows a bit of the red and blue that make up its color

The Strawberry Tree with its Cotton Candy flavored fruit

I am sure the examples of red are more numerous than I have experienced in only one season. I didn’t even hit on the tomatoes, of which the Cherokee has always caught my eye, not to mention they are one of the tastiest you’ll find. I’ve heard the nearly 150 varieties of mango are truly something to taste and see, and I have not spoke of the orchids. The one red I wish I captured was the rosy blush of a ripe mango, but I was too busy eating them to pause to take a photograph, and anyway, the interior is more delicious to the tongue than the exterior to the eye.

Alex Norelli spends his time between Pennsylvania and New York City where he works as a Roof-top gardener and writes poetry and paints. Recently he found himself in South Florida for a time and has set out to see its many wonders with his own brown eyes. You can see some of his works at www.AlexNorelliArt.com

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Vanishing of the Bees, an intriguing new documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder, is back in town for a FREE one-night screening.  

Date: Sunday August 21, 2011
Time: 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm
Location: Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables FL 33156

Back in May, Vanishing of the Bees showed for only one night at the new, state of the art Coral Gables Cinematheque. And it was a good turnout — over 200 people packed the auditorium. Proceeds from that screening went to support Slow Food Miami’s school garden program.

Beekeeper John Herring and filmmaker Maryam Henein at the May screening.

The filmmaker, Maryam Henein, was present to introduce her film and answered questions after the showing. She was accompanied by John Herring, a beekeeper from Broward County, who brought a sample hive and various tools of his trade, who also answered questions about bees. Farmer Margie Pikarsky and interns Mike and Sadie from Bee Heaven Farm came with many boxes of local honey and wildflower bouquets for sale.

Vanishing of the Bees is a real-life mystery story which begins with two commercial beekeepers, David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes, who tell similar stories of how one day they came to check on their hives and found them inexplicably empty. They realized their problem wasn’t only with their hives, or happening in Southwest Florida where they were located. It was a growing, serious problem in 35 states and also in Europe. Bees were either vanishing, or their immune systems were succumbing to all kinds of pathogens. Populations were dying faster than they could be replaced, and nobody knew why. The film goes on a journey that follows David and Dave as they try to solve their mystery, and in the process they discover how they can keep their bees healthy and productive, and their beekeeping businesses alive.

Through the course of researching and making her film, Maryam became a passionate and tireless activist for the honeybee. Her love and concern is clearly apparent in the film, which weaved a magic spell around the audience that night. As the story unfolded, people were pulled in; and at one scene in the middle, you could almost hear a pin drop as facts built up and pointed to the most likely causes of bee die-offs. The camerawork is amazing, bringing you very close to slow-motion bees in mid-flight, and editing and animation are superb.

Support the bees

The film does end on a hopeful note, that it’s not too late for ordinary people to save the honeybee. “Colony Collapse Disorder is a wake up call,” Maryam said after the screening. “There’s a big abyss between the people who know and the people who don’t know. Every one of you is a worker bee” to get out the word and take action.

She mentioned several ways you can help the bees and support your own good health. The easiest thing to do is buy organic produce and local honey. (You can find both at local farmers markets.) Organic farmers are not allowed to use systemic pesticides or other dangerous chemicals that can harm bees. Most organic farms tend to have a happy mix of several kinds of plants that support bees, and most farms keep hives and sell local honey. 

Mike and Margie from Bee Heaven Farm with honey and wildflower bouquets for sale at the screening.

Another simple thing you can do is avoid buying “honey-flavored” breads, cereals and other products. They are sweetened with honey blends imported from China. “Funny honey” is diluted with lactose syrup, high fructose corn syrup or other sweeteners. It is also tainted with strong antibiotics and lead residues. Corporate bakeries — and the film named General Mills and Pillsbury — buy imported honey because it is very cheap. (Real honey costs a lot more because U.S. beekeepers can’t produce enough to meet demand.) 

If you have the space, a fun thing you can do is plant a bee-friendly garden, with an assortment of plants that bloom throughout the year to attract pollinators. Choose low-maintenance native plants and wildflowers, keep fruit trees, or raise vegetables in your garden or in containers on your patio or balcony. Whatever you do, DO NOT use systemic pesticides! Those are the kind that are applied once a season or once a year as a soil drench, and “provide protection without spraying.” Plants suck those chemicals up through their roots, and all their cells and pollen itself become poisoned. Bees then gather tainted pollen, bring it back to their hive, and make themselves very sick from it, sick to the point of death. 

Support the film

Vanishing of the Bees is a completely independent production, and it took a long time and a lot of money to make it happen. From researching and writing the script to the final edit took about four years to make, and it cost half a million dollars. (Just the editing alone took a year and cost a good chunk of money.) Maryam raised funds a little bit at a time, from donations and sponsorships, and they went toward paying film expenses. When she wasn’t filming, she supported herself at times as a waitress, and admitted that for a while she was on food stamps and maxed out credit cards to survive. 

Maryam and her producers are making their money back with donations and DVD sales. Right now, they are running a promotion and selling the DVD on their web site for a reduced price of $14.99 for a personal viewing license. (They might also be selling the DVD at Sunday’s screening.) Maryam wants to get her DVD into schools. “Education is the beginning,” she said. “We are the generation waking up. The change is coming up in the generations behind us.” At the time of the May screening, she needed to raise about $12 thousand to develop a companion study guide. She is self-distributing her film, and is actively seeking venues for future screenings. The next Florida screening is in Tampa on August 29th.

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